Archive: Pit Stories Columns
Oh guys, we've got a doozy of a Pit Story for you today!
This one's got it all: unwanted fecal matter, a dude too drunk to realize he shouldn't be naked, and an, er... "half mast" salute to Behemoth at Bloodstock Open Air.
Whether for good or ill, there's also video of the whole debacle below, if you've got the courage to give it a view.
This week's tale comes courtesy of Barnes, the guitarist / saxophone player from Welsh death metal band Intensive Square, who had this to say about witnessing something that can never be un-seen:
Undoubtedly the craziest thing I have seen inside or outside of a venue, would have to be during Behemoth's headline set on Saturday 11th August 2012, at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in Derbyshire. I'll set the scene: there was a huge boisterous rabble of our friends that went to the festival together and we spent the majority of that day drinking at our campsite. As the night drew in, we made our way into the festival area to catch Behemoth's set. In the mania of his inebriation, our good friend (who, for the purposes of this tale, we'll call Tony) repeatedly proclaimed that right at that moment Behemoth were "the greatest living metal band." When we reached the main stage, the band were already in full swing amidst a stage laden with Satanic artifacts and spewing pyrotechnics into the night sky.
Once we had weaved through the crowd and got as close to the stage as we were going to, the band began to play "Chant For Eschaton 2000." Tony went ballistic: "Fuck, boys! This is fucking insane! Behemoth is my favourite fucking band, boys!" and then he started to undress. Pissed beyond reason, mesmerized, and now completely naked, Tony bent over to pick up his red cap and simultaneously evacuated an unintentional morsel of shit from his bowel at the centre of a slowly widening circle of strangers; the festering eye of an uncomfortable storm.
"Boys, you've got to get me up there" he implored. Once our friends Andrew and Jamie had volunteered to raise him on their shoulders, Tony glanced down at his disappointing penis and realised that his general had been demoted to the rank of cadet and that he was not fit for the parade. He scoured the immediate crowd in search of a handjob, seeking to "make it a bit bigger," but upon realising that no help was at hand, he set about the task himself.
As Chant for Eschaton 2000 reached its climax, Tony was treacherously hoisted upwards until he was standing erect above the crowd, still pumping his fist in a futile bid to cajole his limp penis into following suit. He soon realised that this was a thankless task and gave up. Steadying himself with one hand, he slowly raised the other and formed an exultant horn as he shared the perplexed gazes of guitarists Seth and Nergal.
I know you might reconcile this as a fantastical myth, too implausible to have really happened, but luckily you don't have to take my word for it. Just check out the video below and skip to 49:20 where you can see the evidence for yourself as broadcast live on the official Bloodstock coverage of the festival.
Intensive Square's debut album "Anything That Moves" is out now on Black Bow Records on vinyl. For more info on the band, head over to Facebook here.
Every week we check in with metal bands from across the globe to get their most memorable stories from live performances.
Back in November, Swedish group Horisont gave us a great story about the wrong guy getting punched at a show, and this week the band returns to share a very different tale.
Today Horisont drummer Pontus Jordan relays this recollection about the trials and tribulations of being on the road getting to the next gig:
We did a tour back in 2012 with our mates Graveyard and on this tour we decided to keep a low budget and therefor got a camper to travel around in. This might sound like a cosy option but Europe during wintertime is a bit too cold we found out. After a show in Brussels we had come to the conclusion that we had to drive a couple of hours during the night to make in time to the gig the day after. Magnus our bass player got the honour to be the driver.
Packing out the rest of us got a bit drunk and one of us accidentally put one of the merch boxes in a pile of dog shit! Then another took that box and placed it on Magnus bed. That smell haha!! So not only was he driving for 4-5 hours in the middle of the night, he was looking forward to going to sleep in a cold bed with shit stains on it! I`ve known Magnus for many years and I have never seen his face so tired and his eyes so lifeless! I was really trying to be helpful and good mate but it`s hard not laugh.
Big of moustache and tight of trouser, Horisont's latest album "Odyssey" came out back in September. See the band performing the title track live in Vienna below. More...
We've all got that one venue or record shop we fondly recall from back in a time when people bought music and mallcore wasn't a thing.
For this week's Pit Story, vocalist Dan Cleary of Striker not only reminisces fondly about one such mythical place, but also shares a tale of the amazing healing power of beer below. Photo courtesy of Dana Zuk.
