Yep, I’m a Metalhead

Sometimes there’s just no avoiding labels. When you go to see 13 heavy metal bands in a
28 hour period, it’s official: you’re a metal head. You’re also very tired and devoid of any
hearing ability.

On July 14th I went to see the W.A.S.P. show at
The Webster Theater in Hartford. What a GREAT venue! Terrific acoustics (you can actually hear
your own clap reverberate in between sets if you’re down towards the front of
the stage!) and a great set up with multiple bars, multiple viewing areas, room
for sitting and standing, and places to rest your ears between bands or go
catch some local acts in an attached bar in the same building. They have a great line up of classic hard
rock and metal bands coming through – makes me pine for the days of the Strand
and Lupo’s in Providence.  We need more music venues in Providence!

Opening for the W.A.S.P. show were Metal Church, LA Guns, and Steven Pearcy (former lead singer of RATT).  Metal Church was good – a solid
showing of 80’s style heavy metal and speed metal, very much in the style of
Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and early Metallica. LA Guns also put on a solid show, bringing out some classic late 80’s
and early 90’s hair metal classics. One
bit of constructive criticism for Chris VanDahl, the lead vocalist… I, among
others, have no right to criticize your physical fitness, but for the love of
god man, we don’t go around with low-riding jeans and an open leather vest on. If you have even the slightest bit of a beer
belly-style gut, you should NOT be wearing those things!!!

CORRECTION – on November 6, 2005 I received an email from Chris VanDahl correcting me on the above point of my constructuctive criticism, pointing outt hat it wasn’t HIM up on the stage, but rather Phil Lewis.  Sorry man!  I’m sure you would have better sense if you had been up there.

I thought that Stephen Pearcy was an odd choice for the last
opening act – I mean, he is just the former lead singer of a band, but he put
on a great show. Again, getting back to
the sartorial facet of the show… Steve
was wearing a black shirt that appeared to be tied up in the front…. like
Daisy Duke style almost. It made him
look… well… it made him look like a freakin’ go-go dancer in a gay club or
something. Dear god man… you’re
singing about chicks and rock n’ roll… lose the tied shirt front!

Onto the headliner act… W.A.S.P. is a band that I was familiar with more by name than anything
else. A recent post illustrated the
deepest interaction that I’ve had with their music. However, their stage shows are supposed to be
legendary, so I figured “what he hell – why not go?” John was kind enough to put together a
two-disc sampler of their best stuff (he’s a much bigger fan than I was) which
helped a lot with being able to recognize and sing along with the songs.

W.A.S.P. lived up to its crazy reputation, with Blackie
Lawless being front and center as a classic energetic frontman, terrorizing the
crowd with music and props. The most
famous of which is his microphone stand, a skeletal monstrosity which he climbs
up on and hangs off of. During the song “Kill
Your Pretty Face” he did exactly this – climbed up on the microphone stand
(which is spring-loaded so that it bounces and sways menacingly) and sang the
song from there, lit only by black lights to the front and some rays of lights
from the back. Very atmospheric and evil
looking. Then he turned it up a creepy
notch by putting some glow-in-the-dark body paint on him. But he didn’t just put it on – it looked like
he was cutting himself, and all of a sudden this day-glo green goop was all
over him. It didn’t seem like much of a
stretch for Blackie to have something other than blood coursing through his
veins. By the end of the song, as the
music climaxed, Blackie was swaying heavily on the mic stand, his arms and face
covered in the fluorescent body paint, singing “kill your pretty face.”

After that song, John turned to me and said "I think we may
have just been inducted into the church of Satan…"

So after the evening full of heavy metal mischief, it was
off to Ozzfest the next day. Erock had
to work until noon, so we didn’t get to The Tweeter Center (props to Shadows
Fall for making a comment about how it will always be “Great Woods” for those
who remember) until about 1:30/2:00. We
saw, in order:

  • As I Lay Dying
  • Killswitch Engage
  • Rob Zombie
  • In Flames
  • Black Label Society
  • Shadows Fall
  • Mudvayne
  • Iron Maiden
  • Black Sabbath

Which makes for a pretty good line-up for the day, eh? The highlights were definitely Rob Zombie and
Iron Maiden, followed by Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. Zombie played a stripped down set – just him,
a drummer, a guitarist, and a bassist, with minimal pre-recorded sound effects
for the intros and outros of the songs. Seeing
Rob Zombie without all the pyros, dancers, props and massive stage sets proved
that he can really rock (though the other stuff is pretty damn cool too).

