John McDonald

Blogging about politics, life, and the web

Heading to the Show

October 26th, 2009

Before NINJA, it had been a while since I had attended any serious concert events.  Back in high school and college, I tried to see every band I liked and I tried to show up at random shows just in case someone was playing who I might end up liking.

At some point though, I fell out of the habit.  A lot of the Gen-X bands I grew up on were breaking up, retiring, or dealing with the loss of core members.

Shortly after Dimebag was shot on stage, the bad luck kept flowing.  Two of the best guitarist I ever had the pleasure of jamming with also passed on well before their time, and those deaths had a serious impact on me at a time when I was already under the stress of extreme illness.  The magic of the concert had gotten all mixed up with death itself.

While my health and financial situations would eventually improve, the music industry continued sinking into oblivion.  When I put my ears back out in an attempt to find new and interesting acts, the new stuff just didn’t sound right.  There’s something about the music of a crisis that just isn’t as passionate as the music of other social phases.  If there’s any proof of the 80 year wave in civilizations, just consider how the music scene in 2009 is the nadir exactly 40 years removed from its peak in 1969.

But I let my friends talk me in to some stuff.  I went to go see Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction:  I remembered what’s so great about overpriced and over-iced liquor at a crowded and smokey arena.  I went to go see Summer Slaughter at Plush and got a heavy dose of more than a dozen of the most brutal bands I’d seen in a decade.

It was almost like the scene wanted to make a comeback.  It wasn’t the arena rock commodified for mass production: it was the raw emotion in a hot and dark hole in the wall that had made me love music in the first place.

Anyway, now that I’ve got a budget and a schedule that lets me drive around chasing concerts, its time to head out to the show again.  This holiday season will be all about heavy metal and Broadway.  Waddya mean you like one and not the other?  Sounds like you’re missing out.  On a Black Friday, its off to Orlando to see Megadeth play the House of Blues.  I’ve seen Ministry play there before, and its an awesome venue so I’ve got high expectations of this one.  The last time I saw Megadeth, we had to leave early so I could wake up and take the SATs the next day – this time I can stay up all night.

Closer to Christmas, we’ve got some great tickets to go see Stomp at the Jacksonville Theater.  Their creative use of random objects as percussion instruments reminds me a whole lot of our first jam sessions as kids in the garage.

Reviews are coming, but if you want to really feel the music you’ll have to go experience it for youself, when and where its being made.  There’s just nothing quite like it and that’s why I’m heading to the show.  Hope to see you there!

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