A long time ago here in Edmonton we had this awesome venue/record store/screen printing place. We played some of our first shows ever there in the back of the Quonset Hut that was “Octopus Ink.” We used to go there and buy bullet belts (before they were being sold at the mall for posers) and rare vinyl like the $140 “Projects In The Jungle” by Pantera hanging up on the wall that none of us ever wanted to cough up the money for.
One night in particular things were getting a little rowdier than normal. We were about half way through our set and the pit in this tiny back room was getting intense. As usual everyone was good and drunk, there was always a lot of tailgating outside the place because it wasn't exactly... lets say... a "secure" venue. So the song kicks in, a fast one (can't remember which) and I watch in amazement as this short haired borderline black out drunk kid gets literally knocked the fuck out by some big league moshing.
Looking back at it maybe we should have stopped the song and made sure he was OK, but luckily for us there was a doctor in the room. A doctor who proceeded to lift this poor kid up, his eyes half shut clearly concussed, and pour beer down his throat. We thought for sure we were witnessing the final moments of a thrash youth, but to our surprise he sprung back to life and continued to mosh, albeit a little slower than before.
That's the first and only time I've seen someone get straight up knocked unconscious in a pit, and it turns out like everything else, beer is the answer.
Our quest for the best pit stories from metal shows marches on! In recent weeks we've heard about the glory of seeing your favorite band live for the first time, gotten a look at the bizarre things fans do at shows, and even got a story about mistaken identity resulting in the wrong guy getting punched.
This week we've got Illinois-based prog outfit Dissona discussing some unexpected brutality at Blind Guardian shows. The band had this to say:
Craig and David have been to multiple Blind Guardian shows together. Now, Blind Guardian is not exactly the band you would think of when you think of the glorious violence of the pit, but for each show Craig and David were positioned up against the front rail, getting pressed and smashed by the pit behind them. They had crowd surfers soar over their heads; sometimes directly into their heads.
Probably the closest we had come to broken ribs and concussions, but it was always well worth the pain. Occasionally, we would turn around and each time we would notice that nearly every person moshing was also simultaneously singing the words, chants, and guitar melodies perfectly. Quite a feeling of unity. Call us nerds for having the best pit be at a power metal show, but it’s the truth. We go to extreme metal shows, too, (gotta save our credibility somehow, right?) but in those cases we are more interested in the music than the pit.
The Chicago-based progressive metal band's third full-length album "Paleopneumatic" will be released January 15th, 2016 and two tracks from that impending album can be heard below. For more info on the band, head over to the Dissona Facebook profile here. More...
Ready for some more Pit Stories chronicling the ups and downs of life in a metal band? Today we have a tale from Norwegian hard rock band The Carburetors (featuring former Chrome Division member Eddie Guz) about the expectation of playing a huge venue only to realize as you arrive it's a single room bar with no space for your equipment!
On the first Carburetors tour out of Norway back in 2001, we tour Spain and we did two shows in Madrid. The first night we played a small club called the honky-tonk. As we arrived on the club the first thing that hit us was that the drum kit was a junior edition (in other words very small). The guitar amps I think was called Smervod and god knows where they where from…
Anyway the gig went well pretty cool crowded. The next day we where going to play the Rock Palace in Madrid. I remember picturing it as this great big venue…. when we arrived it struck me that the club was a tiny bar but I still had my hope up so I asked the promoter "alright cool is the stage in the next room?" He answer me harsh "NO THERE IS ONLY ONE ROOM…"
Ok, I still had my spirit up and asked are we gonna put up a stage along side the wall? His answer was short: "NO YOU STAND ON THE FLOOR IN THE CORNER BOTH GLUECIFER AND TURBONEGRO HAVE DONE THE SAME." He he. We did the show but Kai Kidd set the roof on fire when fire-breathing during the show, Chris broke two sets of drums and Eddie blew out both of his monitors but it was a cool gig.
For those readers who are in a band, let us know your best story of arriving at a venue and discovering things weren't quite as you expected in the comments below!
The Carburetors' new album "Laughing In The Face Of Death" is out now via SPV/Steamhammer. Check out a video below taken off the album and featuring Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir. More...
Update: Our apologies to Gomorrah, half this story was accidentally cut when this first went live!
