Ok so it is June… but it isn’t my fault that May kicked ass. I mean seriously. I graduated from NC State, saw my family, and went to some of the best local shows I have been to in a while.
I had planed to attend several big shows in the weeks following graduation, however, I was sadly only able to make it to 3 shows featuring 8 bands. But what great shows they were.
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May 15th: Cat’s Cradle: Hey Euphony, Whole Wheat Bread, MC Chris
This show was a mystery for me going in, because I was not familiar with any of the acts; also, I had never been to Cat’s Cradle before.
Now on to reason I was interested in the show- Whole Wheat Bread
May 20th: Cat’s Cradle: Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, Clutch
I had looked forward to this concert for months because Clutch has been one of my favorite bands for the last few years. Native to Maryland and with more than 10 albums to their credit, Clutch passes through the Triangle roughly once a year; and unfortunately does not allow photography at their shows. This year’s show, while fun, was a bit of a disappointment from previous times I had seen them. The mosh pit broke out fast, but disappeared just as quickly as it had started, the lead singer didn’t have much to say to the crowd, and it was difficult to see the band due to an unusually tall audience. I dare to say metal/hard rockers Maylene and The Sons of Disaster put on a better, higher energy performance.
May 27th: The Pour House: Black Skies, Caltrop , Colossus
This show featured some of the best Raleigh has to offer in hard rock and metal, and I hate myself for not realizing what pocket I had put my camera in. It wasn’t until Colossus took that stage that I realized that I hadn’t left my camera at home.
Black Skies is from Chapel Hill and was celebrating the vinyl release of Hexagon (5/26/09). I look forward to seeing more this band in the future because I’m not entirely sure about how much I enjoyed the performance. Part of it was the stage presence of the band, part of it was the annoying buzz that was feeding into the mix from a bad cable. However, I do encourage people to check out their music none the less.
Caltrop, also from Chapel Hill, is the embodiment of local music history with members having been part of Hazerai, Pegasus, El Sucio, The Ladderback, and Valient Thorr. Caltrop produces a hard rock jam band feel that just oozes potential. The band’s LP, World Class, lives up to its’ title fully.
So in 3 weeks time, I saw 4 local bands and 4 non-local, nationally touring bands. Beleive me, the local bands certainly held their ground and put forth some great acts; and not all of the national acts were that great. Going to these shows made me think about the nature of concerts, and to a certain extent, music itself. Perhaps the biggest difference between great music/concerts/bands and everything else, is the experience one walks away with. A show by a great act makes the audience walk away pumped up, or full of memories and opinions of what they just experienced; a show by a not so great act does not. Part of why this is, is the reason people go to the show in the first place, and part of it is the showmanship of the band. When I went to see Hey Euphony, Whole Wheat Bread and Clutch, I walked away feeling as though I had experienced something. However, if I hadn’t stayed for Colossus, and had simply gone home after seeing Black Skies, I may not have felt the same way.
Part of what causes this differentiation in experience lies on the individual at the show, and the other part lies on the shoulders of the band. Colossus, Whole Wheat Bread, Hey Euphony, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster showed up to perform; not to simply play a gig, but to rock out and have an awesome time. Now this isn’t to say that the other bands didn’t; perhaps the crowd just wasn’t into it, or came to see someone else.
It is for this reason that I ask everyone that goes to support local music, to be active at it. Don’t just go to a show to have a couple beers, hang out, or just b.s. around: Go to the show to have an experince. Get into the music, the people on stage, and the people around you. For the love god, dance, hand bang, jump around, or whatever else comes to mind. Just don’t stand there with a stick up your butt and bounce your head like a bobble head doll. One thing that bands like Colossus, Red Collar, and other local bands excel at, is bringing the audeince to the edge of thier comfortable “chill” zone and pushing them into having an awesome time.