Iron Maiden did a great set, doing only songs from their
first four albums. The only downside to
that was that they didn’t play “Fear of the Dark”, which would have been
perfect since their performance straddled the dusk hour. However, they did open up with “Wrathchild”
one of my personal favorite Maiden songs, especially the ’99 version found on
the Ed Hunter Greatest Hits collection, which features Bruce Dickinson on

I love it when a band opens up with one of my favorite songs
– it almost makes me relax for the rest of the show, knowing that I don’t have
to wonder if they are going to play it or not, and just enjoy what they do

Sabbath was good, and Ozzy looked really good – thin,
energetic, lively. His voice was pretty
decent too, though some of the set list might need to be rearranged (this was
the first show on the tour), since some of the high notes found in “Children of
the Grave” were too high for him to reach after being on stage for an
hour. Which reminds me – I wish that
Black Sabbath had played a shorter set and let Iron Maiden play longer. That would have been welcome. I love Sabbath as much as anyone, but while
this is only my second Ozzfest, it is the fourth time I’ve seen Ozzy and third
time seeing Sabbath (also saw them once with another lead singer, whoever the hell
he was), and while hearing “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” live in concert are among
my top concert experiences of all time, just how much Sabbath do we need? And when they pull out the deep track stuff,
most of the kids in the audience don’t know it – I think that John and Erock
were one of 10 people in the audience that knew the song “Dirty Women.”

Who the fuck chose Mudvayne to go before Iron Maiden? I’ve never seen a band who can turn a heavy
metal act into something so boring. They
opened up for Zombie/Ozzy a few years ago on the Merry Mayhem tour (which
spawned the infamous “Bubbles!??! I can’t have fucking bubbles!! I’m the prince of fucking darkness!!” quote
on the Osbornes) and we found them relentlessly repetitive and boring there –
and they haven’t improved any. The lead
singer looked like a fucking fan boy impersonating Darth Maul and every goddamn
song sounded alike. This isn’t a “I’m
getting older, so I don’t like new music” rant – I like some pretty fucking
heavy stuff, but there’s only so much Mudvayne I can take before I just find it
fucking boring. They are actually good
at what they do, but they appear to be able to do only one thing – play ludicrously
loud and fast while the lead singer screams over the music.  They’re called chords guys – there’s a good
number of them out there… try some different ones, will ‘ya? Taking the Ramones and making it louder,
faster, heavier, and more scream-filled doesn’t qualify as original!

As far as the general atmosphere and people at Ozzfest goes –
well, it’s Ozzfest…. What the fuck do you expect? The place is full of raging freaks! But that’s part of the charm, I guess. I hope that the kid we saw being carried out
of the pit at the second stage is alright, and I hope the other guy who walked
out of there covered in blood figured out where it was coming from and/or who’s
it was! What these people were thinking,
moshing and crowd surfing in that weather, I don’t know! It was so hot and disgusting in the audience,
I can’t imagine what it was like in the pit! Erock and I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get some cold water
and fresh air.
Speaking of interesting Tweeter Center
experiences… they can take their “Hamburger Deluxe” and shove it up their
ass. Dried out piece of meat served with
nothing on it. Didn’t help that it was
accompanied by warm ice-less soda and the condiment stand had been raped and
pillaged. It’s an all day festival – you’d
think they would be better prepared!!

One thought on “Yep, I’m a Metalhead”

  1. Ok a solid review is one thing but being confused with a guy that’s got a beer gut is another entirely! Lol! Somebody mentioned the write up on the LA. Guns show that you did and as a long standing (falling over) member of the hard rock community I felt it my civic duty to correct a minor case of mistaken identity. The guy you saw was not Chris VanDahl, it was actually Phil Lewis. The reason I know this is because I’m Chris VanDahl or at least I was the last time I looked. Lol! If you’re interested in what I’v been up to you can hit me up at then click on the wolf head to check out my latest project.
    Peace~ And keep up the good work!

Comments are closed.