Ready for another bout of Pit Stories metal fans? This week we've got a tale from Bowen Matheson of Canadian group Gomorrah, who shares an experience about the bizarre behavior sometimes exhibited by fans:
We played two local all-ages hardcore shows in Kelowna, BC in close succession in the fall of 2013, one before and after the release of "Perception." The first was with the bands Contention and Slumlord, and there was a kid in the pit who went up to Phil from Slumlord during their set and yelled into the strings of his guitar. He looked at this kid with the most fucked expression of disdain and confusion I’ve ever seen.
At the next show we were playing in support of Fall City Fall, and during our set same kid came up to me and tried to do the same thing. He ran in super fast, but this time actually made contact with the strings of my guitar, muting what I was playing. Kid basically went to first base with my guitar, and fucked up what I was playing. I wasn’t happy about this, so I grabbed the kid by his face and threw him away from me and my now tainted guitar. A buddy of mine saw the whole thing happen, and said that after I threw him, he looked back at me like I was the dick in the situation, and I just huffed my cheeks at him like an angry horse.
Several months go by, and we are playing another all ages hardcore show in Kelowna. A kid comes up to me, introduces himself, and explains to me that he was the kid in mention. He tried to tell me that it was “kind of his thing at shows” and nobody had ever gotten mad at him for doing that before. I recognized that this guy was basically telling me that I was the dick in the conversation, and he was trying to justify it again. It took me a great deal of self control to not explode on him, and instead I explained how getting in somebodies personal space and doing shit like that when they are performing is not okay. He seemed to have to consciously think about what I was telling him for it to make rational sense. I don’t know if he thought he was doing some flattering thing by doing that, but it is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen happen, then have happen to me at a show by the same mislead teenager.
We've hit another Tuesday and that means its time for some Pit Stories. This week there's no smashed equipment, no climbing up stage lighting, and no couples going to town on each other in front of the stage.
Nope, we're leaving all that nonsense behind to focus on that feeling you get when you see a band you adore live for the very first time. This week Matt Copeland from Canadian band Adrenechrome shared this story from the Decibel Magazine 2015 tour:
About six months ago in April 2015 a couple friends a myself went to witness the Decibel Magazine Tour 2015 featuring Vallenfyre, Pallbearer, Converge and legendary Swedish metal masters At the Gates. We were of course stoked, as we had never seen any of these bands live previously.
After a few beers we were ready for the music to start. It was exactly what we had expected Vallenfyre melted our faces with their blend of blackened/grind. Pallbearer unfortunately missing their bass player on this leg of the tour still reigned supreme that night providing their own twist of doom metal. Converge being the band we were wanting to see the most that evening did not disappoint and left us in awe. Last but not least the legends of Swedish metal themselves At the Gates absolutely slayed and proved to us they were still the headlining act they had always been.
After giving you an idea on how the actual show itself was, there is one part of the evening that really stuck in our heads and I believe always will. After many more cold beverages we made our way up to the Pallbearer merch table. All the lads were there so after buying a few things we began to basically shoot the shit with them about the show, their music and the tour thus far. I think the fact that we had recently discovered this band for ourselves and being that we were (still are...) very infatuated with them made this meeting super rad and unforgettable. They were very interested on what we had to say about the set, their music and just about us in general.
That was probably the first time I had ever met an entire band that were the definition of ‘regular dudes’ in the sense of us being able to chat and somewhat ‘fanboy’ to them without them getting annoyed or feeling awkward.
In the end, it was very cool to meet a band that we admire so much and have the chance to just shoot the shit and hang with them for a good hour or so as though hanging with our everyday pals. Made me appreciate them as people and appreciate their band even more. Great dudes, great band and a great show all around.
If you catch Adrenechrome live, be sure to let 'em know you read this and chat them up after the show! The band's new album "Tales From Adrenechrome" launched last month and can be heard in its entirety below. You can also follow the latest on Adrenechrome by heading over to Facebook here. More...
After Toothgrinder shared a story of accidentally tearing down the stage lighting last week, today The Glorious Rebellion offers up another Pit Story of on-stage destruction, this time self-inflicted and getting a little out of control. Vocalist Billy Myers comments:
We're slowly gaining a little bit of a reputation as "that band that breaks shit onstage." Our music is loud and violent, which translates to chaos at the end of our set usually resulting in guitars being thrown into drum kits, amps being toppled over, etc. It's just something we've always done. We totally shouldn't, as we're poor and doing dumb things like this can get expensive in repairs and replacements, but c'est la vie.
