A Metal Fest Diary: Metal Injects New England
- Posted on April 22, 2009
Hey Planet Earth!
My name is Justina and I take pictures of bands. I suck at writing but every once in a while Rob makes me write about my wacky experiences on tour. At the moment, I'm not on tour, but this weekend definitely felt like it was longer than most of the tours I've done. At the same time, it didn't feel long enough. (That's what she said.) In my latest voyage, Rob, Frank, Sean and I went to New England Metal and Hardcore Festival 2009. Because they banned live footage, the guys just did a shitload of interviews, while I
did nothing all day took pictures of bands. I included a lot of pictures in this blog so you don't get bored. Some are of your favorite bands ruining lives one decibel at a time and some are of your favorite bands getting interviewed. Enjoy.
I spent most of Thursday packing, researching and recovering from my night at Hooters. In consequence, I was way late to pick up all the guys. The only one who was ready, Sean, got the butt end of the stick. He was waiting outside for about an hour before anyone else showed up. But, before no time, Frank had his dirty laundry bagged up, Rob had unsalted pretzels in tow and I had a duffel bag full of girlie shit I would not wear or need in my trunk.
The MI crew was very keen on having our road trip be as "roadly" as possible. So, instead of eating at one of the jillion delicious restaurants midtown Manhattan has to offer, we waited, hungrily, until we were an hour into Connecticut to grab a bite. My GPS sent us to a KFC. It's not even 5 minutes that were standing on line for some greased up souless food when a young girl screams "SHE'S GOT A GUN IN HER POCKET!" Of course the young girl was just trying to get her friend some unwanted attention, but that mini moment of hilarity set up the rest of the weekend, which would consist of short gushes of dark extreme comedy.
For the rest of our drive up to Worcester, Sean (above) led the conversation. It mostly had to do with high school and what music we were into. In memory of our angst-ridden days, we listened to Black Flag and all agreed our favorite lyrical line of all time is "I got a six pack and I don't need you!"
This was my first metal fest. I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare. So I spent the day guessing what time bands went on and trying to line-up that with the interview schedule that MI had set up for the day. In other words, sorry for missing a lot of bands because I spent the day juggling time and running into people.
There were two panel discussions. I missed half of the first one ("Metal During a Recession"). The second one was about breaking into the industry. Both could have been really helpful if I was still in college, but while most of it was common sense (a very just go out and do it attitude) Will Putney (engineer at The Machine Shop) shared his knowledge about the producerial end of the industry. And hearing Mike Martin (guitarist of All That Remains) talk about how metal heads are the smarter than people who listen to Country and Hip-Hop put a smile on my face for the rest of the day (because of the irony).
So the one band that we all exclaimed: "WE MUST WATCH THEM!" was Trap them. All the guys from Psyopus wanted to catch them too. I missed most of the set, but the couple songs I saw were pretty stellar. Not as energetic as the basement show. I think it was a bit too early for those punks. Immediately after their set, Sean and I went to the parking lot to help out with the Psyopus interview. As it turns out, Chris Arp was the only one who didn't make it to the TT set. He thought they went on later in the day. That was the kind of thing that happened all weekend long, though. So, I didn't feel so bad for him. But, I kind of felt bad for the guy below.
After Psyopus, Rob went on an interviewing-streak: Cattle Decapitation, Bison, Napalm Death and After the Burial.
Then, I went on a show streak, trying to catch at least a couple of bands: Coliseum, Psyopus, The Haunted and Cattle Decapitation. I've seen Coliseum a couple times. They are never a disappointment. But, I only caught enough of them to take two snaps before they were off stage. Psyopus played "Duct Tape Smile," a new track off Odd Senses that was just added to their MySpace playlist. And, I must say, after doing three tours with these assjacks, Chris STILL scares me on stage. Not in a sinister way, but in a clumsy, I'm going to shove my guitar neck down your throat for getting in my way kind of a way. I missed almost all of The Haunted. On my way down to the stage, I ran into Brian from Left To Vanish who seriously molested me in front of his fiance. It was short, awkward and hilarious, unlike The Haunted on stage. I wish I could have seen more and I wish they hadn't played the same day as Torche when they came to NYC on Sunday. I thought they brought a special kind of darkness that I craved for all day long. That was until I saw Cattle Decapitation, who headlined the second stage. It was a very tiny space for a band that will melt your skin off half a riff at a time. Cattle Decap brought the motha-fucking-evil. They creeped me out and made me wear a star-gazed smile. If you have never seen them live, you are really missing out. YouTube clips just don't cut it. These guys make dark energy and stuff it down your throat, with no stunts just pure musicianship.
