Review (sort of): Killer Thrash/Death Metal Concert

Wednesday night (8/26), GoatWhore played at the 89th Street Collective in OKC along with Black Fast and a couple of local bands (I think), who may have announced their names when they played but I definitely couldn’t understand them and/or was not listening.

The day before, my former co-worker and current friend had invited me to go along with him to this show, for a band I had never heard of. $14 tickets at the door at 9pm on a slow Wednesday? Sure, why not.

Now, the 89th Street Collective used to be the Conservatory, which I had been to once before to see Russian Circles, which is probably my all-time favorite instrumental metal group–since the show anyway, I hadn’t heard of them before that. The venue is a very run-down space that doesn’t even have a sign out front, so you really just have to know where it is. It’s a very minimalist structure. There’s a stage in the right corner (facing the door) raised slightly above a pit, and on the left wall is a space where the bands set up their merch tables. There used to be a bar, but now the place is BYOB. The counter for said bar is still in place, though, so my friend/bodyguard and I posted up by that to wait for the show to start.

As I surveyed the black-clad crowd, I was really glad I found him easily in the parking lot instead of trying to meet inside. It’s not like there were that many people present, but I knew if I’d had to ask someone “Have you seen this guy?” my description of him would have matched pretty much everybody there: big dude, black hair, funky haircut, probably wearing all black, and it might even be a band t-shirt.

I shared this observation with my bodyguard (I kept mentally referring to him like this all night as I knew that nobody was going to screw with me as long as I stood next to him). He laughed and offered me one of the beers he had brought: Anthem Arjuna. It’s an awesome Belgian-style local brew. He got three different compliments on his beer choice when we walked in. Of course, he learned about Anthem from me (Arjuna and The Golden One are my favorites). If you aren’t in the distribution area, I’m sorry, and if you are but haven’t tried it, I’m even more sorry for you.

I don’t really remember much about the first band except the music didn’t match the vocals. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of screaming anyway (I know, I know, why the hell was I there?) but I can get behind it if it somehow compliments the music, but in this case, it did not. Second band sounded pretty much the same, though at least with them I didn’t have to completely tune out the vocals to enjoy it. Of course it helped that the vocalist (I just can’t call them “singers”) was cute, in a bald kind of way. Like Krillin. Also, I kept wondering if the artery in his neck was going to burst from his screaming because I could seriously see that thing across the room.

Black Fast sounded much the same as the locals. Except for some reason the vocalist had to talk in between every song. And by talk, I mean continue screaming into the mike so that I had absolutely no idea what he was trying to say. He seemed more excited about Goatwhore playing next than he was about his own band, though. Now that is some team spirit. Or whatever.

There was a mini-mosh pit for portions of the middle two bands. It didn’t really get going until the headliner came on, though. Well, except that one time during the second set where a dude in a spiked denim vest sat on somebody else’s shoulders and dominated the area. That was entertaining. Anyway, Goatwhore came on, but by this point we’d been there for two hours, so we only stayed for the first couple of songs before bailing. It was more of the same thing anyway, except with this group I wanted to steal the vocalist’s elbow-length gloves because those things were wicked.

I know that for someone who doesn’t like screaming, I’ve focused an awful lot on the vocalists, but it’s because I really couldn’t see anything else and as far as the sound went, it was all pretty much the same thing. Although, I will admit, Black Fast’s bassist was pretty fab.

I’m really not complaining with this pseudo-review even though on the re-read for edits, I’m sure that’s what it sounds like. The whole reason I went to the show was for the camaraderie and because I like the atmosphere of small metal gigs. I don’t know anybody other than the person I come with, and I probably stick out like a sore thumb (bright purple shirt and converse, red curly hair, small girly tattoos instead of sleeves), but I like it.

I like watching the people bob their heads off-beat and sometimes head bang without a proper understanding of how that is supposed to work. There really is a right and several wrong ways. And I’m sure it doesn’t always happen this way, but when somebody fell over in the mosh pit, like three people stooped to help him up. And this might sound stupid, but despite how much working in retail has made me lose faith in humanity as a reliable species, little things like that make me reconsider that viewpoint.

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