Archive: Pit Stories Columns
Sometimes you fight to get to the front of the crowd and see your favorite band up close and personal. Other times, it's not worth the effort.
That was the case for one unlucky lady who had the misfortune to be at the front of the pit when Dawn Of Ashes was playing... and one member was battling a truly wicked case of phlegm.
For this week's spectacularly gross Pit Story, Dawn Of Ashes shared the following mucus-laden tale:
I can't recall what state this happened in but on our tour with Dimmu Borgir, I came down with a nasty cold from being in below zero weather in Canada. From the illness, I was coughing up really gross green mucus.
While on stage at whatever venue we were playing at, I coughed up this gnarly mucus ball and spit it directly into the crowd. All of this happen in slow motion like in a movie. I looked down and right in front row I see a girl pulling this mucus out of her hair all in slow motion. It was fucking disgusting and I was trying not to die laughing while singing. Definitely a funny ass experience.
Third Dawn Of Ashes full-length album "Daemonolatry Gnosis" will be released June 9th through Metropolis Records. Check out a lyric video for the track "Guardians" below and get full album details over here. More...
Last week you all got spoiled with double Pit Stories so today we're returning to business as usual with just one tale of the ups and downs of touring.
For today's entry, we've got Magnus Henriksson of Swedish hard rocking crew Eclipse, who explains a bit about the uncertainties of traveling to another country for a festival gig.
Will there be someone to pick you up? Where are you staying? Will someone randomly hit you and then give you a big sloppy kiss? All these questions and more are answered with Magnus' tale:
Most of our funny or tragic tour stories always occur when we play in Italy for some reason. First time we played there with Eclipse, the promoter picked us up 2 hours late after our arrival. Being sleep deprived for having not slept for 24 hours he drove us to a rock pub where we’re forced to be introduced to his friends and watch one of "his" bands ’til 4 o clock in the morning. We just wanted to sleep.
We finally get to our "hotel" in the middle of nowhere. The day after (gig day) we wake up realizing we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere in a roach infested motel without food, water (you don’t wanna drink tap water in Italy) or possibilities to commute downtown. We just have to wait it out ’til something happens.
The promoter is nowhere to be found cuz his phone is shut off. We can’t reach anyone who works for the festival we’re about to play at.
We’re supposed to go on at 20.00.
We’re waiting. The clock is now 19.15.
We assume that there isn't gonna be a gig.
All of sudden a drunk driver in Motörhead t-shirt park his car outside our motel.
Turns out it's our shuttle. We reach the venue 30 min prior to the gig and we still haven't sound checked. The monitor tech (a hot tempered little Italian woman) is waiting for us onstage, shouting ”ECLIPSE!!!!! Where the hell have you been???”
I try to explain: ”Well, we waited for hours but…..” and then WHACK!!!! All of a sudden she hits our singer in the head with a rolled up newspaper! ”You bastards, showing up late!”More...
Rejoice metal fans: it's a surprise double Pit Story day!
After a beer-chucking tale from The Riven earlier today, we return with a bonus Pit Story from Jake Dreyer of Witherfall who, as it turns out, is not a fan of the pit.
Jake recounts these harrowing pit memories, from one very angry lady sending him scrambling for safety to cheap beer and hot dog vomit heralding his guitar solo:
Ah, pit stories. These are always fun. Truth be told I actually don’t like mosh pits and try to avoid them at all cost when I am attending a show. Yes, I am the guy who hangs out by front of house where I know it is safe and sound. On one rare occasion I tried to venture away into the uncharted waters of the standing room only area to see the show up close. All was good until a very angry 4 foot 9 female who looked like a cross between Sid Vicious and the dog from the Muppets got so motivated by the music of the show I was attending that randomly she decided to shove me into the stage. Afterwards I cowered in fear like a scolded dog and went to watch the show back at the soundboard far away from the chaos. I still have no idea why she was so upset….
Anyways, I do love watching pits from onstage all the energy just gets fed back and forth between the band and the crowd and for a second it takes you away from the reality that you are just a circus monkey turning tricks for peanuts. These are fun, until they turn ugly. Like on a recent tour playing in Budapest (I think) I watched someone get hit so hard they passed out and the crowd just picked them up and threw them over the security barrier like tossing a wet towel in a bin. Watching a limp body just fall hard to the ground of the pit while security dragged them away was a little dark. Fights can be difficult to watch too, they do not happen regularly but I have seen a couple break out in a pit where guys were beating the hell out of each other blood and other bodily fluids squirting uncontrollably through the air.