Side notes: Right before they went on, I once again got harassed by this dude from Black Teeth (who opened the third stage on Saturday); more of this story later. Smack in the middle of DC's set, the guys in Book of Black Earth got into a playful feud, which could have been really funny had they poured a beer on each other and not on me. I still laughed about it, though. Beer on flannel=character.
After meeting the man with the best tattoo in the world, we decided it was best to eat. The only restaurant in a two block radius was Uno's. This sit-down chain pizzeria contained many metal celebs. I wanted to take an overhead snap shot, but went the polite route (for both the audience and the band members) and avoided putting pictures of people with soup dripping from their beards on this site.
One quesadilla and margherita later, I met up with Jason of Psyopus to catch some of Suffocation's set. Between the Buried and Me followed. Thank god these guys are so polished that I can sit down and watch them! I was really too tired to stand up and watch their set, even though I really wanted to shake my booty to Mordecai. Colors songs consumed the majority of their setlist. By the time that All That Remains went on, I went to the Psyopus van to say my goodbye's and remind Chris that he is doing a ten day tour with FUCKING ATHEIST. Meanwhile, Brian was looking at YouPorn on his phone (fucking weirdo).
So remember when I said, I have more of this story for you later? Well, I'm going to dress up the story with a little background of how it all started. About two weeks ago, I shot Trap Them at a basement in central Jersey. I was standing outside smoking a cigarette with this kid who looked like Charlie from It's Always Sunny and his friends, when this long haired kid
asked told us we should buy his EP so he and his bandmates could make it to the next tour date. I said I would, but at the end of the show. I never did. Everyone has committed this crime at one point or another: you brush off sellers by telling them you will buy something but just so that they can get away. This kid was persistent. At the beginning of Cattle Decap's set, he caught me off guard and was like, "HEY YOU NEVER BOUGHT OUR VINYL!" Guilty as charged. I promised him that I would try to get to his band's set, even though it was early.
As you can see the time noted above, there was no fucking way I was going to make it to their set, well, not with washing my hair and getting breakfast and all. Now its 1:30 pm. I just got to the parking lot where Rob was conducting interviews. And, I look at Rob, Frank and Sean, expecting them to be ready to see Landmine Marathon. That is when they told me the bad news, I missed LM's set because everyone got bumped up one spot for Suicide Silence to play their "secret" show.
And, just when I was starting to recuperate from my frustration (during IWRESTLEDABEARONCE's interview) Black Teeth dude found me. I really wanted to tell him to fuck off, but at the same time I admired his determination. He got five bucks out of me and a little bit of conversation too. After listening to them on Myspace, I realize, this is something I really would have LOVED to have seen live! FAIL.
Deadfest versus Metalfest
The image above symbolizes the culture clash that emerged on Saturday. It started with one colorful hippie school bus with a tent attached and developed into a storm of drugged out hippie zombies taking over the entire city of Worcester. On Saturday April 18, 2009, metal heads learned what actually happens when world's collide (nothing like a Powerman 5000 video). It took that dude's dog tattoo for me to realize that Deadfest was happening right across the street.
A hippie caravan set up right next to The Palladium, forcing metal heads to interact with so-called Dead heads. Not that it mattered where they parked themselves, they traveled all over the city asking people for money. Right before their show, there were streams of them walking in a chaotic single file throughout the city with one finger in the air, asking for tickets. As the day progressed and more nitrous oxide balloons occupied Dead fans' hands, the dread-locked druggies became more hostile. And, they really weren't as "green" as you would think a hippie would be. For instance, their dogs (because they each have one) are shitting all over the place. This one girl's dog shit in the parking lot a couple feet away from where two bands were conversing. Instead of picking up the poo and throwing it out, she covered it up with a plastic water bottle, as in, she put her crusty claws on an empty water bottle over the dog poop. Not even 20 seconds later the dog was shitting again.
They made us drunken and obnoxious metal fans and bands look civilized. It was impossible not to note the disparity. In Rob's interview with Sylosis, they describe their first American experience: a hippie woman showed them her forest with rings. Lamb Of God closed their set at the end of the night with a warning that hippies don't use soap. Everyone had something to say, but Municipal Waste was the only band to really showcase just how comedic the event had become.
MW brought an SNL-like skit on stage. With a balloon in hand and clothed in tie-dye shirts, all they were missing were sandals to accompany their gag. They opened their set and vocalist Tony Foresta held up a sign similar to the ones that some of the squatter hippies have carried for the last two days. In a stereotypical stoner voice he exclaimed, "we have a sign too!" POSER was written bold and wide on the cardboard. To add to their comedic sense, they are competent thrashers. When Tony Foresta called for a circle pit of love, the crowd gave it. A truley bonerific circle pit. Not the bullshit Conga Line that people try to pass off as a pit. When Tony Foresta demanded crowd surfing, bodies doubled and tripled in piles over the headbanging audience. It was incredible and made me loathe The Palladium for banning video recording. Municipal Waste got IT.
