Ok, so here's a thing:
Seeing as there's little in the way of actual news presently which I feel particularly inclined to blog on out for the MyDL masses (or both of you who read my articles), I thought I'd scribble down a little something that relates to my world on a more personal level: music.
It's that time of term again when students start congregating on the lawn in front of my dining hall, satchels and carry ons at the ready, awaiting Greyhounds to take them all back home for the vac stretch. Clustering under trees or perched on top of walls, they can be heard chattering excitedly amongst themselves about home cooked meals, their pet guinea pig who they haven't seen since June, and all the little warm, fluffy things associated with moving back in with your parents for a week and a bit. And, I have to say, I share their sentiment.
There is a dark, ugly force, lurking in the side alleys and back rooms of all of my home town's clubs. It is a character crushing mutant, which feasts on unsuspecting neo-hippies and worried parents. Waiting for you, behind the doors of at least two venues a weekend, savouring it's chance to pounce, neutralise, and take your sensibilities down to the bottom of it's swirling yellow pit of beer, cussing and stupid hairstyles.
It is the Port Elizabeth metal scene, and it will find you in it's leather clad grip before you know what's happening.
Now, before I carry on with this piece, let me clarify that I love metal, and, on occasion, have found myself really latching on to certain PE metal bands. I like some of them. And there's nothing cooler than a tight knit community of music lovers. Kudos to music movements, I will not lie, they are going to save us all.
Upon closer inspection of the metal scene in my beloved port hometown, we begin to find gross irregularities with this self-proclaimed social force, and the values of brotherhood it claims to uphold. One need only talk to anyone even remotely seperated from the scene to find that, first and foremost, it's members are highly suspicious of each other. I heard tale last night from X
about a relatively well established PE metal band kicking it's lead singer out because he slept with the drummer's girlfriend. No lies, I'd've done the same(kicked out the singer, not slept with the drummer's girl).
Except that I don't think I'd be in a band with people like that in the first place
. I understand that group formations when it comes to decent bads often rely on melding together the best talent from a wide range of people, but really? I'd say at least get to know the dude before letting him 1. near your band, and 2. near your ladyfriends. But it's become such a race to show off testosterone fueled riffing and heavy screams, in order to out-brutalise the previous band, that bands are letting in people who should be seeking help themselves. I've had drummers threaten to kill me and my band members, sound guys notably screwing up my sound, before getting up with their own bands and miraculously having the best sound I've ever heard, and men, grown men
, badmouthing their ex-band mates at house parties to fifteen year old girls.
Step 1. Get over yourselves, dudes. It's PE, you're not talking about CBGB's here. No one cares.
Then there's the style-cloning. I've heard some great metal bands come out of that sleepy little town, and for the sake of their anonymity (and saving my own ass from the guys that I don't like) I'm not going to mention names. But yes, there are a lot of great bands, and some very promising talent.
But I'm freakin' tired of getting you mixed up with Lamb of God, guys.
I just want some of these dudes to own up and say, "Listen, we actually don't spend enough time thinking about things like experimentation, or loud-soft dynamics to make something you haven't heard before, so we just take it upon ourselves to beef up our image, let rip as quickly as possible, and hope you don't notice any similarities..." Also, too many acts are getting up and literally
sounding like the previous bands encore. Having your mountain of a guitarist bust out the same, tired Kerry King style guitar solo for every track
can feel a little like a nine hour bagpipe marathon:
Step 2. If it's a choice between shoddy, original work, or shoddy, cloned work, I'd pay double to see you play something shoddy that I haven't heard before.
And, lastly, I hate sounding like somebody's parent, recounting the glory days of rock 'n roll, but, in all seriousness, PE's seen some amazing acts in the time that I've known it's music scene (hey, the Finkelstiens might've broken up, and everybody might've breathed a little sigh that that was over, but they've got their "We opened for The Offspring and
Metallica" t-shirts, and I'm sure they wear them proudly).
So how about, just once in a while, when bands get together to do a reunion concert, or they branch off into their respective solo acts, you drop by and check them out instead
of seeing some guys with a 7 word long name/sentence, who you've seen the week before. Metal has many facets, guys and girls, and music has even more. You should try exploring them.
Step 3. Get out of Harvy's, wipe your face off, and go check out some different bands, every once in a while.
So, um, yeah, I hope this doesn't get me thrown off of any balconies (or under anybody's tires). I'm only saying all of this because I actually appreciate the idea of the metal scene. Really, I do. Fraternity, solidarity and common interests are all good things. It's just that it's become very elitist, and I don't think anyone can argue with me there. I'm tired of getting glares because I've shown up at a gig wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That's not what I ever thought this kind of thing was all about. And it's not everybody either, but it's enough people for it to be annoying. I just want to get in that car on Friday, head on back to PE, and have something to look forward to listening to.
But, you know, maybe it's just me...
Yeah, that's probably it.