On a tour stop in Johnson City, TN we played a normal set for us, and at the end of the show, as usual, things got nuts. That part would've been fine except I forgot that the stage had been backlined and the next band's gear was behind ours. I drop kicked one of my 4x12 cabs which sent it toppling backwards, into one of the local band's half stacks. The head that was on top went flying about 10 feet landing offstage, along with the cab which went about 5 feet back. Luckily, nothing of theirs was broken, however my cab landed on top of one of the floodlights we use as part of our stage set up. We realized this when we started smelling burning, and saw this when we started seeing smoke and then fire.
Stay in school, kids.
The Glorious Rebellion is set to release new album "Euphoric" via Magnetic Eye Records on April 8th, 2016 and we'll soon be premiering a new track from the album - stay tuned for that exclusive stream! More...
Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week Toothgrinder drummer Will Weller shares a tale of something that just never goes as planned: climbing up the stage lighting. Weller had this to say:
OK so this takes place at a Toothgrinder show. We were playing in Brooklyn, NY that night and I won't even mention the venue. If you have seen us live then you know our shows get a little crazy on stage. So that night we were in a tighter space packed in like sardines. We made it to the last song and as any band would you absolutely give it your all at that point.
So we're headed full speed into the last minute of the last song and I see our singer climbing up onto one of the guitar cabinets. This is typical so I think nothing of it and continue on drumming. Well as I looked away he reached for the lights to pull himself up and you can guess what happened next. The whole light rig ripped out of the wall and came crashing down ripping out the cables that were plugged into the amps and smashing the snake on the stage.
No sound on the entire left side of stage or lights for that matter. So our guitar player without skipping a beat ripped his guitar off and just started singing with him. Needless to say after we finished the song the entire show stopped, lights came on, and everyone was asked to leave (2 bands were scheduled to play after us). We weren't looking to break anything it was just a freak thing that happened and we helped pay for it to be fixed of course. Now looking back on it it must have been kind of crazy to be in the crowd to see that unfold.
Toothgrinder's new album “Nocturnal Masquerade” will be released January 29, 2016 on Spinefarm Records. More...
We've got another Pit Story for you metal heads, this time from the glory of European summer festival season! Drummer Pontus Jordan from classic hard rocking outfit Horisont shares a tale this week of that one guy every big show seems to have: the one who is too drunk and has to get in everyone's way.
This time around things a got little out of hand when a case of mistaken identity led to the wrong person getting punched. Pontus had this to say:
This summer we've been playing some festivals around Europe and during one of these festival gigs there was a really stupid guy who was being a jerk against the rest of the crowd and us in the band. He kept screaming insulting stuff and throwing beer at everyone in his way. Halfway through the set Axel (our singer) got fed up and gave the guy a push and told him to leave if he couldn’t behave. This didn’t sit well at all with this guy but after a while he left and we continued to play.
After the show we exited the stage through a side door, leading us out to the festival site. Who do think was standing there all ready to fight? The problem was that he was so drunk that he got Tom and Axel mixed up. So instead of “getting back” at Axel he gave poor Tom real good punch square in the face!
A bit of a ruckus exploded until out of nowhere this small and deadly fast guy jumped in out of nowhere. He gave the “I can’t behave at concerts when I drink guy” a hook Mike Tyson style. You could literary hear his nose break. Needless to say the fight was over and we had a fan that could pack a punch and did not tolerate idiot behaviour like that guy was showing. Tom got away with a sore face and all and all it was a good gig.
Horisont is currently out on the road with Kadavar, The Shrine, and Satan's Satyrs, with full details available at the band's Facebook profile here. New album "Odyssey" just dropped back in September and a video clip off that release is available below. More...
The pit is where metal thrives, and there's a million and one stories to be found there, from fans who've had too many and decide to throw down to bands hitting the road for the first time and experiencing the trials and tribulations of touring.
For this week's Pit Story, guitarist Richard Powley from instrumental metal band Telepathy shared a story of performing live in Poland for the first time... inside a freight container. Powley had this to say:
Our pit story comes from one of many interesting shows during Telepathy's first European tour back in 2012. Having had our debut EP “Fracture” receive glowing reviews from across the continent, we were offered a couple of support shows by our friends in Djevera in eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I quickly arranged three additional concerts in Poland, with the first of these being in Gdynia.