Though out of all of this, my worst story has to deal with my crippling anxiety of watching people throw up. I am not kidding. It scares the shit out of me to watch myself or someone around me vomit. This does not work playing in a metal band where to let loose men love to pound fistful of cheap beer and run around until their stomachs turn on themselves expelling their partially digested pre-show hot dog. This happened to me once, as someone in the front row on my side of the stage puked over the barrier after I finished a guitar solo. Perhaps maybe that was their way of showing me what they felt of my playing. If so then I commend them.
Witherfall released latest album "Nocturnes And Requiems" back in February - check out a track from the release below, and a previous pit story from Witherfall all about mob justice can be read over here. More...
Spilled beer is a universal tragedy - unless its spilled in the name of saving a show!
We've had a quite a few Pit Stories covering the suds spilling to detrimental effects, and this week's tale features a full Guinness getting pitched directly into one unruly fan's unsuspecting face.
After we premiered new song "Killer On The Loose" last week, bassist Max Ternebring of The Riven checked in with us to offer up this tale from the pit:
I’ve been to quite a few gigs in my life, and I’ve played some pretty cool ones as well. This thing that happened though was when I was in London at The High Voltage festival, the second edition in Victoria Park. A really good festival that was, but unfortunately they don’t run it anymore. But fear not – it has morphed into Stone Free Festival and as well Ramlin’ Man Fair.
Anyways, I was watching the legendary Judas Priest doing their supposedly "last gig ever," they were gonna stop touring after that one and KK had already called it quits. The show was late in the afternoon/early evening. The sun had been shining all through the day and the beer had obviously been flowing as it does at a hard rock festival!
I was standing with my crew, enjoying Halford's epicness whilst the sun was setting and I was just having the best time! Unfortunately there was this big dude, the biggest I’ve ever seen, arms like logs and he was drunk out of his mind. At first I didn’t notice it, but after a while I saw that this guy got into a fight with a much smaller dude, over what I can only assume had something to do with him being an awful person and trying to ruin everyone else’s experience.
It was at that point that I found myself with a nice full Guinness in my hand, that my girlfriend had just bought and asked me to hold. I obviously had to give it my best shot at throwing it on this dude, given the situation. So of course I threw that Guinness and of course I hit him right in the face.
At that point he looked at me and I thought to myself - he’s definitely gonna kill me. He rushed towards me like a big angry bull and started waving his logs of arms to hit the crap out of me. I ducked and moved like a cobra and fortunately for me, my black belt karate drummer friend managed to do some karate kid moves and knocked this guy out in perfect time for the security to arrive. They managed to get that guy out of there and we were celebrated as the saviours of the gig. After that, the beers did flow and the best part of it – Judas Priest is still touring!
London-based group The Riven will drop debut EP "Blackbird" on April 14th, with five tracks bringing to mind the glory of the '70s. Check out EP track "One Last Time" below. More...
For this week's Pit Story, we're getting into the high octane energy of a pit during a killer live show with a too-small stage where the band and fans get unceremoniously smashed together.
Vocalist Pete Mercer from Medicine Hat, Alberta-based group Nuclear Oath tells the story like this:
I'm not really sure of the date but this was a local show and the first time we played at this pub, it was Olys ale house in Medicine Hat, i think it was our 2nd show, it was put on by a former band mate of mine, things originally didn’t end so well, so there was definitely some tension still in the atmosphere on both ends. We were ready to make an impression and show everybody that we were ready to destroy no matter what previous things had occurred.
So with that being said we was one of the opening acts and we were ready to fuck this place up and show everyone that we are here to drop bombs. The beers were flowing good and the energy was unstoppable. When we played TGTN, I called everybody to move in closer and get crazy with us, this was a small enough stage as is, so both guitars and bass were already playing on the floor, an i was doing my thing on the stage. Then the bomb dropped we all jumped on the floor, except for drummer obviously haha, sorry Brandon stay at your throne. Hair was flying everywhere, cables were getting tangled, but we still stayed on point.
It got so crazy that myself got jabbed with the base headstock, tangled with guitar player Zack (we always get tangled haha) and even the long hair caught on some tuning nobs, but again still keep the energy, kept getting in peoples faces and screaming and pushing them. With them also pushing back an grabbing the mic and screaming also, love that shit, beers spilt with tangled wires, oh an I even got knocked down and sang some of the chorus on the ground and helped back up just to get knocked around again, I love the energy this band gives off.
With that being said we had the most energy of the night and probably most beer spillage of the night, haha.
Nuclear Oath will release new album "Toxic Playground" this coming June 9th to follow debut EP "Ashes of the Unborn." Check out some teaser clips and info on upcoming live appearances at Facebook, and you can hear the "Razor Blade Regrets" single below. More...
