Strange isn’t it? Here I am talking about quakes and there I am on Saturday at a rock concert! Great Indian Rock. Is it called a concert? (I have to keep up with new terminology!) Gig? Yes, it’s a gig. (I may be wrong in which case one of the die-hard death metal fans will correct me.)
So getting back to the show. I had a reason to be there. But didn’t want to stand out like a sore thumb. I upped the average age of the audience manifold simply by entering that place!
For those dinos who’ve not been to a metal show before, hang on. Clear instructions follow.
Try and look young.
Wear a black T shirt and blue jeans. That’s the non-conformist way to dress. The beauty is everyone, but everyone, dresses like that. (Must be a sign of teenage rebellion, but I’m not complaining)
As soon as you get there start jerking your head. It’s called head banging… (Against an imaginary wall, I suppose, but no one told me that).
And don’t, for heaven’s sake, display your ignorance by going close to the mosh pit. (What’s that? I’ll come to that later!)
The show was good. The part of it that I watched (Bhayanak Maut) was very good. It was good for two clear reasons. Maybe three. One, I knew all those up on stage. Second, I could even go backstage and see them up close and personal without my distance glasses. Brownie points there. And third, these guys ‘commanded’ a huge audience. There was some kind of palpable elation from the time they went on stage. That’s even before they said their first four-letter word or banged out the first note. That’s some standing!
The ‘rock-on’ sign held high, the band went on to belt out ‘metal’ to a high quality ‘moshing’ audience.
Now about the mosh pit. Once again, for the Neanderthals, it’s that area near the stage where the most avid fans hang out. Only here they don’t hang out… they really hang by a thread. I can’t refer to them as anything but ‘beings’.
Heads jerk back and forth in a frenzy. Sometimes a head spins… whipping long locks of hair in a circle. Then the head-banging, hair-spinning being begins to move in a somewhat random fashion. Backwards. Forwards. Sideways. The attitude is the same as what Brooke Shields had proclaimed about her Calvin Klein jeans way back in the eighties, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin Kleins”. Here is the metal being. Nothing, he believes, nothing can come between him and his enjoyment of this genre of music. But to my logical mind there lies the problem. Because there are several other beings there thinking the same thing. And they clash. These black-metal-band-T-shirt-blue-jean-clad beings with long hair and necks that risk whiplash injury any moment, clash-crash-bang into each other. As soon as their favourite band goes upstage, the mosh pit comes alive. Hands rise up in the air with the rock on sign. And the activity if it can legitimately be called that begins.
That evening, the mosh pit was somewhat subdued when we entered. Almost not there. And then, as the band went on stage, all hell broke loose. The mosh pit came alive. Grew in size and stature. Threw up a huge cloud of dust. Conscientious moshers saw to it that they grimly fed the cloud right through the entire thirty minutes that the band played. “Don’t let the dust settle on this” our parents often advise. These guys were not giving up now. Wow, I think watching from a safe distance, who said the youth was rebellious and didn’t listen to the older generation.
But back to the show. I stood there wondering what kept these guys going. My maternal instinct worried about bodily harm coming to the moshers. Somewhere the self-proclaimed psychologist in me told me that it was good they were working out their pent-up aggression. What’s a fractured arm or two in the pursuit of mental stability through death metal?
But what, really, what about the music brought these guys here, time after time. I looked at my feet and they were tapping. Wrong move, I realized. It wasn’t quite the thing to do. Several decibels later and well after both my ears were ringing (is that why it’s called metal?) the band bowed off stage against requests for more. We left too. And as I drove back home in silence I realized what I had missed. This was not music you danced to, or music you tapped your feet to. This was music you listened to in your head, with your head. I shuddered with the realization. Quake time folks!