During our first taping of Metal Spring Break, the rest of the crew and I learned one very important thing: when you tell a group of random people to go crazy, THEY WILL. Joined by the help of IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, Metal Injection invaded any peace and quiet one thought they might have had while standing outside. It was great fun, a rush of warm blood and adrenaline. Some snippets to note: dry humping, bum showing, angry hippies threatening to break our cameras, happy hippies armored in tie-dye and someone sporting a real Keystone Ice tattoo.
Immediately after taping Metal Spring Break, we ran inside to catch some bands. Suicide Silence was on the mainstage but I opted for This Is Hell on the second stage. And, I'm sooooooooooo glad I did. If there was less bro and more core, I'd be at more hardcore shows. But, I learned my lesson at my first (and only) Emmure show (when they played my college and covered Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" two times in a row). Maybe I'm just an old lady who doesn't get the single-man mosh army, but I can see why the younger kids are into it. For the anti-christ's sake, when I was 14 I thought the only metal out there was Korn's "Blind" and Pantera's "Walk". All I have to say (and I say this because I care and because I've been there), is you kids will one day regret wearing those shirts with bold type that say MOSH or whatever shit else statements those bands have to say.
After Suicide Silence's performance, Rob interviewed Thy Will Be Done vocalist J. Costa. I'm still completely in shock how different Jay is in person from his immaculate stage presence. I'm starting to think it is the hair when its out of the ponytail.
I've always have had mixed feelings about IWRESTLEDABEARONCE. Most Deathcore is just not my cup of brutal. I've avoided seeing them live many times but decided to shoot them this weekend. All I have to say is: Krysta Cameron's voice is no fucking gimmick. Yeah, they are MTV's Jackass show in real life and you can't take them serious for even one second off stage, but on stage, it's a very serious party. The penguin suit is silly, but after several minutes into their set, IWRESTLEDABEARONCE starts to make a whole lot of sense.
Reuniting With Our Teenage-selves
If I could go back into time and tell my 17 year old self that I would later be within several feet of Alexi's dressing room, I might have peed my pants. And, I've never really been that kind of gal, but that was the POWER of COB when I was a teen. Rob and Frank had similar feelings about Lamb of God's performance, but way less girlie. I swear. It was a very masculine fanboy moment. Rob tweeted, "… I'm watching Lamb of God. The motherfuckin SLAYYYER of our generation. They are OWNING." Metal Sucks tweeted something similar, "Is there any doubt that Lamb of God is the biggest and best metal band of our generation? If so, fuck you." And, no, I don't doubt that they are, I just don't care. Even though LOG is not really my deal, I was immensely impressed by how they possessed the entire building. The adorable couple head swirling together (while holding each other side by side) to the right of us proved there heavy metal love exists. In sudden spurts, people would just completely loose their shit. THAT kind of influence is undeniable. And for that, I'll worship their movement.
Home Sweet, Not Sweet And Not Home Just Yet
We left the hotel with just enough time to get food and to return to NYC and charge all of our camera batteries. The day seemed perfectly planned, until I got within five feet of my car and realized the alarm wasn't working, which meant "the battery must be dead." After manually getting into the old piece of shit, the crazy alarm didn't buzz off and it didn't start, but the light switch was turned up all the way to full power. It was official, we were fucked! For a while I thought it was Frank's fault; he WAS the last one who used the car to do his laundry. But, I realized, he was so hungover he would not have realized that the lights were still on from the night before (when it would have been my fault for leaving the lights on). We waited an hour for the AAA dude to show up. He pretty much said I had enough juice to get me home but would need a new battery pronto. It is dead. He also said, that I had to run the car for 45 minutes before I can stop it. Which means, NO FUCKING FOOD FOR AN HOUR! Thankfully, the Pantera marathon energized my drive to the shitty country-styled diner in Connecticut.
After being stuck in on and off traffic jams along the freeway, we were 30 minutes from our destination. With barely any time to charge our cameras, just enough time to park and catch Monument to Masses open for Torche, I was getting restless and aggravated. And, just before getting on the Triboro Bridge, I got pulled over for doing 74 in a 50 mph zone. Um, its a highway in New York, no one was doing 50. But, I got tailed. With a $150 dollar fine and 6 points added to my license (!!!!!!) I was still able to enjoy Torche's set. Life is hell but at least I saw br00tality this weekend.
Live footage of TORCHE will be up soon, along with a shitload of interviews from NEMHF 2009.
Metal in your butt forever!