I'm giving myself the once-over tonight after the show and I'm fairly pleased. Fewer broken bones than I'd hoped for, but a shiner and bruised brachioradialls will have to do. This was the third to last show that Underoath will ever play. They brought the noise, that's for sure, and it rings still in my ears now in the dark silence of my bedroom. Tonight was perfect.
It makes me think, because most things make me think, this time about some quibbles I've seen develop over music. I play guitar in a band that employs large and loud speakers and intimidating looking subwoofers and knows the value of feeling music rather than just hearing it, but a lot of the places we go disagree quite wholeheartedly.
So I thought I would list a few things I've learned at metal shows (with all those heathen rocker devil-worshippers) that couldn't be taught anywhere else nearly as effectively.
1. If you stand around, you're going to get pushed and probably hurt until you learn to move. In the words of Norma Jean, "Mediocrity is the killer."
2. It doesn't matter if somebody is familiar with you or your work, but you can sell them on it with your passion. Do what you do well and with abundant conviction and you'll soon amass a following.
3. When people scream your lyrics back at you, smile and be moved by it. It's ok to feel like somebody is caring about what you do.
4. Dance like nobody is watching, and those who are watching will do the same.
5. Step back from the front and soak in the moment every now and again. If you can't mouth, "I love this" even when you think nobody can see, you need something new to do.
6. If you're trapped in the pit and can't get out, the only thing to do is hoist yourself up and onto the sea of people. They'll move you forward and the guards will set you down at the front so you can walk around.
7. Arms up, soldier. They're there to protect you from hurtling bodies. The only good defense comes with bruises.
8. If it seems like nothing but chaos, find the groove and lock on to it, and the rest will begin to untangle.
9. Remember where creativity points. We notice when you point it at yourself, but if you scream into the mic at the end of your sweaty, thrashy set like Josh Scogin did tonight, "Jesus loves you. Goodnight," people will listen.
10. If you do something, do it well. Pioneers are rewarded by people following in their footsteps and eventually opening for their farewell tour.