After being invited to review Silent Planet, a Los Angeles metalcore band, I was anxious on what to expect. The stereotypes of “metalheads” include angry and violent individuals who wear all black and leather, have long hair, and even worship Satan. After a fourth of the show, these stereotypes were all debunked. After the entire show, I, a mostly reggae-listening girl, found myself a fan with a newfangled desire for more metal shows.
When I first arrived at the Majestic Theatre with my plus one, we were immediately stubbed as newbies. We for one were two of the few girls who attended the show. It didn’t help that we were utterly clueless when we chose where to stand. Who would’ve guessed a big open area in front of the stage was just for the mosh-pit? Instantly we were approached by a young man who told us where we were exactly standing. After chatting, we realized we missed the first performer, an Australian symphonic deathcore band, Make Them Suffer. Besides being repetitively approached by welcoming fellow attendees, the crowd seemed immensely unruffled while waiting for the next performer, Silent Planet. Later, I would come to realize that this intermission period was the crowd’s time to reboot.
Consisting of members Alex Camarena, Thomas Freckleton, Spencer Keene, Garrett Russell, and Mitchell Stark, Silent Planet has recorded two Eps and two full-length albums. In July, the band released their newest album Everything Was Sound after announcing it in late April while on the Vans Warped Tour. Lead singer, Russell, holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and recently revealed he has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This life experienced is channeled in Silent Planet’s music through a brand new character.
The band performed a total of seven songs, with three that stood out the most. Panic Room, Native Blood, and Orphan seemed to have the most influence on the metal-hungry crowd. Orphan being a song that speaks deeply about Schizophrenia. Easily, Silent Planet was the one out of the three performances which had the greatest personal impact. Russell relished socializing with the crowd about his concerns for the native people as well as speaking about his personal experience with bipolar disorder.
Russell’s many facial expressions during his performance exhibited pure lust for what he presents. Performing, he showcases that what he is giving has an emotional impact on not just him, but the entire band. Leaning forward, jumping around, getting on his knees, pumping his fists, and running his hands through his long hair and over his chest, were all indications of how severely engaged he is with the music.
With Silent Planet’s closing song, Wasteland, Russell finished in the middle of the mosh pit, an exciting way to exit.
Though for me, I had a hard time understanding the lyrics during the occasional screaming which has been used for affect in heavy metal music. I asked fellow attendees if they could understand the lyrics and some said yes and others replied yes only because they googled the lyrics. Again, I am only a newbie to metal.
Though Silent Planet played for a short period of time, we decided to stay for the next performer, ERRA after those in the crowd told us they were really talented. ERRA, a metalcore band from Alabama consists of members Alex Ballew, Jesse Cash, Sean Price, and J.T. Cavey. During their performance, is when I began to really enjoy the energy in the small theater.
Admittedly, the mosh-pit and screaming from the music initially freaked me out. Startled, I was hiding behind two older men who pushed the “moshers” away, as those on the outside of the circle do. Near the end of Silent Planet’s performance, I felt myself loosening up. By the end of the night, I was in the mosh-pit and even on stage with August Burns Red.
Something absolutely shocking about the crowd was their inescapable kindness. I’ve been to reggae shows, indie, EDM, pop and hip-hop, but never would I have thought that those who attended the metal shows would be the sweetest. While moshing, if someone lost a watch, everyone would stop moshing and they would hold the watch up until someone claimed it, then they would go back to moshing. This happened again when someone lost a shoe. In the heart of moment, they would buy water bottles to spray each other in the crowd. Quickly after, the crowd would take off their shirts and wipe up the water on the ground then return to moshing. The only time security seemed to intervene was when there was stage diving and surfing, which happened the entire night.
Being one of the few girls who attended, when my plus one and I would try to get into the mosh-pit, it was assumed we were shoved into it on accident. Immediately, I would have numerous pair of hands grabbing at me to pull me into safety. Thumbs up would be thrust in my face with a smile once I was “rescued”. Every action taken at the show was out of pure kindness. Perhaps different cities bring out different people, such as Milwaukee versus Madison, or feasibly the stereotypes on “metalheads” are all just wrong.
The most anticipated performance of the night was August Burns Red, a Christian metalcore band from Pennsylvania, amongst their Legends of the Fall tour. With a 1.6 million following on Facebook, it was clear to see ABR is one of metal’s most known bands, which made this show even more special.
A Thursday night in Madison changed my acuity on metal music, generating a fan out of me. If any of the four bands are to perform again in Wisconsin, I will find myself in the mosh-pit and possibly the stage again.