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Thursday, July 10, 2008

People = Shit

posted by on July 10 at 9:11 AM

Let me make this clear - I never planned to be surrounded by thousands of people chanting along to Disturbed’s “Stupify,” but it happened. Somehow Zwickel convinced me to tag along with him to cover the first stop of the 2008 Rockstar Mayhem Festival at White River. I’ve only been to one show at White River: Radiohead. I didn’t like that venue one bit. Since then I have made it a point not to go back, until now.

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Mastodon was the first band to take the main stage. They have been touring constantly for the last couple years and it shows: their chops are damn near perfect. The first half of the set was all Blood Mountain, the second half Leviathan. Even the guy selling sodas couldn’t help involuntarily headbanging to the opening riff of “Aqua Dementia.” Their set was short and excellently on point. I wondered how the troubled masses surrounding me enjoyed it. I heard one guy yell real loud, “Man, Mastodon FUCKING SUCKS!”

I wish my eyes were cameras so I could remember all the awesome tattoos and outfits I saw at this festival. There were a ton of Slipknot tatts, and way more of their shirts. I swear one in every four people was wearing a Slipknot shirt. One guy had a back piece of a giant flaming Chevy logo. As much as I wanted to ask somebody every 30 seconds to take their picture it seemed pretty much guaranteed that doing so would result in a fist to my face. I saw one fat guy wearing a black shirt that said, “Fuck Me I’m Fat,” and another guy wearing one that read, “I’m Fat Fuck Off.” The merch stands sold weed bandanas and leis with pot leaves and hats that incorporated the word “Fuck” in different ways. There was a stand for the “I (heart) Vagina Clothing Co.” It was fun watching a dad try to keep his kid from reading what the shirts said.

It seemed strangely fitting after the indie rock and grassy hills of Sasquatch that all the alternative kids would be watching their thin-sounding generic hardcore bands in a big cement parking lot. Man, they sure did love Underoath. Underoath sure does love Jesus, and they made sure to let everybody know. I’m familiar with little of their music, and after seeing them I have little desire to hear more, but I will concede that their performance and execution were much better than I would have expected. They did lose my attention however when a kid in a Cradle of Filth t-shirt with giant rubber flaps on his legs walked by. Then that kid had my full attention.

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Dragonforce take the prize for the band having the most fun on stage, and really, it’s damn hard not to have fun watching them. Their intro began with classical music but switched to a voice over calling those kinds of dramatic openings “Gay.” It was replaced with a medley of Donkey Kong noises and the sound of someone crapping. Even if you hate their songs, seeing Dragonforce pull off those guitar solos is pure entertainment. The fact that the band obviously takes their shtick with a grain of salt makes it that much easier to stomach. Their performance was entirely feel-good and an awesome spectacle.

There was a woman in front of me who kept doing that church move where you raise your hands and let the spirit in, but she was doing it to the chorus of a Disturbed song. The people in that stadium FUCKING LOVED Disturbed. Never before had I seen devil horns or fist pumping of that magnitude. Thousands upon thousands of rabid fans, yelling the lyrics as loud as they possibly could. I’m going to be perfectly honest; I got a little freaked out. I have never felt so out of place, so surrounded by people celebrating something I so completely did not understand. They all sang, “Look in my mind, look in my soul.” If these people could have looked in my mind and seen how I felt about Disturbed they would have ripped my arms off. How that animated, growling phallus in a jumpsuit won the affection of so many thousands of people with his bizarre pterodactyl scream is one of life’s great mysteries. He thanked the audience for making their new record debut at #1: Disturbed is only the sixth band to ever have their first three records accomplish that. He then gave love to the troops and asked for the audience to show “a little fucking patriotism,” riling everyone up with a chant of “USA! USA!” Everyone was eating out of the palm of his hand, then: “It appears the entire state of Washington has become infected… WITH THE SICKNESS.” That thumping is the sound of hundreds of people banging along on the seats in front of them.

I have never sat so long through anything I enjoyed so little.

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Somewhere deep down I have a soft spot for Slipknot. I spent many afternoons in the spring of my 16th year getting stoned in my bedroom, playing Tony Hawk on N64 and listening to their first record. Their first set in 2 ½ years began with a huge, startling explosion and columns of fire, then the proclamation, “Fuck it all, fuck this world, fuck everything that you stand for. Don’t belong, don’t exist, don’t give a shit, don’t ever judge me.” I can see how this band pairs well with Disturbed – one expresses anger though guttural noises, the other through constant immature cussing. But where Disturbed is painfully rigid and theatrical at least Slipknot know how to actually rock out while playing their dumb songs. They may be immature with their silly masks and angry-diary lyrics, but as far as an arena rock show goes they’re at least entertaining to watch. One of the DJs (or something) was jumping all over the place and wrecked his ankle trying to do a trick off the drum riser. He had to sit by himself in his booth for the rest of the set, his head-bobs looking all dejected. Poor guy went and hurt himself on the first night of a summer-long tour. Everyone chanted along to their track from Guitar Hero III “Before I Forget,” “The Heretic Anthem” and “People = Shit.” The singer promised to “personally spit in the mouth” of anyone who got a tattoo of their new record “All Hope Is Gone.” They ended their set with “(sic),” with the drums rising and tilting upside-down a la Motley Crue. Everyone was head banging, then there was another huge explosion, and it was over.

Sort of. It took an hour and a half to get from the parking lot to the freeway. White River: You are fucked.

RSS icon Comments

1

thank you. after reading this i could actually taste the ass rock in my mouth. hilarious, lovely detail. now i need to find some scope.

Posted by scratkriby | July 10, 2008 11:41 AM
2

Why does Mastodon put themselves on these shitty bills? I've already seen them headline their own tour once; they can surely do it again.


White River is horrid.

Posted by laterite | July 10, 2008 12:54 PM
3

I reeaaaallly wanted to see Mastodon, and Dragonforce would have been fun too.

But Disturbed and Slipknot on the ticket AND having it at White River totally killed it for me.

Posted by Ian | July 10, 2008 1:14 PM
4

You dumb liberal piece of shit!.. let me just say that if you think that you will always have the right to post, blog, or freely say whatever you like, you are mistaken! if it wasn't for this country, this flag, our military, our people, you wouldn't be able to do any of those things!
Hell you might not be even able to read and right.
So, In my opinion as a fellow washingtonian you can fuck off along with the rest of the pukes in seattle that think that socialism is a good idea. It DOESN'T work.... HISTORY.. Learn about it!!!
The next time you see me I WILL BE SCREAMING USA USA USA.. do you understand what that means? Ask yourself, question yourself, question history if you like. But history does repeat itself.. I hate ignorance.
Please Think for yourself, not in your community, Think about that word... community and then think about what communism might mean or where it came from.
Have a nice day or night.
Shawn.
U.S.A. The best and most generous Country on the fucking planet!!!

Posted by EyEamI | July 13, 2008 5:20 AM

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