Monday, May 04, 2009

Back to my roots.

I was at a metal gig in Limerick last night.
Hero in Error - Dublin band.
They're alright! But it was just... so... much... fun. So energizing. I miss that shit.

There's nothing better than a metal gig. Nothing. The first PROPER, big, open-air concert I was ever at was Metallica at the RDS in '04. And I will never forget it as long as I live.

I remember that ticket was the first Valentine's present I had ever gotten. And I still think it was the best. It was a hell of a risk on his part, if ya think about it – we’d only been together about 2 weeks! And the gig was in June!

I got him a joke-gift. Y'know… We hadn't been together very long, and I thought it'd be cool.
It...erm...wasn't... especially when he proudly presented me with my very thoughtful, expensive gift, and heartfelt card.


We got to Dublin. Way, way too early. And it was way, way too sunny. We stopped by Asha in Steven’s Green – I bought a cool “…And Justice” necklace and a horrible top. I got it because it wasn’t too bulky, and had Metallica written on it, but just tied it ‘round my waist for the day. Horrible. Wore the necklace, though. Still do the odd time, even though it’s broken.

So, into the queue. My head was burning. I suspected I was getting a migraine - nooooo! I'd soldier through it. Standing in the sun, mostly in black (blergh. too warm!), glaring at the awkward twits in support-band Tees. (the sheer cheek!)

I was nervous. I thought about the big crowd and the crush and getting shoved around. Everyone was a lot bigger, and badder-looking than me. Except for a few scrawny Slipknot fans (with their trade-mark bad tattoos).

We got into the RDS and headed for the main arena. Lost Prophets were first. I grabbed C’s hand and practically dragged him through crowds of mean-looking biker-types… their piercings and sweaty foreheads glistening in the sun. I thought, if I wanted to be at the front, this was my best chance. Lost Prophets fans were bound to be the easiest to push through. And I made it! About half-way through their set, I was within reaching-distance of the barrier.

What was I wearing… Red boots (very uncomfortable – but flat at least), probably teamed’m with a skirt, which I can safely assume was black (but I don’t remember…), and a red sleeveless Punky Fish top which, at the time, I thought was the COOLEST thing EVER. (Uncomfortably tight, it had a zip all the way up the front, and back. So, in theory, you could rip it in two. Unnecessary, and clearly asking for trouble, but no one ever went there! It used to catch on my belly-button piercing... Ick. I couldn’t wear it these days – it being disgracefully tacky and all…)

So, the poor Profs got booed off the stage. The biggest cheer they got was for mentioning the word “Metallica”. A hail of bottles and abuse. A friend of C’s chucked something that hit one of them in the head. Really feel bad about that. I didn’t join in. They’re not a bad band. The crowd just wanted to emphasise that they didn’t belong there. It wasn’t cool. But… I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hilarious.

“Thanks for your fucking support.” And they sauntered huffily off stage.
Some skinhead guy in front of us shouted; “Don’t listen to them guys! I still love you! Woooo!”

Well… that’s nice!


So, my head’s getting quite sore… this is gonna be one of the BADder migraines… but all I had to do was get through Slipknot. And at least we were at the front!
“Aoife, I’m getting a little claustrophobic… can we go back?”
Are you kidding me?!? But, dutifully, I took his hand and barged my way back out. It was nice to have a little space. I guess.
My head was killing me.


So, I never really liked Slipknot. Bang bang bang music. Boiler-suits and stupid masks. Seemed a little too theatrical and…well… y’know… just didn’t understand their appeal. And don’t think calling your fans “maggots” is very nice.

They charged on stage. Crowd freaked out. I started to kinda get into it. Their music blasted the pain right out of my head. Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was the frequency of the bang bang bangs, maybe it was that I’d taken the top from around my waist and draped it over my head to keep the sun off… but I couldn’t feel a thing. Nice one! I started hoppin’ around, whippin’ my hair about, tried to encourage C to get into the mini-mosh pit that’d formed near-by, and, when he wouldn’t, bounced in myself. Wooooo!

(By the way, C’s coming across badly in this, but bear in mind he wasn’t feeling great. Food-poisoning from Subway the day before. He got a card for free subs for a year because of it! But never really took full advantage of it. Which pissed me off no end.)

Some guy fell on the ground. Oh my God he’s going to die.

“BACK OFF! FUCKING BACK OFF!” – some massive hairy giant parted the crowds, picked the guy up and grumbled; “You ok man?”
“Yeah.. thanks!”

Metal fans are so nice! Anywhere else and he’d’ve been trampled. It’s not violence for the sake of it – it’s a bit of rough ’n tumble, and all in the name of fun, and they look out for each other. I couldn’t believe it. I had nothing to worry about.

Suddenly some psycho a few feet away starts roaring: “Get the FUCK down! GET THE FUCK DOWN!”


The music was dying down. I looked around and everyone – everyone – tens of thousands of black-clad fans were on their hunkers on the ground. C was too. I got the fuck down. Confused. Going with it.

