The thought of grown men donning full on rubber suits and rocking out as Orcs may not be everyones idea of a good time, but any grown man who dresses head to toe as an Orc to entertain the metal masses of Anahiem on a wet Thursday night is pretty much a true American hero in my book.
Sean was driving. He was wielding the wheel with some jittery energy. It was a little bit swervy for my liking and I complained a lot. If I have the audacity to openly judge your driving, you are probably pretty close to having a serious accident at all times. I am an average driver at best and the angel of death on four wheels at my worst. Mostly I find myself in the latter. I have a misdemeanor on my license for "running down a pedestrian". I am not proud of my driving. It scares me.
Slick slick roads, pushy coke-head traffic, the angry and aggressive lights creating a blurry chaos on the dangerous road: It was the perfect atmosphere for death metal. Death and metal, yes. This would be a great release al all the darkness in my soul. A fiery metal death actually seemed quite likely on many occasions as Sean would veer out into traffic. When he made an erratic turn of the wheel I would grip the seats like all our parents used to do when we were learning to drive and say something like,
"Hey man, please drive safely". Am I a complete grandpa pussy. Yes, yes I am.
"Oh man", Sean blurts out. His face a little worried, "My medication is running out".
"Ummm, maybe you should take some more?"
"I don't have any. It's O.K, I will be allright".
"Ummmm...". I took a deep breath. I wasn't trying to hide my fear, so my face must have had the expression, shit scared.
"You have to agree that Walk Hard is the greatest movie of all time right?". Sean changed the subject.
"Ummmm". Well, its good to be passionate about your opinion right? Unless you are against gun control, then you are just a disappointing human being.
We arrived in one piece. Thank the metal gods. A miracle. I was excited. I don't get out much. I hardly ever go to concerts; there is so many YOUNG people there. People in there 20's look like they are 10 years old to me. They are tiny and fresh looking. How the hell did I get to be 35 and still feel perpetually adolescent emotionally? But even though I feel young, I look at these kids partying hard and I'm like, no, no I'm not young at all. That looks hard to maintain. Did I mention I was pretty soft? My favorite thing at the moment is stay home and watch Twin Peaks snuggling with my girlfriend. Total wuss.
Like I said, anyone who goes out and rocks the hell out of a rainy night in full Orc garb already has my heart. They had me at Orc. We pulled up to the Venue, Chain Reaction. There was a large car park and no valet. Thats right a large free car park, we were far, far from L.A where parking exists and the Nazi parking wardens are mere horror stories. Hollow white light came down starkly on bands in dark clothing who were waiting with their instruments stacked and ready to roll. We walked up to the box office and introduced ourselves to the Chain Reaction staff. The burly box office metal heads were super nice and super friendly. It was a little strange.
I saw one of the Orcs munching an apple. Pre-show nutrition. I like it. We got talking and he informed me that,
"To be honest it is complete chaos. It gets so incredibly hot and sweaty and sometimes I feel like I am going to pass out. But yeah, total chaos". Oh how I love total chaos.
On the way down, Sean was getting very excited about the idea of being some hard hitting journalist creating an edgy reality show. Metal Sanaz is an advocate for metal bands and a big supporter and promoter of all things metal. She loves metal and wants to see metal bands thrive in an often unforgiving and fair industry. She is always very sweet and polite. Sean was saying things like,
"I need to shake her up. Press her. Take her out of her comfort zone. Get her angry. Maybe I'll ask her what she thinks of the people who say that she is just concerned with her image?"
"Why would you say that? Nobody said that about her. She is really nice? What are you, Fox News?" I was worried and puzzled. Why be an asshole when you can be nice? But it is good to be passionate about your ideas right. Unless you are a gun nut, then, not so much.
When we met with Metal Sanaz , she was of course, very nice charming and we had a great chat about her love for metal and how she seeks to help bands rather then exploit them, a phenomena has witnessed within the industry for over a decade. Sean seemed to havechanged his tune a bit. No longer the hard ass reporter he philosophized that,
"You know what. This place is just not the right setting for my question. An office would be better, yeah, an office." I nodded, trying not to look condescending, but I didn't try very hard if you know what I mean. Hey you know what, it is good to be able to adapt to new situations right?
I love metal crowds. The only metal concert I have been to is Metallica, which are probably considered "soft-metal" nowadays, but that was awesome. The fans really, really love the music and there is an awesome energy in the air. There was a small but boisterous crowd and their enthusiasm made up for their lack on numbers. The Orcs came out and dominated. Awesome to see Orcs wailing on their Axes, and their axes. Thats right, both kinds. I loved watching the kids and die hard fans head banging like crazy. Damn, that can't be good for the neck, but it is impressive. Some of those fans should head bang in a Cirque De Soliel show it is so intense.
There were a couple of girls at the front of the stage rocking out and headbanging. They were excited to see the show and said that the band reminded them a little bit like Slipknot. I asked if they had ear plugs.
"You don't need them"
"Ummm. I am living proof you do need them". Who the hell do I think I am? Some kind of wise nagging grandpa? Yeah, a little bit.
I had a wee chat with them after the show. There names were Ashley and Rebecca, 18 and 19 respectively. They explained that the music helps them to be themselves. It also a great way to let out their anger. What I got from our conversation is that the music captures some of the powerful feelings inside of them. Metal also just provides a straight up adrenaline boost too. Hey, it just gets you hyped right? Oh, and Rebecca and Ashley both thought Band of Orcs were bomb and they both like to fall asleep to death metal.
A Band of Orcs were bomb. They rocked hard and rocked valiantly. Talking to them about politics backstage one mentioned they loved the Republican obsession with carnage and blood shed but just couldn't wrap their heads around their position on health care. Thats right, the current Republican party is even too extreme for Orcs.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the moshing. A group of guys started moshing and suddenly I saw Sean jump in, get swung around like he was a rag doll in some kind of hellish human revolving door and then get unceremoniosly thrown onto the floor. But then a bearded viking warrior dude, bent down and picked him up and they got back to the madness at hand. Sean was pretty proud of his skinned elbow afterwards. I am way too old for that.
"It is about family, like when you fell on the ground and some guy helped you up and made sure you are o.k right?", Metal said to Sean. He nodded. You had to agree, the metal scene is a wonderful, warm, hardcore family. Rock on indeed.