My Journey into Metal from My So Called Mates

My Journey into Metal

The scorching sun on this past weekend events wasn’t nice to me, or probably anybody else for that matter too. I went to the second annual Chicago Open Air festival, and it is my second year at COA festival. Frist of all I should state, I’m a fan of good music despite the genre I might be listing to, and I wouldn’t call myself a “metal head” either, but this past year my journey into metal has taken me to places that I didn’t know exist.

For instance, earlier this year I got the opportunity to see Anthrax at the Concord Music Hall, and these guys brought it—the oomph and energy that I saw was on a parallel with somebody doing cocaine for the first time, (don’t do drugs kids) I’m assuming by the way. Super fast, super loud, and when it is over you want more, or you got push into a mosh pit and you say what the hell happen. My point being Anthrax was at this year’s COA and they brought it again with the same vigor, I saw them last time. Up to that moment in my life the first time I saw Anthrax I never thought going to a metal concert would be entertaining, enjoyable and in many ways invigorating.

The other spectacle and entertaining band I saw for the first time at Chicago Open Air were Kiss. I was stupefied by the fact that I didn’t know any of the names of the songs that they play, but I knew every single song they play. I even sang a long with the words of a few songs too. This might be contrite in some circles, or stereotypical because I have seen plenty of movies or documentaries when a musician smashes a guitar on stage, and stuff expelling out of their mouth—Kiss did it all and flying in the air too. I never saw any of that stuff performed live before this past weekend. I would have to say without a doubt Kiss was by far the most entertaining band at this year’s COA.

The big surprise for me this past weekend was Rob Zombie and Korn. I guess I don’t bother to learn names of songs or names of particular artists that sing songs. What I realized this past weekend at COA was Rob Zombie was essentially the soundtrack of my twenties, via the Exit, or Neo Nightclub. As I’m listening and watching Rob Zombie the floodgates of memories resurface of me listening to his music at these nightclubs. Zombie still killed it with his performance. To be completely honest I wasn’t expecting much from Korn this past weekend. I know and like their music, but I wouldn’t care if I saw them or not. However, let me say this, I was completely wrong in saying that. Jonathan Davis, lead vocalist, and the entire band performance blew me away. Talk about showing passion for something, Korn, in my opinion, was this year’s COA most passionate, enthusiastic performance that electrified the crowd with their rhythmic heavy music and for a moment--dare I say spiritual, and people that know me will say “what!” The point being they killed it.

Last but not least, “Slayer, Slayer, Slayer,” as the crowd chanted this band named over and over again. Slayer that played the small stage out in the parking lot at Toyota Park, which was the venue of Chicago Open Air festival, in my humble opinion I thought they were going to play the main stage the entire weekend and felt they should’ve. I believe and assuming many of those people with me that full that parking lot up to capacity, which no other band did by the way for the entire weekend, was this year’s COA best musicians. I was close enough to the stage to witness this electric, heavy, and hair-triggering musicianship come alive through Slayer, but far enough from the pandemonium of the pit and bodies surfing over the crowd. I was familiar with Slayer sound and music, but I guess or assumed human being were incapable of playing instruments that fast. I was wrong. Slayer slayed every second they were on that small stage and I was in complete all struck of everything that was happening around the crowd, the music, the energy, and me.

Don’t get me wrong there were other notable well known bands at the festival that deserves as much credit and respect as the above mentioned bands such as Amon Amarth, Body Count, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and surprisingly a couple of up-and-coming bands such as Code Orange and Aversed, which was the only band to be lead by a female vocalists in Haydee Irizarry at this year’s Chicago Open Air—they all killed it in every possible way, too. And of course, I can’t forget to mention the Godfather of metal himself, Ozzy Osbourne, days later I’m still humming his music in my head.

By Santino Santiago

Photos by Chicago Open Air

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