Hello again metal world - it's Tuesday and time for another heavy metal Pit Story!
This week's tale arrives courtesy of Canadian trio Absinthe From Society, with a story of on-stage tomfoolery that left the crowd confused and the front man plotting revenge.
Absinthe From Society's drummer Adam "The Caveman" Roberts had this to say:
I can remember one particular gig that I decided to mess around a little bit, have fun and make people laugh. It all started around 7:00 pm when we were loading in the music equipment for a full night of just Absinthe From Society (AFS) on stage at this venue. It was our first all night gig. Prior to this gig I hadn't written any of the songs or played any other instruments besides drums. Wow, was Ian (Saint Absinthe) Harper in for a surprise.
I immediately told the door lady, after being stamped on the back of my hand for the night, that I had written all the songs for AFS and that the band was mine. She laughed and smiled saying that she was interested in seeing us because she had heard good things about the band.
Two days before the gig we found out that we needed to supply ALL of our own sound gear as well as a sound man. Luckily I owned all my own sound gear and just by a hint of luck was able to find a sound man for the night (off to a good start). We setup our gear, did sound check and were all ready to go around 9:30.
Little did we know at the time what was to come. We had two newly strung guitars but we didn't have extra strings. Ian blew a string after the first song (off to a better start). Okay, we got this. Halfway through the first set Lexi Graham and I switched our instruments so
that she was playing drums and I was playing bass guitar. Ian had no idea we where practicing this on the side and had planned on doing this the whole time. Ohhh the freedom! To be in front! I thought, how could I piss off the lead man in a way that he can't get back at me?
The first thing I did as I started the song was to take the bass, and hit the mic stand so then the mic hit Ian on his lips. I laughed and proceeded to scurry into the crowd because I was wireless and I knew Ian wasn't. Lexi saw what had happened the whole time and was laughing her ass off. We finished the remaining sets with one guitar, there was no feedback because the sound man was awesome and at the end of our last set, I had the whole bar convinced that it was my band and got crazy recognition for playing bass guitar on stage. What a ride!
Oh and the first gig we did as a band, the venue cut us one song short at the end of our forty-five minute set because....WE WERE TOO METAL... That's another story...
Comprised of founder Ian "Saint Absinthe" Harper and Adam "The Caveman" Roberts (drums & percussion), along with Lexi "Shitkicker 9000" Graham (bass & vocals), the trio released latest EP "The Angels Ignored Us" last month. Listen in below or pick up your copy at Bandcamp here. More...
Happy Tuesday metal fans! Ready for another bout of Pit Stories?
Most of our tales involve out of control pits, drunk fans, and unexpected violence, but sometimes the pit is less a bloody place and more a gathering for silly fun.
That's the sort of tale we've got this week from Marc Bourgon of Cancelled / Greber / Fuck the Facts, who shares these stories of several memorable gigs:
Years ago, while I was playing in a now defunct band called tugnut, we would regularly play the sleepy industrial border town of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. There must have been something in the water of the St. Clair river that seeped its way into the veins of the average Sarnian underground metal concert-goer because every show was perpetually more crazy than the last. Not in a “wall of death” or “crowd punishing” manner but something far sillier.
Early on in my years with tugnut we befriended a band by the name of Sarnia. We knew this band was a true titan of soul when they let loose the infectiously anthemic song entitled: “Sarnia.” The song's lone lyric was the word "Sarnia" and the pre-chorus included it being spelled one letter at a time in a gang vocal. They were the ones who put Sarnia (the city) on the map for us and soon invited us to come play there.
The first show we did was at the Eagles hall if I remember correctly. It all started like any other show but once in full swing the show was like a miniaturized version of Obscene Extreme. Costumes. Toy weapons. Acrobatics. Not to mention that when any riff slower than 85bpm was played by any band, someone would yell out: “BIIIIIG STEP!!” and everyone would just start taking giant steps to the music. It was off the fucking chart.
Anyhoo, the show that comes to mind for me was Sarnia (the band)’s CD release. Prior to them playing was all the insanity that we had come to love and expect from a show there but it wasn’t until they took the stage (floor) that it got completely out of hand. A contractor grade garbage bag full of Dollarama weaponry was dumped into the middle of the pit, everyone eyed up their choice of arms and poised themselves for battle. Sarnia started and chaos erupted. Everyone was fighting everyone else and whoever was left was moshing. At one point a shopping cart that had been turned into a tank plowed into the pit and started attacking anyone who dare step into it’s path. Their set ended with a 13 musician rendition of Sarnia (the song).
