I know a lot about very little and very little about a lot.
…Or I know nothing.
Listen To The Tree
I know a lot about very little and very little about a lot.
…Or I know nothing.
A queef sounds like Jabba The Hut burping in a vagina.
11/30/2013. What a night.
My friends and I had tickets to see one of our favorite metal bands, August Burns Red, in Worcester, Mass. ABR was scheduled to play with three other bands I don’t care much for: Beartooth, Defeater, and Blessthefall. To many people I’m sure that’s an ideal lineup, but I was spending my $30 to see just one. And I was fine with that.
We did our routine: tailgate in the parking lot across the street from the venue (the Palladium), get in line, enter, and get another drink. Then wait until the bands finish up so we can get down to the real business we were there for.
At one point, we left the crowd during an intermission to get another drink. As we headed back up, something - or someone - caught my eye near one of the band’s merch tables. I had to stop. It was Matt Greiner, the drummer from August Burns Red. He was caught in conversation so I didn’t want to interrupt or be one of those guys, but hell, I’m not just one of his buddies who can just have some casual conversation with him easily.
I stopped in my tracks, and I think I put my hand - gently - on his shoulder so he could acknowledge my presence without me (hopefully, anyway) being rude. He looked me in the eye, and I offered that same hand so he could shake it. He did. I told him I was looking forward to seeing him play and that I was excited for the night…or something to that effect. He responded with some kind of gratification, a smile crossing his face. The moment was so brief I can hardly recall, but those five seconds were great. It’s times like that that I’m glad I can identify/recognize faces. Here he was, looking like just another concert attendee, another face in the crowd. A normal guy having a normal conversation. It’s not like he’s George Clooney or Flea just hanging out in the crowd; that’s too conspicuous for a high-profile individual. This is a metal band, not some Hollywood or Hall of Fame coalition whose faces can be found in any trace of media. But Matt is high-profile to me because his drumming inspires me. I absolutely relish it. I’ve watched countless videos of this band, both interviews and live performances alike, and of this dude’s drumming. So here he stood before me, and I had the window of opportunity to seize the moment. There’s an enormous satisfaction and jubilation when someone you idolize gazes into your eyes, if but for a slice of a second. They are acknowledging you. You had a direct impact in that person’s - your idol’s - life, even if it wasn’t profound and happened in the blink of an eye. They may not be more human than you, but there’s that almost irrational feeling of superiority regardless; that sense of one’s placement on a pedestal, like seeing or listening to or reading something of legend that ends up right in front of you for you to behold and cherish. You want to grasp and squeeze that moment. I could have just continued walking right by him, pretending he wasn’t even there. Well, carpe diem, as they say. Seize that damn carpe, people! (Note: “Carpe diem” is also one of ABR’s songs, appropriately enough in this case). Most people wait until the band comes out at the end of a show to meet them. I love those moments of exceptions, like when I see the drummer hanging by the merch table and I take the moment to say hi. Just another reason why I love to love this music and these bands and artists: they don’t mind hanging out beyond the confines of the backstage or the city or the tour bus. Many of them aren’t so pretentious that they demand a VIP pass to be seen. Hell, maybe they seek the attention inside because they don’t have those faces of instant recognition elsewhere. Here they can feel loved, idolized, recognized. All those (typically) pleasant feelings attached with being an ostensibly “famous” person. And yeah, I didn’t even need a VIP pass to see him. That’s the way I like it.
Anyhow, we continued walking to the bar after my brief interaction. On the way, our visit to the bar got postponed again when we ended up crossing paths with a dude who appeared to be in his late 20s. I don’t even know how the conversation began. He was wearing a black Zildjian shirt - the drum company that sponsors Matt Greiner - and I told him I had just met the drummer from August Burns Red. He said he’d met the whole band earlier, and had special access to the show because of the company he worked for (Zildjian). When we got to talking, I told him that my buddies and I are from Maine. He said he was too, and he asked where exactly. I told him, and he was taken aback.
"Dude," he said, "I graduated from that town. Class of 2003."
What the fuck. Allow the reminiscing to begin!
We shared stories and bellowed in laughter, completely baffled by that world-is-shrinking feeling. Small world? No. Small Maine, rather. Wait…no. Small New England, apparently. Here we were, almost three hours from home, and we met someone who once lived in the same town as us, and who apparently was friends with the dude I’m living with, and who also knew my brother who was in the same class. We exchanged our farewells eventually, wishing each other a good time, and parted.
Mind-fuck situation right there, I thought.
We got our drinks, killed time on the balcony while the second-last band played, and made our way back down to the crazy crowd quarters where all the fun lay.
Then the lights went out, and the crowd went wild. So did I.
They opened with “Provisions,” the opening track to their album “Rescue and Restore.” I was exploding with energy and probably looked like some rabies-ridden animal leaping and hopping and banging my head. I was fine with that. I was having too much fun, as usual. Then I got an idea, one that I actually was giving a lot of thought to. I’ve been to many shows before, from metal to reggae to acoustic, and I finally was gathering the gumption to go through with this idea. Life’s all about new experiences, am I right? Well this would be a new experience, and I wasn’t gonna let myself be paralyzed with the idea. I wanted to go through with it. No walking out the door tonight in regret for me. I asserted to myself that I would do it when they play their song “Spirit Breaker.” Not if, but when. Because it was their first single from their new album, and you, as a band, don’t not play your single from your recently released album. Unless you’re CKY, of course.
