Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Soundtrack of my Life

Would most likely never drop in tempo below 180 beats per minute and as such, this past Monday, yes on a Monday of all days, I went to see a quintet of death metal and hardcore bands at a venue called The Recher Theater in Towson, Maryland. The Recher is a nice venue in that it is small enough to be "personal" with a big-name band playing there but also large enough that you don't ever seem to get the sardine feeling when that big name band is bringing in everyone from the prepsters in your local frat to the violence-adoring Ultimate Fighter (R) fanatics from Westminster, MD. The decor is pretty low-budget, the carpets are stained with gum and lord knows what else (at least a little bit of my spittle and probably blood after last Monday), and there are 2 free-standing bars to keep the brewskis or mixed drinks (depending on your concert) flowing freely.

My main motivation for attending this concert was to see the headling band, Hatebreed. Also along for the ride were bands that were previously unknown to me; Hate Eternal, Born of Osiris, and Unearth. Last but not least, the legendary Cannibal Corpse was there to round out the five bands. For a ticket that only cost 22 dollars before tax, I'd say I got my money's worth on all accounts.

I am not a fan of death metal, as I cannot begin to fathom what they are saying and if I could, I am almost 100% positive that I would poop my pants in mortal fear of the imagery death metal songs depict. A couple winning song titles from Cannibal Corpse were, "Hammer-smashed Face", "Wretched Spawn", "F*ck a Knife" (dedicated to the 6 lovely ladies at the show), and "Blood from a C*ck". Nice eh? Top all of this off with the facts that the leader singer of Cannibal Corpse is named Corpsegrinder, that he threatened to kill and/or dismember several fans over the course of the night, and their musical tends to lack that crunchy, grinding rhythm that so draws me to hardcore and metalcore music, and I was happy to see them leave the stage and have Hatebreed's soundcheck start up.

I had wound my way to the front of the crowd for Hatebreed's performance as I knew this would be one of, if not the only time I would ever be able to see them in a venue this small. Earplugs in my ears (otherwise the whole show would have been unbearable), I stared up in awe as Jamey Jasta ran out on stage in his Suicidal Tendencies hoodie and started to rock the house with a nice rendition of "Doomsayer". Considering the action in the pit that had been happening up until this point none of the other performers compared to the energy that Hatebreed brought to the floor. Since many of the Cannibal Corpse fans had left after their performance. I was lifted into the air approximately 10 minutes into Hatebreed's show and crowdsurfed for the first time. I also was fairly certain that after landing after my first mass-groping that my wallet had been taken, but after being lifted into the air a second and third time, I noticed my wallet was where it had been before. Another reason to go see Hatebreed.

They put on a rocking show. It was worth waiting 4 hours to see them. I screamed the lyrics of their songs at the top of my lungs, got to high-five Jamey Jasta, and was shoved unceremoniously to the ground more than a few times in the circle pit. It was completely worth it. Decimation of the Nation tour, book it when it comes to your town.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Yellow Brick Road

It is funny how I started with blog with the best of intentions and now seem to be using it as a vent for all of my supressed and poorly-expressed rage. I am attending a concert tonight at the Recher Theater in Towson, Maryland. The headlining band is Hatebreed and the tour's name is the "Decimation of the Nation" tour. I have no idea what that implies, but it most likely refers to the fact that 99.9 (repeating, of course)% of all concert goers who attend shows like this do not take proper auditory precautions. I will be stopping by a CVS in order to buy earplugs before attending.

Anyhow, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I would be attending this show and he immediately asked me,
"Why are you so angry?"
I responded by saying,
"I am an extremely happy person as a result of these people being so angry."
In a way, these concerts and this type of music is a way for me to outsource the rage that builds in me on a regular basis.

The point I am trying to make with this post is that I feel as if certain elements of a high school education have been removed from many students' equations. These elements might have been considered "negative" or "mentally damaging" but those buzzwords are simply that. I am not talking about being beaten at the high school I attended for chatting out of turn, or getting a shoe in the ass for illegally betting against a teacher in a history class on the wrong football team. Those experiences were both worthwhile and "mentally damaging" in their own right, but I am referring to those particular aspects that I had forever thought to be part and parcel of a young person's high school experience. Things like, being horrified of a particular teacher for no other reason than the rumors upperclassmen spread about him or her. Failing a test for the first time ever because you procrastinated and your parents locked you in your room for 2 weeks. The ever-laudable, not doing your work for 3 weeks in a row because you had "emotional problems" (which really just boil down to you wanting to watch television or nowadays "HULU"). All of these experiences people of my generation and those before them lived through and, hopefully, learned from.

My job experience (and please remember it is limited to a very small cross section of students) lends me to believe that parents these days, in attempting to always make life better for their children than what they had as young people, are attending too much to children's "needs" and not allowing nearly enough education to happen passively or on an experiential basis. The safety net that is cast by virtually all private schools in order to help teachers protect themselves from extremely aggressive parents also allows students, with many times minimal effort, to skate through the system and obtain high school diplomas.

Somewhere along the line, parents (and this does not pertain to all, but to an ever-increasing majority) began to think that it would not be suitable for their children to learn via negative experience. My mother and father believed wholeheartedly in supporting me when it was necessary, but also in the idea that, "Hey, that idiot blind kid with the coke bottle lenses touched the hot pot on the again. Do you think he'll learn when they have to saw his mangled finger off that the damned pot was hot?" That was extreme, but applies here. Parents have gotten much more hands on in the past decade with regard to understanding how their students learn, what makes them tick, and how they can best succeed in a multitude of different, difficult environments, but in this attempt at getting to know their children better and help them succeed, have we neutered their abilities to think for themselves and learn intuitively?