Now I realize this all seems juvenile and silly but it was one of the rare times in life that everyone was on the same page with each other and having a great time at a show. Can’t figure out why this is what came to mind when I read “Pit Stories” but it did. Thanks for reading.
Epilogue: There was a dude who called himself Shmagnet who became a good friend over the years. I recall some generic metalcore band bombing and him forcefully grabbing the mic from the singer and doing some slam-poetry. That uninvited yet crucial move ended up getting the whole crowd chuffed into a frenzy and saving the rest of the band from their already half-over set. By the looks of it the band was into it as well. The singer, not so much. That dude was a fucking hero.
Is it March already? Here we are with our 10th Pit Story of the year kicking off the start of the month!
This week we've got U.S. prog metal band Vangough on board for a tale of touring bands messing with each other on stage.
Clay Withrow recalls the following story of being unceremoniously crowned while still performing during the set:
While we were on our North American tour in support of Pain of Salvation in 2014, there was one particularly unique occurrence that I’m sure very few bands or even fans have experienced. Our very last show on the tour was booked in a performance arts theater, which was kind of different but also very cool. The stage was extremely deep to account for set changes and such, so it was by far the biggest stage we had played so far.
Anyways, as we’re tearing into the final chorus of our song “Separation,” I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder and something being placed on my head. The guys from Pain of Salvation were trying to seat me in a king’s throne, while also placing a crown on my head. What made the whole exercise even more difficult was the fact that my explorer-style guitar just wasn’t playing nice with the chair they were trying to squeeze me into, so I’m sure witnessing this event was pretty awkward but also hilarious.
So thank you Daniel Gildenlow and Gustaf Hielm for a very memorable end to our already memorable tour! I’m so glad that wasn’t the night we had to record for our Kickstarter live CD. Though I did get them back when I dressed up in a pink rabbit suit and hopped out on stage during one of their songs.
Vangough's upcoming new album "Warpaint" is due out this coming March 17th, 2017 (read our full review here). Check out advance song "Morphine" in the player below.
Spending over a year in production, this album represents the delicate inculcation of restraint, self-doubt and introspection that was afforded as a result of recent touring efforts. More...
This week we're coming back solidly to the pit itself for a tale of having a few too many and not realizing you'd just met an admired musician - and then taking a headbutt to the gut.
Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Shelby Tanaka, lead vocalist for the Vancouver-based band This Gun for Hire, who recalls the tale like this:
Now I don't remember most of the minor details to the story, because I was severely white girl wasted, but here it goes. The show, Texas In July. The venue, El Corazon in Seattle WA. I was there hours earlier before lines had even formed outside so I could grab a few drinks at the bar next door to get super toasty for the show.
In the bar I met a married couple there for one of the local bands playing. We bought each other drinks and talked music for a bit. A little later, Alex Good walks in and orders a beer next to us. Now, at the time, I didn't really know what Texas's lead singer looked like, so already slightly tipsy I said something to him that brought him into the conversation. 2 double whiskeys and 5 buds later, the first band was starting up so we all said "nice to meet you, goodbye."
Later in the night it was finally TIJ's time to play. I had been in the pit throwing down for every band and was well passed a sober state of mind. Lights go down, sound turns up, and who else do I see on stage other than Alex Good exhaling viciously with a low growl. I go nuts, pulling everyone's shoulder around me yelling "I had beers with him!" Their first song drops and the pit spins out of control. I work my way to the middle, only to suddenly get head-butted in the stomach by the wife of the couple I met in the bar. She looks up, sees me, grabs me on each side of the head and screams in my face "METAL!" That's one of my favorite pit memories. Be sure to check out our new album that comes out on March 31st 2017 everywhere.
This Gun For Hire's impending album "Something A Little More Sinister" is only a month away - check out two tracks from the release below. More...
There's a million and one Pit Stories in the metal world and we're on a quest to catalog them all!
After we premiered new track "Genesis 11:1-9" last month, Belgian symphonic black metal crew Saille checked in with us again for a tale of a show almost gone terribly wrong.
If all the equipment and crew manage to arrive in one piece, nobody has burned the place down, and drunk fans don't climb on stage and wreck everything, there's still always mother nature to contend with, as Saille discovered while playing the Summer Breeze fest. Guitarist Reinier Schenk recalls the story like this:
We arrived at the Summer Breeze festival in Dinkelsbühl (Germany) with plenty of time before our gig. We were lucky and got 1 hour for setting up our gear. About 15 minutes before we could get started all hell broke loose. It was already dark at that time, so we didn't see anything happening, but it got extremely windy and it started to rain.
