Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The bittersweet TASTE OF CHAOS.
Each year the brittle walls of Asbury’s Convention Hall are given a test in durability as the finest in metal take the stage for Rockstar’s Taste of Chaos. “The Box” (Convention Hall) as I like to call it provides more than just the walls surrounding you, it affords you its own climate (often unthinkably cold, even though its quite warm outside), pretzel’s that don’t actually taste like pretzel’s, approximately 5 beer gardens located strategically at the various different phases of Merch moseying, scaffolding- usually located near the plastic sheet covered broken windows, and as brand new crazy cool looking box within a box club looking thing called Shiver- where the elite of the beer garden goers could be found (I won’t lie, I was tempted to explore Shiver, the lighting and the atmosphere was pretty cool looking, but was extremely abnormally placed right in the center of nothing but cement walls…however, 21, I am not). While there are certainly luxuries that the Box provides that you can’t find at venues such as oh- MSG, there are a few things I look forward to when I head to Convention hall, and they are the fact that only true New Jersey music fans stick out the awkward line that forms down the sketchy boardwalk, the intense light show and how the light almost echoes off the colorless cement walls, and standing at the top of the seating area looking down at the sea of fans throwing their fists in the air screaming back every word they know (and don’t know)…it’s a moment that I struggle to describe, while the air is filled with the vibrations of sound and music yet the room is silent and tranquil as if all the passion and unity that music provides was being vacuumed up and there was just a being of anticipatory acceptance of the inaudible (skin, hair, teeth, clothes, whatevaaa). Looking down at the mass of people being brought together by music gives me hope and gives me inspiration to keep doing what I do.
Taste of Chaos did something super cool this year, they had a J-Rock explosion! They brought a few metal/alternative bands from Japan that have been causing a stir in the music world to play on the tour. I was nervous that I was going to be lost the entire set and completely confused by the ummm, non-English lyrics….but honestly, they were some of the most musically talented and energetic stage presences I have ever had the privilege to experience. I found myself less fixed on the language barrier and more on how confident and talent their performance was, they took to the stage and gave every minute of their set everything they had. Kids were into them. I was excited for the east meets west success. A J-Rockin’ name I think you should become familiar with- The Underneath.
BLESSTHEFALL, now sporting a temporary bassist who has about as much personality as five normal human beings combined (he is a joy to be around) sounds amazing as they performed their 25 minute set. They have such a lively stage presence to accompany their bouncy, yet dark alternative sound. They have come a long way from where they were when they started the band, and the aging of the band members and musical venture into maturity is certainly evident in their performance. I felt as though I was watching the next TOC headliner. The only negative thing I have to say is that they didn’t play for long enough.
ATREYU is one of the most youthful, hard pounding, guitar riff snarling, drum banging, hard rockin bands out there. It was my very first time watching them play and I know that it won't be the last. The vocalist doesn't just provide you with lyrics and voice, he provides you with an energentic journey into a bolt of music (as opposed to a bolt of lightning). Atreyu is certainly a powerhouse band that leaves you wondering why you hadn't experienced them sooner.
TASTE OF CHAOS ARTIST SPOTLIGHT- BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE
A LESSON IN METAL- How to BE metal...and not tarnish.
There can be a lot learned from Bullet for my Valentine (one of my favorite bands of all time). Not only have they been battling the ever changing metal expectations, but they have been working hard to stay true to themselves and what they want their music to be….that is something that often gets thrown by the wayside, many bands today are more focused on making music that will first and foremost sell to the music consuming masses. I was able to sit down the B4MV early in the day and we chatted about everything from their album being released on vinyl to the PPF (past, present, future) of MeTaL.
B4MV believes that the future of music is undefined, being true to yourselves as a band and making the kind of music you want to make and being proud of your work is what will help everything evolve naturally, forcing creativity to sell or a sound that is not YOU will only cause disaster. When I asked Jay and Padge what they feel metal has been defined by in the past and what they think its defined by now they told me this, “Music goes through phases just like everything else, I think that music is not necessarily defined by the people but more by the time and surroundings its released into…”
I was able to draw several conclusions about why Bullet has become so successful- 1. They have a strong connection and are able to vibe off each other and find the right mixture of each others creative thoughts to make a concoction to be served for success, 2. They stay true to themselves, 3. They rock the true metal look, which not everyone can pull off with the kind of ease they do- fitted black button down with the sleeves cut off (usually with some kind of rockin’ emblem in the breast pocket), fitted dark jeans that are usually ‘loved’ and worn out and torn up to allow for leg breathability, 4. Long hair- preferable straightened (I saw singer Matt snag the straightener from the back room), 5. Bullet is just plain TALENTED.
Bullet for my Valentine is quickly becoming a band we can categorize as timeless. They are consistently performing amazing shows that leave fans dragging their jaws out of the venue. They provide what every rock and roll concert should- snarling guitar riffs, hair raising vocals (…the good kind…) and a bass and drum beat that could restart your heart.
Ohhhh....and who can forget the headliner?! 'Cause I know I won't ever forget these guys...
One of the first bands I ever watched perform from the side of the stage was Avenged Sevenfold, their debut album was still a few months away and the anticipation was still in the toddler stages however, their presence was a full force. They never cease to amaze me one way or another. I still get excited to see the ‘mirror guitarists’ (as I like to call them because one plays the guitar lefty and one plays righty) do one of the ultimate signs of rock-age, the back to back dueling solo. It was a great performance given the low quality acoustics. While they are often criticized for basing a lot of their sound and attitude off an 80's rock band (who I will leave as anonymous...) I feel as though they are a unique rockability that will continue to play insane guitar solos that make your eyes expand 40% and have unique vocal flair that will set their sound apart from the rest, and obviously the killer drum set! One of the more talented drummers I have ever watched. Avenged provided a truly memorable performance and it is easy to see why their fans will travel the distance.
Certainly one of the more memorable moments of the entire night was when A7X's stage hand picked out the 'cute blond girl' pressed against the guard rail because "they thought she was really pretty." After being scooped out of the crowd by the body-builder security guard adorned with tattoos and a nicely grown in beard, the 16 year old girl was than escorted to the side of the stage where she stood bug eyed next to the stage hand and watched the band perform the rest of their set. I felt like I was at an 80's hairband revival concert.
**By Amanda who is so excited that the weather is slowly getting warmer!! and is appalled that Ron Paul made mention of going back to a gold backed monetary policy....psht, WHAT?!