A metal fan's journey into the world of indie music

    It never fails; I hear about a concert at some unknown all-ages venue, and, despite my better judgment I’ll find my self knee-deep in a crowd of 14- to 16-year-olds. At least this time I had a somewhat reasonable purpose for showing up: I was going for a class. Sparing the details, I needed to go with a friend to see a show, so we can write about it for a literature/writing class. This would have been the worst show I had ever seen if not for the fact that we left after the second band.

    Being a heavy metal fan, I have relegated myself to the fact that there is a lot worth laughing at within the metal scene. And like any music, when done poorly, metal goes very bad.

    Even before I heard a note, all signs were pointing toward this being a lackluster night. In many ways it was, but, since I was with a few friends, the experience wasn’t a total waste as it gave us something to laugh at for the rest of the night.

    The show was at Just Java (ever so cleverly renamed ‘Fuck Java’ by the underage bands that can’t get any worthwhile venues to play at and constantly face getting barred from their own or their fan’s stupid antics), located in a surprisingly quaint older section of Chula Vista. As we motored down past shops and trees decked out in white lights, there was a lone crowd of young kids in black and ratty clothes gathered outside the only shop open in an otherwise sleeping street.

    What quickly became clear about this show was the vast majority of people there were kids from Chula Vista with nothing else to do on a Friday night. There was more of a crowd outside at any given time than inside listening to the music — not that I can really blame them. Of the three bands scheduled to play, I only knew about the opener, Skelator (who I love to hate: the other time I saw Skelator at another all-ages venue, the lead singer was wearing football chest pads and brandishing a crusty, chipped sword), and thankfully, by the time we arrived we managed to miss their performance entirely.

    Another band had just started a lackluster set; it was a band from Tijuana, Mexico, who called themselves Infinitum Obscure for whatever reason. The music was bad, uninspired and way below par. It was the typical thing really — well at least as much as I can tell in the metal scene. A band who tries to play black/death and can’t do it very well just sounds like mud. The band kept making us laugh with their death metal growls of “”check check”” every couple of songs.

    The next act, Severed, I had heard about, but never actually heard. The fans got way more excited and the band looked amped to be playing. Their sound almost got me excited but then it quickly went into full suck mode. Boring! But I was in a vast minority as the other kids were constantly head-banging and freaking out as if this was the best band they had ever seen.

    So we did the kvlts (metal for “”cult””) thing I could think of doing. We left.

    What was by far the most interesting thing about this show was the people at it: this was a like a scene from a bad movie where they want to make fun of the metal scene. There were so many pimply-faced little white boys wearing black metal shirts, standing around looking like they were suffering from scoliosis, pot-bellied lecherous men in their thirties with long hair, big sideburns and balding spots, couples lip-locked next to the bathroom for the entire night. There was even the one couple where the girl looked about 14 and the guy about 19. 15-year-old boys dressed in all leather outfits, trying so hard to look masculine and failing. That night I saw the lead singer and bassist of Cattle Decapitation along with some people I know by face from pictures posted on a local metal site, http://www.sdmetal.org. The guys from Cattle looked sufficiently bored out of the skulls to make me feel like I wasn’t the only one not enjoying the music. I realized that this show had very little to do with the actual music and had everything to do with creating a scene.

    At least I was able to laugh about it all, but when I went and checked http://www.sdmetal.org, I saw a forum devoted to how cool everyone thought the show was, which goes to show that hanging around with too many minors will just warp your sense of a good time.

    On the topic of minors, I’ve learned something, something that most everyone should know, but apparently some people don’t. Sure, sex is practically our national past-time, and Americans spend tons of money and arm power on it, but sex with a minor carries harsh penalties behind it. It isn’t worth it.

    I don’t like getting letters in the mail from my ex-girlfriend because she’s being accused of molesting a minor under the age of 14. For some reason, it tends to ruin my day. So let me reiterate for all the potential mincing child-hungry pedophiles out there: Sure the lifestyle was glamorized by characters like Dr. Smith and Will Robinson, but in reality, jail time and being a registered sex offender far outweigh any benefits. Trust me.

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