The stage manager came to us running, with panic in his face. He was yelling to us: "Leave all your stuff here and get into that bus NOW!!!" We were looking at each other, wondering wtf is his problem? Everybody in the backstage was acting weird, running, shouting to each other, like a scene from a movie. Then others started to shout the same, so we all went into a bus and the driver started the engine and drove away as fast as possible and took us somewhere else.
Still not knowing what was happening he told us they would have to cancel our show, because a huge storm was heading to the festival site and it was too dangerous to play. We were all disappointed of course, but all of a sudden the driver got a phone call telling him the storm would not hit the festival. He drove us back to the stage (which was very wet from the heavy rain) and there we were... we had 15 minutes before showtime and we had to hurry as hell. No mercy!
Saille will release new concept album "Gnosis" this coming March 17th, 2017 via Code666 Records. Check out a track from the release below. More...
Happy Valentine's Day metal heads! Our Pit Story this week may not have much to do with love, but it does feature dirty mattresses where very unpleasant things no doubt went down, so that's close enough, right?
Many of our tales from the pit are all about what's going on during the show, but as any touring musician will attest, there's a lot going of craziness on behind the scenes, especially with bands trying to find a place to hang their hats for the evening before hitting the next town.
This week we've got a tale from the Thera Roya crew about some less-than-pleasant accommodations in Nashville:
I'll never forget when we played in Nashville, TN on our first tour. We thought it would be warm in the winter in New Orleans so we headed south (we're idiots lol). We ended up in a blizzard in Nashville and payed this stellar show at a place called the owl farm. Unfortunately it's not around anymore. This was nearing the mid to end of the tour and all of us were fried at this point mentally. I think Ryan was even catatonic at one point hahaha.
We needed a place to crash that was warm and this guy from one of the other bands had a punk house called the Himan house. We all crammed into this disgusting room with puke stains on the rug and dirty mattresses everywhere. Some of us ran out to get some fried chicken. When we got back and feasted on gas station chicken we noticed these pictures and notes on a wall together and a name that said "Gloria."
One of the members of the house was a repo guy and when he was emptying a house he found a trunk full of pictures and diaries from this girl Gloria who had passed away and he decided to make a shrine at the Himan house. I'll never forget sleeping in Nashville with Gloria's shrine in front of me.
It's Pit Story day once again metal fans!
Today we've got a completely bonkers, off-the-wall story where every element of a show - from arrival and loadout all the way to what happened after getting home the next day - were so insane as to be a surreal, dreamlike experience.
This week's tale comes courtesy of guitarist Jordan Smith of Indianapolis, Indiana-based band Drude. Want more info on Drude? Head over to the band's Facebook profile here. Jordan tells the crazy pit story like this:
When I was asked to share a crazy pit story, narrowing it down became quite the challenge. Which really classifies as the craziest thing I've ever seen? Nude crowd surfing? Shooting up in the audience? Dude with a billiard ball in a bandanna blindly swinging it around at head level? Seeing as nude crowd surfing is awesome and junkies and reckless assholes will be served no honorable mention from me, I am going to with the Cleveland story. More of a crazy show story. Names and locations have been omitted intentionally.
The band I was in at the time pulled up to the building around 5 o'clock and we were met with all the hospitality you'd expect as a touring band. We were shown the place and got unloading. After getting our van stuck in the mud, we managed to make it inside and got setting up.
The time came for us to play and we noticed that people started bringing random trash into the building. I didn't wonder about it much, but by the next time I looked up, there was a dude 6 feet in the air crashing down on it. One by one, people were launching off of one another trying to absolutely obliterate this door. Once that had been destroyed, they brought in a wooden bench and starting completely fucking that thing up. Scraps of wood were flying all throughout the room. Mind you, we had fog machines and lights going, so this scene was just a completely intense sensory experience. Next were a few plastic lawn chairs falling victim to cinder blocks being thrown at them and exploding everywhere. Then I smelled burning. Somebody had lit a trash can on fire in the building.
I couldn't believe what was happening. It was amazing. After the havoc, we cleared the stage and began loading into the van. As soon as we got our gear out into the yard the skies broke into a torrential downpour, completely soaking all of our gear. After dealing with that the best we could, we went back in. As it turned out, the last band had left and decided that they weren't going to play. During our set there was a guy sitting on the couch in the back and our bass player had teasingly said something to the effect of "Come on get up, this isn't a coffee shop" and that so greatly offended the guy that he and his whole band left.