As is sometimes the case with DIY tours, we had an alarming email saying the venue for the Gdynia concert had closed down while we were on the road, and the promoter was looking for a new venue. When we arrived, the promoter (our good friend Ola) had managed to secure a DIY space in Sopot, the neighboring town in the tri-city area. What we found were two freight containers, one on top of the other, repurposed into some kind of lecture hall for arts students. Our show took place in the upper container, and with the PA quickly mounted on top of foosball tables and the venue quickly filling, we knew we were going to have a great, if chaotic, show.
Crowds in Poland are wild, and within the first songs a pit had opened up and crowdsurfers were making their way over to the makeshift stage. By the middle of the set, the venue was a complete sweatbox and the floor had begun to bow under the weight of the crowd. Watching this tiny freight container bend under the weight of a packed out Polish crowd was certainly alarming, but made for one the most intense experiences on the tour.
By the end of the set, and due to lack of ventilation in the venue, the onstage microphone had begun to shock me whenever I approached it to address the crowd. The electrics in the freight container obviously weren’t built to withstand metal concerts, and by the end of the night we had a couple of burnt out fuses in our amps.
As we were leaving, a small man - immaculately presented in a full suit and looking rather nervous from the destruction of the venue - came up to us. He was the owner of the hall. Surprisingly, he had loved the show and after we had settled up he offered us all a lap on the go-kart arena he was also running. So, before we set off to our sleeping place for the night, those of us sober enough ended the night racing laps in the dark. A memorable first time in Poland for sure.
Want to see Telepathy live and form your own memory of the band? Catch these upcoming live shows:
Nov 27th - The Underworld, London w/ Raging Speedhorn, Gurt & Ten Foot Wizard
Nov 28th - Bleach, Brighton w/Conjurer & Latitudes
Nov 29th - Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham w/ Conjurer, King Goat & Iron Swan
Feb 6th - Yorkshire Riffer, Leeds w/ Extinction of Mankind, Svalbard among others More...
It's that time again for more Pit Stories! This week guitarist Francis Larsson from Swedish band Aktaion shares a tale of that magical first time seeing your favorite band destroy the stage live:
Something woke deep inside of me when I was twelve and my older brother loaned me two records that would forever change my life. One was "Toxicity" by System Of A Down, the other one Arch Enemy's "Black Earth." "Toxicity" was real good, I still love that record. But "Black Earth" scared me to death. I couldn't believe my ears and turned that record off the first few seconds in, not to listen to it again until the next day when it was light outside. The madness of the sound I had never heard before drew me in, and I became lost in the world of metal. Arch Enemy became close to a religion for me, right then and there.
Growing up in from the same town as Arch Enemy, it became something magical about seeing them playing live in our shared hometown, back in 2006. My first death metal concert, I did not know how to act or what to do. But I queued outside for hours and then ran to the front of the stage. Too afraid to go to the toilet and lose my perfect spot, I stood my ground, in pain. When Arch Enemy finally took the stage I forgot everything about that. I banged my head because, being cramped up in the front position, it was the only thing I could do, and I did it good. I would be sore for weeks. I experienced sound as never before and were swept away as I never thought possible. After the concert I was handed three guitar picks, which I still keep, from a sweaty hand. It was magic, and somehow matched the feeling of hearing "Black Earth" for the first time.
Although seeing Black Sabbath the year before in Stockholm during their final tour with all original members, Slipknot with Machine Head years later, and many more thereafter, neither would match the special energy in that cramped up space in front of Arch Enemy in the small town of Halmstad that night. I hope it is true that we all have that special concert experience where our younger selves went into an metal concert naive, unknowing of the massive energy outlet the concert-format is, and leave as another person entirely.
Sometimes just getting to the show can be a battle all it's own, especially with metal bands covering long distances by van and bus with few funds (or mechanical know-how) available. For this week's Pit Story, Canadian group Silent Line shares a tale of having to rig up some very ghetto windshield wipers just to reach the venue:
A while back the majority of us lived in Bonnyville and we used to travel to and from Edmonton for the majority of our gigs. Not too long before this specific gig we bought a beautiful yellow 16 passenger van for the band. Bonnyville to Edmonton is roughly a 2-and-a-half-hour drive and about half way through the trip we came up to a pretty nasty storm. Unfortunately, earlier on in the trip we noticed the windshield wipers weren’t working and we needed to pull over and take a look at them.
