Lucifer Over America

[From Room Thirteen, February 21, 2008]

Despite their obvious aesthetic differences and likely contempt for the other’s way of life, jam-band freaks and metalheads are a lot more alike than either would probably admit. Both are entirely devoted to at least one band on the bill, both manage to somehow become secondary staples of their respective live scenes, and neither really cares much about anything beyond the band due to hit the stage.

A guy could be running around knocking down complete strangers, and that would not matter because HEAVY METAL was about to unleash its fury. Three beautiful triplets could be hanging out along the back wall, and that would not matter to anyone in the house because HEAVY METAL was mere seconds away. This may sound like a condescending generalization, but in reality there ACTUALLY WAS a guy running around knocking down strangers and there ACTUALLY WAS a beautiful goth trio hanging out along the back wall. But no one cared, and that young man’s lonely rage swung at deaf ears, and the ladies’ grace in black was for naught. Metal is metal and for the crowd at the Logan, it was time to rock.

Legend has it that the last time Rotting Christ were in America, a misstep by festival organizers had them starting their set at 12:55 a.m. This bit of trivia is nothing special on its own, but becomes absolutely hilarious when you learn that the venue curfew was at 1. They’d come all the way from Greece, and got to play all of five minutes, so you can imagine the collective sigh of relief then when the boys hit the stage. The crowd was free to go wild, five minutes’ passing didn’t mean time was up, and the jackass who’d been knocking those people down took a nice shot to the jaw and walked away bleeding from the mouth.

And like their hemp-clad kindred spirits, Rotting Christ had its followers chomping at the bit, clamoring not for some groovy free-form exploration but for the arrival of their savage brand of Mediterranean-tinged death metal; unlike those peace-loving hippies, Rotting Christ also has the heavy music staple faction that only showed up to tell everyone how much each band sucks. It’s a safe bet no one ever paid good money just to let Umphrey’s McGee know what a loser they think they are, but such is the burden of playing to a crowd of highly devoted and mostly angry young men. Nothing’s ever good enough and everyone wants more, but when even triplets and cheap shots don’t stand out it’s hard to see something as simple as a metal band faring much better.