About an hour later a lady, who we had assumed was homeless judging by her clothing and demeanor, came in and started grabbing the mic from the final band and rapping into it. Saying all kinds of shit barely discernible through her badly slurred speech. After 10 or 15 minutes it had reached that "Ok, we get it" phase. Curiously, I asked one of the guys if this was a normal thing and why they didn't ask her to leave since she was clearly disrupting the show. The guy told me that there were some serious no bullshit crack dealers living across the street and that was their sister. The last time they kicked her out for coming in there and being a drunken mess, they were met with very convincing threats from their neighbors. So they just sort of had to let her do her thing and play along no matter how annoying or obnoxious she was being. She was harmless and sort of endearing.
Later that night, we were put up and fed by the promoter and the evening had seemed like a passing dream. The next day, we looked at the Facebook event page and it was blown up by some Neo-Nazi dudes just hammering away at how awful we were and making some really shitty comments about homosexuals and people with disabilities. It feels necessary to mention that he was in no way affiliated with the venue or promoters and they tried their best to have our backs. The whole thing was a complete Bizarro World mindfuck. I lost my favorite Sleep hoodie, but I gained a ridiculous story that I've probably told a hundred times since.
Three-piece metal outfit Drude (formerly known as Burn The Army) will release a new self-titled EP on March 3rd, 2017. Check out the title track below. More...
After that crazy tale of a chainsaw clear out last week we're back again for more heavy metal pit mayhem!
A familiar theme arises this week in the form of a cautionary tale. We've heard plenty of times in the past about you should always respect the stage and do your best not to piss off the band, but it's not a lesson that always seems to sink in for all metal fans.
This week vocalist / keyboardist Joseph Michael of Witherfall shares a tale of a New York state show where a crowd had to go all mob justice on one unruly asshole who wanted to ruin it for everybody.
Joseph recalls the events like this:
I was at a show in upstate NY a while back at a place called Albies. The place was known for being a cool place to catch local and touring metal bands. A band called the Blob Mob was on stage tearing up some classic metal and the pit was happening on the floor. All of a sudden a drunk psycho steps up on stage and smacks the “Blob” in the head with a beer bottle, sending shards of broken glass, blood and shitty beer all over the stage...
The “Blob” was a well known and loved local singer who also happened to be at least 350 pounds and was not happy. Members of the audience grabbed the unlucky assailant and carried him outside and beat the living shit out of him until the police arrived. I made my way out the back door and hid until the cops left, as I was not of legal age. After all the chaos died down and the blood and beer was mopped up the band went back on stage and killed it. Great night.
California group Witherfall is set to release new album "Nocturnes And Requiems" on February 10th, which is dedicated to the life of Adam Sagan who passed on December 7th, 2016 during the final stages of production. Check out a track below, and you can follow the latest on Witherfall via Facebook here. More...
We've got an epic Pit Story for you tonight metal fanatics!
Forget the feel-good nature of last week's story about gaining a devoted new fan, this week we're back to pure fist-in-the-face mayhem of a proper pit.
Today's story comes courtesy of Davin Jones from Pissed On, who recounts a tale of one wonderfully drunk fan bringing a rather dangerous object into the pit. Davin tells the story like this:
It was Halloween Eve and it was Pissed On's third time playing Cincinnati, our first time playing Rake's End. To set the atmosphere, let me tell you that it was essentially a costume party and just about everyone there was bloody and horrific. The crowd was comprised of your usual grind freaks, crust punks, and a handful of hardcore kids but one attendee stood out.
His name was Steve and he was dressed in a long brown trench coat and wore a mask a la The Purge. In one hand he held a half-drank beer and the other a chainsaw with the blade still on. We first met Steve when he came over and drunkenly gave us a Four Horseman speech in Spanish. Needless to say we knew he was going to be a good time.
As we set up to play our set, the crowd slowly came closer. Rake's End is a smaller venue so people packed in tight and when a pit arises it conjures up in the very front next to the band. Steve made his way to the front, chainsaw in tact, even more drunk than before. Our set begins and bodies are flying side to side, and Steve is being tossed around like a joint. I see one kid get his septum ring ripped out of his nose, blood everywhere. At one point I turn away from the crowd and feel a fist meet my neck. Mic stands are being knocked off and chaos is ensuing.
Somewhere amongst the cluster fuck of a pit going on, Steve decides to put his chainsaw in the air and subsequently start it. With the chain on. In a crowd of people. He was soon kicked out, but he found his way back in and even bought us beer (which he tried to give to us while we were playing). We never got to thank Steve because after the third time being thrown out he started chasing a car down the street with his chainsaw. I don't know where you are right now you crazy fuck, but thank you for one of the best Halloween's of my life.
Damn... in all the crazy pit shenanigans, I don't think we've ever experienced a live chainsawing before! If anybody has footage of that night, please let us know so we can share it!