The crowd erupted as the beginning of the song came on. I thought to myself, OK, it’s either I go and do it or I stand back here like a sally and pretend that I’m gonna do it. I waited a minute or so for the security lining the edge of the moshers and pool of fans to become distracted. Let a crowd-surfing fan occupy them. The one closest to me was a big boy - he could easily throw me around like a rag doll - but I could tell he was also uneasy on his feet and seemed to be struggling. I sympathized for him, honestly. But I meant no harm for what I was about to do. I waited for that moment, and when I got it, I took it. I had the perfect clearance to the stage, so off I went, dashing toward it with no regard for security.
I planted my hands on the side and launched myself up and onto the stage. I made it! My maiden voyage to the stage proved successful! I stood up, didn’t even take a millisecond to look around at the crowd or the band members that were now within feet of me. I knew time was precious, and I didn’t want to stand there with my thumb up my butt. I suppose I could have tried harder to rock out with the band members surrounding me, could have looked them in the eye and visually let them know I wasn’t here to be a nuisance or to burden the evening; I was there to pump my fist and bang my head with them and let their music electrify me.
So I did that. I jumped around like the rabies-ridden animal I’ve proclaimed to be on nights like these. I shared that musical camaraderie with a band I admire to no end. I’m assuming they all knew I was there. I was honestly busy staring into the ground, regrettably; I was entirely fixated on jamming out. And it wasn’t too long before a security guard with a menacing and pissed off look on his face came rushing at me like a Patriots linebacker storming toward the quarterback. Next thing I know, the crook of his elbow is tight around my neck and he’s essentially dragging me with no effort to the exit door. I tried to utter my pleas and assurances that I was willing to leave in peace, but I was inaudible and the act that I just pulled probably invariably warrants a swift exit via pissed off security guard.
Finally I was out the exit and on the sidewalk. The guard said “see you later!” in a snarky I got you, sayonara, you’re helpless, haha manner. I responded with “have a good night!” in a pleasant and non-sarcastic manner. I wasn’t angry. I understood my consequences from the beginning. Guards like him probably don’t think it’s a very calculated act; they probably think fans like me just spontaneously and irreverently jump on stage to create havoc. Anarchy and rebellion and disregard to the conventional rules. No, not me. I just did it to have a good time and to do something different. I didn’t think ABR would be pissed; they probably relish when a fan has the audacity to come on stage and enjoy their music with them, as long as the fan doesn’t bring malice with them. Which I didn’t. So I got thrown out in the biting cold and on the sidewalk with a smile on my face. Here I was with a sleeveless shirt on in 20-degree weather, and I had carried the heat and the joviality from the inside with me. I couldn’t wipe that smile off my face. People were walking outside cursing the frigid temperatures. I felt like a champion who just conquered the world, welcoming the cold. But if I was trapped outside for long enough, I probably would have become one of those people walking outside cursing the frigid temperatures.
Eventually I made my way back to the front, determined to get back in, and asked the staff member outside if I was “allowed back in from a cigarette break.” I don’t smoke cigarettes. I thought it was a clever, harmless lie. But she denied me anyway because it’s the venue’s policy: no returning to the venue after you leave. (Although, hey, I didn’t leave, I was assisted outside! Come on! Loophole! Let me back in!) I waited for only a couple minutes and that’s when a trickle of concert attendees were making their way out the doors. I saw another window of opportunity before me. Hehe! Time for another surreptitious maneuver.
There were just enough people making their way out to keep the staff members in the lobby busy - the staff was handing out some kind of promotional brochure to each exiting attendee. I figured I’d be overlooked amongst this flood of people. I watched as someone right in front of me placed their brochure on a nearby table almost as soon as they received it. Can you say timing? I picked it up and pretended to look through it as I walked past the ongoing trickle of people, heading toward the main audience area, and hoping I’d be regarded as a totally valid audience member who took his brochure and forgot something, or maybe wanted to buy a t-shirt. At that point I believe I became another face in the crowd, or so I hoped anyway. And apparently I did, because I continued on with no exterior resistance, going down the stairs toward the heart of the venue, passing the merch table and heading to where I believed my two friends to be. They were right there, standing on the right side of the venue where I last saw them, and I approached them and re-integrated myself into our trio of friends with a sense of camaraderie and joy. And I was just in time for two encores: a comical metal rendition of a popular Christmas tune (blanking on the name) and then their huge hit “Composure.”
When the band stopped playing, I made my way to the ABR merchandise table while my two friends went to the car outside. (Let it be known that throughout this entire post, when I mention “merch,” it’s short for “merchandise”; I apologize for potentially preaching to the choir). I picked up two items I was granted for my ticket bundle purchase, and then I bought three shirts: one for me, and one for both of my friends. Good deed of the day = complete. I found my way out the door, located their car in the midst of the parking lot traffic congestion, and hopped in, feeling elated from the collective experiences that the evening presented.
Another successful metal show with two of my best friends and one of my favorite bands. Gotta love it. And now my neck is sore, predictably enough. It’s what I strive for. It’s synonymous for fun. If my neck isn’t sore, I probably wasn’t head-banging enough…
…But that’s not the case this time.