I write often about the positive benefit of living in the suburbs of a major US city and how that allows me the privilege of attending a lot of metal shows that others are denied, simply based on geography. There is a down side to this: it’s impossible for me to see them all. Marriage, work, pets, sleep and the constantly too low bank account all conspire together to keep me out of the show and in real life. Those dastardly fiends!
This year has been a bit tougher on the wallet than most. Blame the government, the economy, drought, big corporate greed or whatever, but they all end in the same result: fewer concerts for That Nerdy Metal Guy. I complained at first, but looking at this summer’s schedule, I’m ok with it. I’m missing out on a few shows, but it’s pushing me to expand my listening to newer, younger bands and older bands who play smaller venues. It sucks to miss MayhemFest for a fourth year in a row, but it has also encouraged me to investigate bands more thoroughly before I lay down my money to see them live.
Prong is a band on this list (it’s $16 bucks for the ticket. That sounds like chicken feed, but to a metalhead with no money, it’s a fortune). I read they were coming to The Masquerade (older readers will recall this is my favorite metal venue in Atlanta) November 7th and at first I blew it off. I liked RUINING LIVES, but that was my only exposure to the band. I then stopped and thought:”I DID like their last album. Why don’t I check out the rest of their stuff?” This isn’t an illogical progression for most metalheads. We are notorious for wanting to listen to and devour an artist’s entire catalog, memorizing every word and every note. I had gotten away from that ritual. I had allowed myself to become caught up in the daily grind of life, losing the joy that my favorite music brings. The same albums were getting played over and over, in dull repetition. I had really forgotten what it was about metal that had ensnared me so many years ago.
I did what anyone with internet service can do into today’s world: I went to google and looked up Prong’s Wikipedia page. I read about the band and found the list of their albums to date. I went to YouTube and listened to RUDE AWAKENING. I liked it. I then put on CLEANSING. I also liked it. I made a decision: this music makes me smile, smiling is good, I will find a way to go see this band.
Again, $16 is not a lot of money. Many readers will spend more than that when they go to a fast-food restaurant (not me; I can’t eat that crap). For me, it felt like a small fortune. I eliminated a couple daily rituals and got the money (as well as money for Crowbar in July, but that’s another story). Plus, I feel better (I eliminated a daily diet soda that turns was causing me to retain weight and feel like crap). I now can say proudly that I’m going to be in the pit in November.
It’s kind of funny to me that a cheap ticket to an underground band is more exciting to me than my tickets to larger acts. I think it’s because I feel genuinely rejuvenated. I’ve rediscovered part of me that was lost, that kid that would spend hours reading every word printed on an album sleeve or CD booklet to learn about a band. We all have that kid inside us, that bonafide metal nerd, who wants to be able to show off their metal knowledge to their friends. Adulthood and life around us robs us of that enthusiasm. I can tell you it is worth restoring. I learned that by eliminating certain needless rituals of adulthood, I had time to reacquaint myself with the music I love. Not for the ability to talk about it online and not out of boring habit. No, it is because this is the music that fires our guns. At least it does mine.
I’m still a broke guy. I’m still having to work myself into an early grave. But, I can do it with a smile and know there’s a payoff, even if it’s seeing an underground band in a heavy metal bar. That makes it all worth while for me.
I’d like to welcome our readers in France! It warms my heart to see readers from all over the world enjoying this blog and I hope you all have a great day. Horns up and crank it loud!