"The Hanged Man" by Kentucky grinders Pissed On is due out this coming March 17th, 2017 via Advocate Records - check out an advance track below.
Oh, and a brief plea from your friendly neighborhood metal zine worker: for the love of god, please don't name your band anything like Pissed On. You see I have to search for that phrase to find your music, and do you know what kind of things get seen between typing those words and finding a page actually associated with your band? Fuck my eyes... More...
Ready for another dive straight into the pit? Every Tuesday we check in with bands and fans from around the globe to get their most memorable stories from live shows!
Recently our Pit Stories have been all about bad fan behavior, from an overly aggressive mosher getting booted from the venue by the Melvins to an especially eager fan crawling on stage and interfering with a Empyrean Throne show.
We're shifting gears this week to a much more positive interaction: drawing in metal heads who have never heard your band before and become a fan based off a strong live performance.
Raj Krishna from prog group OmnisighT shared the tale below of gaining a new fan during a Vancouver set. Footage of the person in question is available after the jump, where you can literally watch him work his way through the crowd towards the stage as he gets more and more into the music.
One of our best sets was at the Rickshaw in Vancouver, BC during Wacken Metal Battle Canada finals. We're pretty intense live, we can bring in cold fans that have never heard or seen us before. We knew we had a good set that night, and some cool videos of it.
One night we were hanging out and watching some Omni on you tube when we saw a vid of "Plasticine," the last song that night, which went over really well. The video is pretty shitty quality. The point is, this guys never heard of us and just decides to record us on his tablet.
The vid is shaking, the musics too loud, but it captures the energy! You can see throughout the song, he gets closer and closer to the stage until he's right in the pit. He's chanting OmnisighT by the end of the song! I'm pretty sure we got a brand new Omni fan that night!
Omnisight's upcoming EP "Power of One" is slated to arrive on January 20th, which follows 2016 live album "Live At The Theatre." Check out the title track and pre-order your copy over at Bandcamp here. More...
Following on from last week's tale of a fan being chastised by the performing band, today's entry in the ever-growing Pit Story catalog also features a band laying down the law on an unruly participant.
Today's story comes courtesy of Empyrean Throne vocalist Andrew Knudsen, and concerns respecting the band's space. Stage crawling/diving is all well and good - so long as the band is on board!
Andrew recalls the story of opening for Nile:
Our shows tend to get crazy and violent. People get wrecked in the pit area, glass gets broken if you’re not looking after your drink. Our fans are a wild bunch. We encourage rabid crowd participation. However, we take our performance very seriously. It is a ritual. There is a spiritual intent with our shows, and when we are on stage, it is treated as sacred ground.
We bring a lot of stage paraphernalia to each show. We have an altar with actual animal bones, war banners, tons of candles, a ritual dagger, blood, and tons of other trinkets aside from our gear. Because of this allotment we don’t invite fans on stage. Outside of performing, we spend a lot of our personal free time and money on constructing—as well as maintaining—these items. So when we perform we also demand that the audience respect the stage, its contents, and performers.
Last February, when we opened for Nile at the Grove of Anaheim, some young and quite hammered kid kept trying to force his way on stage and pull at various members’ boots and legs during our set. This guy was raging, he was the finest specimen of filth that evening. Totally cool until he climbed up on stage. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish, he wasn’t there to stage dive or crowd surf, he was just there flailing around like a lunatic.
From what I recall, he tried to grab my incense censor and part of our altar before, literally grinding up on the leg of one of our members. At that point I grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the audience, who did not make an effort to catch him. They cheered instead. After the show the young lad came up to our merch booth and apologized for his tomfoolery, and proceeded to buy one of every item from our store. We thanked him for coming out and supporting us. It’s something we still laugh about today. I guess the moral here is this, support the band and get into the music, but also respect the stage and the performers on it because we will protect ourselves and our property at all costs.
Empyrean Throne's new album "Chaosborne" will be self-released this coming January 24th, 2017. Telling the story of a hapless Templar knight in medieval Europe and his subsequent decent into the realm of Chaos, the album offers eleven solemn hymns to unbecoming. More...
Happy Tuesday metal heads! It's officially our first Pit Story of the new year!
We're kicking the 2017 edition of the column off with a tale of an overly-rowdy fan who managed to get himself ejected... by the band itself!
Charlie Dowzell from U.K. doom group Sail shared this tale about an unfortunate fan being called out mid-show by none other than the Melvins:
A couple of years ago we went to see the Melvins in the Exchange, Bristol. Fantastic venue and very small indeed - 200 folks tops, I think. The place went absolutely mental when they came on and the vibe stayed at an all-time high - they were loud as all hell and played banger after banger.