And then, with thunderous drums, the music went ballistic and the whole RDS leapt to its feet and roared and trashed around and oh… my God…

I understood now. I’ve never bought a CD of theirs, but I’d LOVE to go to another gig. They are phenomenal live. They send the crowds into a frenzy. It’s an helluva rush! ^_^


Away from the main arena, sprawled on the grass, moaning.
“How can I help?”
“I dunno. Step on my head. No. Get me some chocolate or something.”
The minute the music stopped, the pain came back. I didn’t know if I could take much more. What fucking awful timing. My day is ruined.
He came back with the chocolate. It didn't help.
“They’ll be on any minute.”
I got up and shuffled miserably alongside him, and we headed back to the fray.


Just as we came through the passage-thing, Ecstasy of Gold started up. That’s Metallica’s entrance music, borrowed from an old western, promising something great.
The scene opened out in front of us, entrance music still soaring, and I got this tightness in my chest, and butterflies, and something else too. It was overwhelming. The crowd seemed to have doubled, tripled in size. I know people say this a lot, but you actually COULD feel the excitement and anticipation. It felt like I’d been waiting forever for this. We all had. Thousands and thousands of fans. And these heroes – these absolute legendary men – standing there. They were right there. Right in fucking front of us.

And they opened with the first song on my favourite album and I freaked - out. Blackened. One of the best intros to any song ever. Really got the gig going. Migraine didn’t even exist anymore.

When it was over, and we were sufficiently revved up (they were starting things on a high that was to continue…)
“Gimme an M!”
“Gimme an E!”
“Gimme a T!”

“… GIMME FUEL GIMME FIRE GIMME THAT WHICH I DESIRE!” – Fuel!! Not the best song, and a pretty obvious way to introduce it, but still, UNREAL!!

And it went on and on and got better and better. And the sun was gone. And the stage was radiant. I called a friend (who nearly cried) and held my phone on high, to join the thousands of others, during Nothing Else Matters.

A pyramid of about 20 smelly men formed over to the right somewhere. I can’t remember what comment Hetfield made about that, but I remember it was hilarious.

Hammett was mesmerising.
Lars was…Lars!
And that large, hulking dude (who was the newbie then and, to me, still is) was actually pretty cool.

And they apologised for having forgotten to play Whiskey in the Jar the previous year. And proceeded to play the HELL out of it to make up for it.

And they closed with Seek and Destroy and we were left angry, breathless, and on a wild rush – I’ve never felt so high.

And when it all went quiet, and I came back down to earth……
“… Ow… oh fuck… ow…”
Remember me? Migraine’s back!
Ah, fuck it, it was worth it.
One of the best memories I’m lucky enough to have.


I love all different kinds of music. And all sorts of gigs are great. But... nothing compares to the pumping adrenaline ya get from good, old-fashioned metal... :)


  1. Anonymous8:21 pm

    The Ecstasy of Gold is out of "The good, the bad and the ugly" I do believe.

  2. You had me along for the wild ride, Ping... nicely done!

    I'm not a massive metal fan, but I AM a live music fan -- but more the orchestral kind. The pianos, the guitars -- the little alterations that artists make just for concerts that you'll never hear anywhere else... that kind of thing!

    But, just for the duration of this entry, I loved metal; thanks for that :)

  3. @seb
    Orchestral, eh?
    And, something less soft:
    (you might recognise the second one..)

    This stuff seems _achingly_ cheesy to me now, but, 6 years ago when it was new to me...

    ... ah hell, it's still great!

  4. Hehe, I am well aware of the work Metallica has done! And the amplification -- both of the noise, and your emotions -- is certainly quite an experience live (I've seen Metallica, Soulfly and Iron Maiden live), but still... it's quite a PHYSICAL reaction, to the volume, rather than the music itself.

    (There's a very similar reaction to loud music in your inner ear to fast rollercoasters! Rollercoaster junkies are normally loud-music junkies too...!)

    But, anyway, I'm dithering. I like more, um, complex music? Where I can hear every note, every beat, every pause. Loud, angry music has a place too, just perhaps in small doses, so as to not worsen my tinnitus :P

  5. "I like more, um, complex music?"

    wow... bit of a music snob are we? tsk tsk... :P
    hehe. only messin!

    Tinnitus?! that would drive me demented!

    i dunno what it is lately - i keep getting all nostalgic after my dusty old cds. (some of them...are mortifying...) ^_^

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  7. Great post.....!

    Although the "awkward twits in support band tees"....did you yourself not buy a band tee that day? ;-P

  8. Anonymous1:22 pm

    Lots of fun eh.. though it sounds kinda scary. I get really freaked out at these metal gigs. I went to just one and it was terrible. Too many people with too many piercings :)

  9. mine was for the main act! not the support band.

    slightly better, but still not all that cool...! ^_^ though, I certainly thought I was!

  10. Remember when you were telling me about that and remember C's food poisoning. Golden Age.