Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Municipal Waste + Darkest Hour + Converge / Chapel Hill, N.C. / Cat's Cradle / Nov.17 2005

Kurt Converge 11/17/05
“The day you realize you were born into this world alone and that you will die alone is the day your life will change too...” Jake Converge (singer)

Pure fucking genius right? Boot camp style long winded macho bullshit rants no longer hold my attention. Go figure. Why it took me until I was 34 to decide this, I can’t tell you but it was on my birthday as I stood watching not one but two unconscious bodies being carried out by a an EMT crew from the crowd that I decided it was time to retire my from the pit reports.

It was a few minutes later after Jake Converge basically urged the crowd of 300 to take on a minimal security crew standing between them and the stage that my disgust turned to horror. One of the security guards took a good 15 blows to the upper part of his body and head and it wasn’t until a different member of the band took a more grounded problem solving approach, told everyone to chill the fuck out or they won’t play anymore that genuine crowd control finally took place. It isn’t rocket science to understand exactly why venues are hiring outside security for their shows. A hatecore crowd reeks of a speeding testosterone car with failing breaks.

What’s different to me now is even though I love the band as people and love their music, they are part of a cocky car crash I no longer want to rubberneck.

Note to self : I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS.

What I can’t figure out is how Converge can find people to book their shows when acts of violence from their audience is almost a guaranteed part of their 20 to 35 minute performance. I don’t care how many records they sell or how many kids usually show up to see them play, an ambulance shouldn’t have be a part of any show. I think the ultimate example of a Converge crowd gone wrong is Adam the guitar player from Cave In’s Mom being punched in the face by somebody in the crowd during Converge’s set. ( Cave In was on the bill too)

But I am getting too far ahead of myself….let me start from the beginning of the night.

Arms folded and among the crowd Kurt Ballou and I stood stage left where we proceed to watch Municipal Waste play their entire set. Ask any touring band how many times they watch the bands they are on tour with play and the answer is usually a number around none so for a band member on this tour to tell me he hasn’t missed one Municipal Waste show all tour, it’s a metal miracle. Coming from a band (Converge) that isn’t famous for their sense of humor on stage or for playing anything close to Suicidal Tendencies this opposites attract line up of bands both on stage and backstage was a surprisingly successful partnership.

Boogie boards and beer bongs are the best thing to happen to thrashcore and Municipal Waste is single handedly bringing this classic genre to new heights of pledge week stupidity. Your basic ingredients to a MW show are beach accessories or pool inflatables, flip flop moshing, stage dives with pizza, and a band that talks like Spicole if he was a denim wearing pirate. This is all true unless you are in Chapel Hill, N.C. This sleepy college town equaled arms folded and kids staring blankly. The crowd played an unusually passive role for a MW show and disappointedly I didn’t see one inflatable shark or raft with cup holders damn it. ( I blame the Converge following for being waaay too serious and agro) The MW humorously poked at the crowd for playing dead until a small clockwise circle pit formed but it was such a sad display of energy the band retaliated with more jokes at the crowd’s expense begging them to stop.

“This next songs is named after something you guys wouldn’t know anything about, it’s about when you thrash so hard at a show you wake up with a stiff neck the next day. This song is called Bang Over.”

Even with a weak crowd response and the band clearly disappointed with the sea of people and no blow-up floating devices as far as the eye could see, new thrash doesn’t get much better or honest as this. As if the band wasn’t already working their way to being the next huge metal band from Richmond, the addition of Dave Witte (Burn By The Sun / Discordance Axis / Melt Banana drummer) raises MW talent to match their sense of humor and massive quantities of beer.

(Their cd Hazardous Mutation on Earache is 15 songs in 26 minutes and rivals any of the classic D.R.I. / Suicidal Tend. / Murphy’s Law heavy skatecore but in MW’s favor, none of those old school bands have the drumming power that MW has now.)

Darkest Hour played next ( oh yeah we missed the very opening band) but somehow I got lured into the backstage antics of beer bongs and shotgunning beer and missed their whole set. At the very least they were the perfect soundtrack for a high school hesher flashback, beer soaked hoodies and all. I have pictures but I will spare you what looks like rush week at a heavy metal parking lot convention. (air guitar here)

Last but not least was Converge but you already know how that story ends.