We pulled over into a nearby gas station ahead of the storm, opened up the hood, and could not for the life of us get the wipers working. After pondering a few moments Mike came up with the suggestion to tie shoe laces to the windshield wipers and manually pull them from the inside of the vehicle.
The shoelace for the left wiper was attached and ran underneath the left side mirror on the van, so when we pulled on that one the wipers would come down. For the right wiper we left a small gap in the top of the window so when we pulled that shoelace the wipers would go up. Dave was in the band at the time and he kindly volunteered to do the first shift on working the wipers. Luckily as kneeled in between the seats and alternately pulled the laces we fed him ice cold beer until his arms gave out. Roughly an hour later we made it somewhat-safely to our show and with a hilarious memory that we would not forget.
That's some dedication to bring an awesome metal show to the fans! Silent Line's new album "Shattered Shores" will drop this Friday - October 30 - and you can also stream the entire release ahead of time through the player below. For more info on Silent Line, head over to the band's Facebook profile here. More...
Ready for a new pit story? This week's comes courtesy of guitarist Mark Drastrup from Denmark-based thrash outfit Essence. Mark shared this story of getting elbowed in the throat at Wacken but downing a handy health potion to get back into the action:
I was at Wacken in 2006 where I went to see Soilwork on the Party Stage I think. I had just discovered them a short time before the festival and I was really excited for the concert, but I didn’t get to see that much of it, because a big moshpit broke out after a short time (I think it was during the song "Nerve") and suddenly I was involuntarily caught in it.
I’m not the tallest guy, so my head is always a bit exposed in moshpits haha. Out of nowhere I got punched in the throat by an elbow, by accident of course, and everything went dark for a few seconds (that’s why I don’t sing haha). Luckily I wasn’t seriously injured, but breathing was a bit hard for a while and I was quite dizzy.
Some of my friends took my back to our camp, where I got to lie down for an hour or so. Then I got up and took a health potion/beer and went back to the festival area. It was my first festival ever, so I didn’t want to spend it lying in camp. I guess that the moral of the story is to always wear armor in moshpits haha.
Anybody else have any great Wacken mosh pit experiences they'd like to share? Let us know about your head banging mishaps below!
Essence signed to Spinefarm Records earlier this year and also just released 3rd album "Prime" worldwide. The album was produced and mixed by Danish producer Rune Rask, and will be supported by new tour dates as the band just signed a booking deal with Live Nation Finland. More...
Not every pit is a massive mosh from hell with a horde of metal fans. Sometimes the crowd just isn't into it, and then a metal fan has to make his own mosh - even if its a pit of only two!
For this week's Pit Story, vocalist / guitarist Farhad Hossain of Shumaun shares this story of the two guys in the back who aren't content to just fold their arms and bob their heads:
Three years ago was the last time I played all original music live with a band of my own, which happened to be my last show with my previous band Iris Divine. That is a long time for a musician who prefers to play live as opposed to being stuck in a studio day in and day out. As you can imagine, the itch to play live again was intense, but it was also quite daunting. How will the music be received? Will the crowd like it? Will I play okay? Will we suck? These are all questions that run through your mind when you debut your new band to a crowd that has never heard a single note from you.
So, here we are at Shumaun’s first show. I look onto a crowd of mainly progressive rock and avant-garde fans, with a few scattered metalheads wearing tees consisting of prickly logos. Intro tape plays, and all eyes are on us as the hi-hat count begins. The first thing I notice is people bobbing their heads back and forth with their arms crossed. For a band that’s used to getting the “prog” label thrown its way, this is a pretty standard audience reaction, so all was good. Shumaun tends to shift in and out of various styles of hard rock, with progressive and metal elements sprinkled in throughout, but that didn’t seem to impress the extreme metal dudes I noticed in the back of the room who just stared at us with no readable expression.
