|Chris Fronzak, vocals, Attila, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
An early start on a Friday evening, and the line of mostly late-teen fans stretches around three sides of the block, sidewalk wide in the early dark, waiting to get inside and experience the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour
. It's been a beautiful November day in Sacramento: sunny after early mist, warm, flowers blooming, one of those days that makes you remember why you live here. 6 p.m. and the doors have just opened: it's quite unusual to see so many people, so early: the show has sold out, and all of the four bands are touring, no local opener on this evening.
For this show, the majority of the Ace of Spades
is configured for "all ages", no alcohol: I'm thinking: these are metalcore-cum-boy-bands, hardly out of their teens themselves or trying hard to remain teenaged into their thirties.. the sort of band you'll see at Vans Warped, floppy hair and metal tuning. And yes, there was some of that--Crown The Empire especially boy-band-esque but with a screaming twist.
|Crown The Empire, Sacramento|
So... much... energy in the crowd. So many happy and excited people. So many loud girls waiting for a meet-and-greet or three. And all Ace of Spades
' security guys, knowing what they are going to have to work with tonight.
|Wall Of Death, Attila, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
All four bands screamed at the audience to crowdsurf, to form the biggest circle pit ever (did they check the size of the venue before saying that??? Slight exaggeration given the available space), to go for the wall of death. I hope there were no broken bones. It can be a tad intimidating to be caught up in the pit if you're not prepared.
|Tyler Dennen, vocals, Sworn In, Sacramento|
I was warned--twice--to be careful in the photo pit with Attila
, because it would
get nasty and we probably wouldn't be able to shoot three songs (they were right--we were pulled out of the small, crowded photo-pit after little more than one song, bodies flying over the security barrier and all that). It was "interesting" negotiating a way out of the pit, through the crushing crowd and skirting a very-active circle pit while carrying two cameras, but that's another story. (It wasn't until I edited my photos that I realised that security was not only catching all the crowdsurfers and making sure they didn't crack their heads on the stage or the cement floor, but they were also in the middle of the crowd, making sure everyone was OK. Kids? You owe them a big thank you.)
Of the four bands, I found Like Moths To Flames
most enjoyable, probably because they mix some melody and clean singing in with the more typical hardcore screams and yells. OK, "core" is not my music of choice: I love the energy, and the action, but I like to hear singers who truly sing. Given the number of people at the show, I was one of the minority who was there for reasons other than being a totally-devoted fan. There were also a few brave parents, accompanying their kids. Some of whom have obviously spent so much time listening to their kids' fave bands that they know all the words...
|Aaron Evans, bass, Like Moths To Flames, Sacramento|
|Chris Roetter, vocals, Like Moths To Flames, Sacramento|
. The last keep-the-crowd-entertained song played in the break between Crown The Empire
and Attila's arrival on stage was "I Don't F**K With You
" by Big Sean, and all the young women in the front row of the crowd were singing along to words that insult and disrespect a woman (or just as importantly--another member of the human race). So the beat is catchy. Shouldn't you also listen to the words?
And that set the tone for Attila
To my ears, every word of each and every Attila
song rhymed with duck, and there was no quacking, no feathers, and no kindness. That was the limit: of the vocabulary, of the lyrics, of the words, and of the entire F-you sentiment.
I find it hard, and very sad, that the whole, sold-out venue of kids are raising themselves to think that's more than OK.
|Crowd and circle pit, Attila, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
Am I being hypocritical? I love Five Finger Death Punch, and Ivan Moody's lyrics
can be ultra-angry. Yet he is so articulate, and his words are intensly personal. Attila? It's just S*** my F***
and variants thereof. I really don't get it. The energy, the atmosphere, the incitement to rebel? Absolutely. The spirit of the words that are used? No, I don't. Never in a million years.
It's been a crazy week: non-peaceful Ferguson protests, insane shoppers on Black Friday, and kids who think it's OK to have little or no respect for other people while classing it as "music". I feel a little old... I now understand why earlier generations always say, "the world is not the same as it was". Words used to mean something... other than a middle finger.
Guys? You can obviously make music. You've obviously enough talent to draw a huge audience, and the energy to maintain a following. Give Peace A Chance.
When I left the venue, it was raining. I played The War On Drugs
all the way home.
All photos link to Toon's Tunes photo galleries: or click here for Attila
, Crown The Empire
, Like Moths To Flames
, and Sworn In
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