It’s a Thursday, 9:52pm, in the city of Chicago. (Band you’ve been wanting to see) is finally in town after their killer new album blew you away, just like the one before it. The preparations have been made– work knows if you happen to make it in the next day, they shouldn’t expect you to work the prep line, as the stench of rice and cajun seasoning is bound to make you throw up into the pilaf mix again. You’ve arranged for Steve, the guy your actual friend Merkus hangs out with and you see from time to time, to drive your vehicle from the venue when the show lets out at 2:37am. You’ve filled a Gatorade(tm) bottle with ¼ glacial ice and ¾ McCormick’s vodka to avoid the bar’s outrageous price tag of $4 for a 16 oz. Miller High Life. This is going to be the NIGHT, and you know you deserve it.
‘Yeah, Bear Mace I think’, the doorman replies to your inquiry as to who exactly is opening this shindig before (band) melts your face off like you just know they will. They HAVE to– you ordered these tickets three months in advance to avoid the rush of the other fourty-two attendees at the door.
11:21pm– the house lights go down. It is TIME. You know the openers don’t play for more than twenty minutes or so before (band) gets at least forty-five minutes to level both this place and the adjacent place. Five smelly and unkempt people take the stage, and the unmistakable rattle of the bass guitar shakes the floor. It’s been AGES since you felt that. This is gonna be goooooood, you tell yourself as you finish your third Miller High Life and saunter a little closer to the stage, catching yourself on a stool as you almost stumble over and break your face open.
The opening song (‘Death of a Constellation’) starts, and your primal metal instincts take over. No more are you yourself– you are now the metal warrior your destiny has always called for! As your fist pumps in the air at this completely unexpected and intense blast of OSDM, you’re beginning to question if (band) can even touch how thunderous these cats are. It’s like discovering metal all over again!
The set ends sixteen minutes later and you wobble over to the merch table, spilling well over half of your fifth Miller High Life on your shoes and apologizing to yourself for this in the hopes that you don’t end up in a fight with you over it. The singer is already stationed, ready to sell the wares of Bear Mace to the newly converted masses of you and a clearly very intoxicated Steve. ‘Grrrrrrrt fuckn…. fuckn setMAN!’ you struggle to muster at the sweaty behemoth before you. ‘Hey, thanks!’ he replies politely as you start digging sweaty five dollar bills and what feels like twenty dollars in quarters out of your cargo pocket to pay for you brand-new Bear Mace album and size large T-shirt, which you’ll discover is an XL that was mislabeled later on.
It is now 12:13am and you and your crew have been asked to leave after Merkus vomited directly onto the mixing board. As you fumble to the back seat of the car, pretending you don’t notice that Steve is clearly not ok to drive, you double check your left cargo trench to make sure you didn’t drop your new CD and garment before throwing up onto the toll road and blacking out.
As you come to on Steve’s bathroom floor the next day, sticky and wishing you hadn’t survived the trip home, you pile into your 2005 Nissan Maxima and attempt to get back to your apartment, not quite remembering where you live for the first seven minutes or so of your drive.
‘OH shit’, you think to yourself, ‘I’ve got this new album to listen to. Man those guys ruled’. In goes the album, annnnnd….
What the hell is this? This isn’t the gargantuan riff-a-palooza you lost your shit to last night– it’s not even close! It’s just plodding, mid-paced death metal with no crunch. As each semi-palatable yet uninspired and bland track passes, you begin to question exactly what you were thinking last night as your nausea overcomes your ability to reason and you pull into a gas station for a gallon of water and a slice of grease masquerading as pizza to try and finish the battle within your guts once and for all.
You put (band)’s album back in, unsure as to whether you saw them last night or not, and stick the Bear Mace album next to Venerable by KEN Mode and Birth Control by Fight Amp, never to be listened to again. At least you got a shirt with some rad art on it that is also the correct size to wear around town later, right?