However, soon into our second song, it happened: that magical moment when we got into one of our more metal-inspired sections. I noticed two of the dudes in the back who were wearing the tees with the indecipherable band logos getting a mosh pit started, which unfortunately just consisted of the two of them. They continued bashing up against each other until one of them hit the ground. Sadly, the heavy portion of the song didn’t last long enough for the guy to get up and continue to wreak havoc on the subdued and focused prog crowd, which was more interested in analyzing our every note. It was the best moment of the show for me, and what made it even better was that the two dudes approached me afterward to tell me that they really enjoyed our set. You got to raise the horns up for them!
Let's hear YOUR stories of that time it was just you and a buddy moshing - share away in the comments below!
Time for another round of Pit Stories! This week we head over to the infamous Hellfest, where many a metal head has seen some insane moshing.
What those festival goers don't always consider though is that the bands in attendance want to catch the other performances on tap as well - and being in one band that's playing doesn't necessarily get you backstage with any others.
This week, Mikey from Skindred shares a tale of talking his way backstage to see ZZ Top in a very "these are not the droids you are looking for" moment. He had this to say:
So a couple of summers ago, we're at the beginning of a hardcore festival season in Europe. Among other festivals we're due to play at is Hellfest in France. It's a huge rock/metal weekend in the south of France, huge crowds and big names and so on. Our show on the main stage is kinda hectic due to the headliner's production, lighting and gear spilling all over the stage and making everything run late, but that's another story. Our show was killer and the crowd went nuts, I digress. Playing later that day are none other than the almighty ZZ Top; they've got their own compound backstage so no one really lays eyes on them. I've never seen them live before so I'm jazzed to see their show. I'd managed to get a picture with The Rev. Billy Gibbons at the Classic Rock Awards show a couple of years previous. Which was awesome.
Anyway, I'm walking though catering when my eyes meet with a guy across the room, who calls out "Hey!" and beelines over my way to talk to me. He's about my height, has glasses, a baseball cap. I honestly have no idea who this man is but he seems to recognise me from somewhere, not to be impolite I respond and wave "Hey!" back. He gets closer to me and says "....no, sorry I thought you were somebody else" and walks away. No problem mate!
Later that day, Arya and myself are determined to watch ZZ Top. We want to get on the side of stage to catch a glimpse; occasionally I'll go out front to watch a band but this is ZZ Top man! I want to see if I can get up there to watch. We learn it's a closed stage meaning no access for us mere mortals. Arya grabs me by the arm and says "Come with me. Play along." We walk up the stairwell in an attempt to get up there, only to be halted in our tracks by a large French security guard, doing his job and denying us access to the stage. "Don't you know who this is?!" Arya protests. "This is Billy's BROTHER."
The poor guard's eyes jump out of his head, realises his 'mistake' and lets us through with a heartfelt and humble apology. I cannot believe my luck. We try to play it VERY cool like we're supposed to be there, but I am blowing up inside. I can't believe it. There's no obvious access to Stage Left (Billy's side) so we go over to Stage Right (Dusty's side). It's pretty glorious up there, the band rip into "I Gotsta Get Paid" and I am happy as a pig in shit. Somehow Pepper Keenan (Down, CoC) has found his way up to the side of the stage and is laying down the sweetest air guitar I've seen all day. It's all going great until I look over at Dusty's rack of bass guitars and see the same pair of eyes from earlier, looking right back at me. It's the guy from catering. He frowns at us both, shakes his head from side to side, and slowly points and extended finger to the back of the stage. It's time for Arya and myself to leave. We walk away, with our tails between our legs. I guess even Billy Gibbon's long lost brother can't watch ZZ Top from Stage Right.
Hot off the back of another busy summer festival season, Skindred is about to head out across the U.K. on the group's biggest headline tour to date. Dates are available at Facebook here. Skindred's sixth studio album "Volume" is due out on October 30, 2015. Below you can see footage from the ZZ Top incident in question, along with a song from the coming "Volume" release. More...
We've all got a few stories to tell from the pit, even if they don't necessarily involve the moshing itself. This week, My Dying Bride guitarist, Andrew Craighan shares the story of a man at the front of the crowd who was, shall we say, "up" for the show...
"When we toured with Iron Maiden years ago an Italian fan (Milan or Bergamo, I don’t remember exactly) was at the very front reading a porn mag throughout our entire set completely oblivious to us blasting away. Once we’d finished, he threw the mag at stage which split the magazine apart into fluttering pages of naughtiness and awaited Iron Maiden. So when he thinks of MDB he has a genuine reason to think of tits now or worse depending on what type of mag it was. I’m not sure we had a positive impact on that guy but there you go."
