Confessions of a Young Professional Metalhead

Last night was a big music night for the city that has the word “rock” in its title. The fifth “Music As a Weapon” tour graced the stage at the Metro Centre at 7:00 and fans as far as Chicago came out to see the four bands which included Disturbed, Korn, Sevendust and In This Moment. Although a young professional, I was able to attend this high-energy concert, and it was one hell of a show. Yes, you read that right; I am a fan of metal music. Many people assume that in order to enjoy loud head-banging music, you have to either wear all black, or have lots of tattoo’s and piercings.

The show was fantastic save some vocal inconsistencies from David Draiman, the lead singer of Disturbed, who had some timing and tonal issues that were very distracting. Korn truly stole the show, however, with their energetic light show and deep-throated tone through their (unfortunately) shorter set. Jonathan Davis is one of the most entertaining front men I’ve ever seen at a live show, and he didn’t disappoint. Sevendust was also spectacular, with their drummer proving that you don’t have to be the lead singer to have the spotlight on you. How was In This Moment, you ask? I couldn’t tell you, because during their set I was standing in line outside in the cold waiting to get in. And I’m not sure if I should blame the Metro Centre or the people of Rockford. You tell me.

See, I arrived at the show a good half hour before showtime, thinking that I was going to have plenty of time to meet up with another friend, check out the t-shirt booth, grab a beer and then find my seat. But no, every person entering the arena had to be patted down to ensure they weren’t carrying any weapons or bottles of alcohol. This is not standard operating procedure for any other type of concert than a metal concert. You don’t see pat-down’s for Icehogs games or country concerts, but as soon as you throw some power chords in the mix, then the stereotypical fan is violent and out to hurt somebody. For people like me, that’s offensive.

To top it off, security where I was entering the building was limited to three or four people patting every person down. It took long enough for me to walk into the venue just to see In This Moment walk off the stage. Beyond frustrating.

So let me ask you, fellow young professionals? Who’s to blame? The community of the city of Rockford who can’t be trusted to enjoy a high-energy show without the threat of hurting others? Or do I blame the minimal staffing of the Metro Centre, who cut costs so much that cost me to miss the one band out of the four that I haven’t seen before?

Furthermore, shame on Rockford for not selling out this show. The number of empty seats at this venue was staggering, and a large reason why big name acts rarely make their way this far from Chicago. Why would huge national acts want to come to a less than sold out arena, when they could go to Chicago and play for a sold-out crowd that’s twice the size of the Metro Centre?

To make things worse, there is no moshing or crowd-surfing allowed at these concerts. Now, I’m way past the point of jumping into anything like that, but why keep those people from enjoying the show in their own way. Insurance risks are a legitimate concern, but people need to learn to enjoy themselves in a safe manner. The lead singers were asking for the crowd to get crazy, but they couldn’t for fear of being ejected from the venue. This kind of rule is going to keep bands like this away from Rockford; shows that bring a lot of revenue to the city. When will people realize that acting stupid puts unnecessary pressure on them from “the man” that they always complain about. Just behave like a normal human being and you can still enjoy a rock concert the way they are intended to be enjoyed.

So that’s the end of my rant. Yes, I’m a young professional, and yes, I love loud, heavy music. Grow up, Rockford. We need bigger acts in the area if we’re ever going to be considered an entertainment avenue for the stateline area.

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~ by Scott L. Clark on January 17, 2011.

2 Responses to “Confessions of a Young Professional Metalhead”

  1. You make some really great points on areas Rockford really needs to improve on, Scott. The MetroCentre’s funding is always a point of contention — I should know since I used to work for an organization whose funding was cut by the City of Rockford and redirected to the MetroCentre. I’m trying to keep my mind open and give SMG, their new management company, a chance to pull them out of the red and really turn that place around. As far as filling the arena, Rockford’s pretty cash-strapped right now, but it would’ve been a great opportunity to pull in fans from 60 miles out since the nearest tour locations were Bloomington, Ill., and Des Moines, Iowa. I wonder what their external marketing strategies were for the show.

    Also, do you know if the MetroCentre has any sort of feedback channel? I think it’d be great for them to hear from someone like you who’s willing to spend your money on shows there but may reconsider in the future given you didn’t get your money’s worth since you were waiting outside to get in.

  2. Nice article Scott. I think you hit the nail on the head of why big names never come to Rockford. When I was in high school in the late 80’s & early 90’s, I loved punk rock and went to many concerts. Most punk bands only came to Chicago, if they went to the Midwest at all. Although, there were many great local bands, like FLAC, we had to go to S. Beloit, to a place called ‘The Hangout’ to mosh, stage dive, drink, etc. Few Rockford venues would allow it. Punk rock was relegated to the back rooms of restaurants and skate parks in the area, but few in Rockford, even though many of the aficionados were from Rockford. I still love a lot of hard music like you, but I opt out of going to concert’s these days because of 3 main reasons. 1.) They are way over-priced and too commercial. 2.) It is like going through TSA airport security, and some over-weight, sweaty, wanna-be A-Team “security” guy feels my junk. 3.) There is no fun allowed, and you are reminded of that fact numerous times over their Orwellian sound system. Good article bro!

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