Near the end of their set they played 'The Bit' and the already pumped-up crowd somehow became even wilder, which was ace. This is where things fall apart a little. Somebody was clearly 'in the zone' as it were, and King Buzzo must have thought it too much - admittedly I think the guy was beginning to knock people down and maybe actually hurt them, I'm not overly sure.
Next thing I know, the band have stopped mid-song and this guy gets a royal bollocking from King Buzzo, who told him to 'chill out, fucker!' to a rapturous applause. Tail between his legs, this guy yells out 'I'm sorry!' to which Buzz tells him he doesn't care that he's sorry, and wants him gone.
Think they ejected him from the venue, and on went one of the most intense and fantastic shows of my life. That will always stay with me as something so powerfully surreal and very funny. 'Chill out, fucker!' indeed.
Sail's new album "Slumbersong" is being prepped for a March 10th, 2017 release via Hibernacula Records. Check out a track off the release below. More...
Rock and metal shows are known for their interesting characters, but its not just the die hard fans or musicians themselves who show up in interesting attire... sometimes its the journalists like us who cover the shows!
For this week's Pit Story we've got our own Amy Dyer sharing how she likes to hit up music festivals and live shows and make an impression wearing something just a bit out of the ordinary:
When I photograph gigs, I take a bag of marshmallows with me and throw them into the crowd during the wait between acts. I have now earned a reputation as Marshmallow Girl. I once went to a gig as a punter and someone recognized me as marshmallow girl and bought me a pint XD. More funny than interesting but it's still makes me laugh.
I've gained a similar reputation at festivals when I spend the entire weekend in a Lion onesie. Andy Copping (owner of Download) has no idea what my name is but does know I'm the photographer in a lion onesie XD.
Amy was kind enough to share a few photos of this lion outfit below... including one where she's meeting a very bemused Marilyn Manson!
What's the strangest thing you've seen someone wear to a festival, and what's your preferred show-going attire? Let us know in the comments section below!
Tuesday's Pit Story time has come around again!
Gather round for a new tale from the pit, this time from vocalist Chase Thibodeau of Vancouver thrash metal band Terrifier.
Chase recalls a particularly drunk 'n rowdy Canadian pit at the Cobalt, telling the story like this:
I remember the first time we came to Vancouver to play at this old classic dingy bar called the Cobalt. It was the main local venue for many years. It was located in a rough part of town so it was a good venue for metal. There we're fights breaking out in the pit constantly. When we first got up to play we had a few bottles and glasses fly on stage but we remained focused on delivering the goods.
I remember getting soaked in vodka and thinking man this crowd is wild. I looked down and saw this chick up front get hit so hard her glass flew out of her hand. The whole time I thought they we're throwing bottles at us until I realized they we're givener that hard lol I'll never forget that.
Terrifier recently signed to Test Your Metal Records and will be releasing second album "Weapons of Thrash Destruction" on January 20th, 2017. The nine-track mosher follows 2013 EP "Metal or Death" and 2012 full-length release "Destroyers of the Faith." More...
Ready for a new Pit Story metal fans? This week's come courtesy of Canadian group Malacoda, and moves away from the pit and onto the road where bands spend countless hours travelling to bring you the craziest shows in the music industry!
Tour van break-ins are a fact of life for metal bands, and there's usually not a month gone by that we don't post about some crowd funding campaign to recover lost items after the latest robbery.
Some bands have taken up preventative security measures to prevent such activity - but they don't always work out as planned. Brad Casarin, guitarist of Malacoda, recalls his road story like this:
We were in Vancouver playing a show and the venue was on Hastings. Anybody that's been to Vancouver knows this is one of the worst areas in North America for drugs and drug users. After the gig half of us got to sleep in a hotel room while two of us volunteered to sleep in the van in front of the venue.
Around three in the morning we are woken up by a hand reaching into the van - older vans used to have these push out windows that you could just squeeze your hand through. The hand was trying to unlatch the pull up lock! Luckily I remembered I had packed a cO2 cartridge BB hand gun. So I reached for it as the hand was feeling around for the lock and I unloaded it 10 - 12 times about three inches away into his hand.
The perpetrator screamed in agony trying to get out of the tight fit he had maneuvered his hand into, all the while screaming "Please, oh God, please stop!" from outside the van. It was then that I recognized the voice as our drummer who had come back to the van to grab something. His swollen BB filled hand eventually healed up in a week and he could drum again at full capacity!
Malacoda's six track EP "Ritualis Aeterna" was released last week (December 2nd, 2016) and can be streamed in full below. More...