My Dying Bride's twelfth studio album, "Feel The Misery" (reviewed here,) is available everywhere now through Peaceville Records.
Time for another Pit Story - this time about a band taking part in pit shenanigans that saw a show cut short and a vocalist get the boot!
Orc Adams of Orcumentary had this tale to share about performing live while another band was busy imploding out in the crowd:
I played a show a few years ago which turned out to be an interesting spin on the whole “I knew the band before they were famous” thing. I was playing my final song ("Orc Rock Anthem") and after a short amount of time, things seemed to get a bit rowdier than usual. People were moshing, but I didn’t pay that close attention to it, obviously focused on the performance. I finished the song, broke my gear down, got off stage, only to find out that one of the bands just left without even playing.
The account I received of what happened was that in the pit during my last song, someone was pushed into the singer of the aforementioned band. The singer punched that guy in the face and started a big fight. That band fired their singer and they just drove back home (probably a 3 hour drive) without even playing. They had a U-Haul and everything.
I’d prefer not to divulge the name of the band, but they recently signed to a very well-known metal label.
Alright metal heads, let's hear your predictions on who is being referred to in the story! Anybody else actually go to this show and see it go down?
Orcumentary's new album "Destroy the Dwarves" will be released on October 2, 2015 on CD (w/ bonus track) and digital formats. Take a plunge into a cavernous hole with the band below: More...
After some forays away from moshing to look at what happens before and after a show, this week's Pit Story dives straight back into the action!
Drummer Rodolfo Rogers from Mexican blackened death metal band Evilheart shared these tales of the odd things one will encounter at a metal show:
Many years ago we were playing at a local rock festival, and the crowd were pretty apathetic. As we kept playing a burnt smell stated to come out from one of the speakers. We told that to one of the crew people from the Festival, but they told us to keep playing, and a few minutes later, one of the speakers was on fire. The good thing was that the apathetic crowd went apeshit when they saw the fire coming out from the speaker, and after that it was a fucking killer concert.
In our shows most of the time there is the regular mosh pit, and I say most of the time, because there are a couple of exceptions. The first one happened in Victoria City in Tampico, Mexico. In that show people were doing the usual headbanging & mosh pit, but suddenly some guys threw themselves to the floor and they started to roll until they would crash into each other. We all jaw dropped since it was the first time we saw something like that, and it’s been the only place we have seen something like that. A killer show and killer crowd for sure. The second was in Navojoa in Sonora, Mexico. Another killer show and people started with the usual headbanging and mosh pit, and then some guys started to smash their heads against a pole. I wouldn’t do that, but they seemed to enjoy it.
It's Pit Story time once again! Like with last week's tale about dodging moose, today we shift focus away from the moshing over to the time shortly afterward where the band needs to find a place to crash and then hit the road again to keep the music going in another town.
Today's Pit Story comes courtesy of Hendrik Wippermann from German hard rock band Eat The Gun, who had this to say:
Over the last 12 years we’ve played a huge number of shows all over Europe so we could certainly publish a complete “Book of Tales from the Pit” if only anyone wanted to read it. Well, here’s one story from the past: We played in a small Swiss rock club, the name of the establishment isn’t important to mention.
The club was really packed, so we hung out at the bar after the show and most of us got pretty wasted. Unfortunately, I was the driver so I had to be satisfied with soft drinks that night. It must have been around 1 AM in the morning when we decided to leave for the hotel, so I asked the owner for the keys to the hotel. He turned around and walked into the backroom returning with five towels. He looked at me and told me that we’d all needed to take a shower.
I started to laugh because I assumed the guy was kidding me. Unfortunately he wasn’t. So I stood there in the still quite packed rock club with my four boozy band mates who were at that point far away from being in the physical condition of taking a shower. It should be added that the showers were placed in the club. I imagined us walking barefoot through the club covered with nothing but white towels.
I turned to the owner and told him that there wouldn’t be the smallest chance for me to convince the other guys to take a shower at this point. He explained that it wouldn’t be possible to use the hotel beds if the band was still “soaked with sweat.” To keep a long story short, we drove to the next venue overnight. Sometimes soft drinks suck.