Playing the music you love in a different city every night. Hundreds of girls clad in your merchandise screaming at the top of their lungs when you simply walk on stage. You don’t even have to have an incredible performance to receive this kind of response, and you hope no one notices. This is the life of the rising pop/rock band Metro Station. I know because I was on the other side. My name is Terry Bartley, I’m a music fan. This is my story. The story of how the one thing you love to do more then anything else in the world can become disenchanted.
About a month ago one of my friends invited me to a show at the Orlando House of Blues to see The Maine, Metro Station, Boys Like Girls and Good Charlotte. I never turn down a rock show and I’ve loved Good Charlotte since their self-titled debut. I also really enjoy Metro Station’s recent debut and was very excited to see what they’d be like live. After saving up a little cash and packing for the over 800 mile trek from West Virginia, I was ready for this show.
For those of you who haven’t been to the House of Blues, one important tip from one music fan to the other is to always show up early enough to have your a meal at the House of Blues restaurant before the show. You get early entry to the show, and if you’re going to one as popular as the one I went to, you’ll thank me later. The food is amazing and everyone’s gotta eat, so it’s kind of a no brainer.
As I stood in line, I noticed a mass of 14-year-old scene girls. At some point during the four years I’ve been out of high school, the once outcast emo girl has become the popular valley girl, I’m not sure when this happened, but it confuses me. With this realization, it hit me that with the exception of a few parents, my friends and I were going to be some of the oldest people there, at our ripe old age of 22. This is when I should have gotten suspicious of how this show would turn out, yet I was excitedly oblivious.
I passed the metal detector security and made my way into the venue. The Orlando House of Blues is a pretty cool venue for a rock show, there’s a large pit in front of the stage, a raised floor on the same level of the bar, then a balcony for those trying to avoid the crowds. We went into the pit and got as close to the stage as possible without pushing anyone too much. We noticed early on that these girls had no problems with being uncomfortably close to us, flinging their soon to be greasy hair in our faces and full-on leaning on us.
Shortly after the venue filled out, the Maine took the stage. They are a super cool band worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them. They put on a pretty great show, and admittedly, with these guys, the crazy excitement the tweens exuded improved the experience for me, but the night was young.
The next band was as Metro Station, a band that before this show I would have described as a cool little band you should check out if you have the chance. As soon as the Maine left the stage there was a drastic shift in the pit, herds of girls stampeded their way through the crowd to be as close to Metro Station as they could. When you find yourself having to work at holding your ground just to keep the spot you’re in, something is wrong. The excitement I felt during the Maine’s performance soon turned into insanity once Metro Station took the stage.
Metro Station is a good band with an amazing album, with that said, their live performance could use a little work. If I were watching them without the high schoolers, I guarantee I would have enjoyed it more, but I was still aware that they weren’t the best band I’ve ever seen. Throughout the dance filled show, I experienced an array of invasions of personal space, including, but not limited to, being pushed, my feet getting trampled, and screams that were so loud I could’ve sworn I had over modulation in my ears.
Metro Station has two lead singers, essentially one to sing the verse and one to sing the chorus. The verse lead singer, who happens to be Miley Cyrus’s brother, was very nervous on stage. I could see him shaking and he added an array of unnecessary “baby”s to the end of his lines. The chorus lead singer gave me a very strong Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy vibe, with the amazing voice and the low key stage presence thing. They weren’t bad, considering how fast they apparently became famous, but because of that, they really should have a great live show to give to the large number of fans that will undoubtedly go out to see them.
At the conclusion of the Metro Station show, it hit me that this kind of venue doesn’t work for a pop/rock show, however it’s the only kind of venue that typically has them. I would’ve much preferred them in an arena or in an 18 and up show. I decided that I can’t go to shows like this again, its too much discomfort for a sub par performance. Rock shows I can handle, pop shows I can handle, but not the hybrids. It’s a shame, because I’d love to see the Jonas Brothers, although I’m sure they’re playing arenas by now anyway.
I would like to make note that the entire show was redeemed when Good Charlotte took the stage and put on a killer show. They are every bit as amazing as you’d think. If anyone out there has lost faith in Good Charlotte, put your fears aside. Although they may be going out with Paris and Nicole, they’re the same guys they’ve always been, playing some awesome music.
And that was the end of an era. The last top 40 pop/rock show for me that isn’t at a festival, in an arena or outdoor venue. Its just too much to handle. I’m thankful it takes much more then this to make me swear off shows altogether, I hope that day never comes.