I had an experience Friday night, the strangeness of which approached out-of-body: my 16 year-old son’s thrash metal band, Blood Omen, played its first gig at the Kent State Student Center. I had not previously heard them play in that they (thankfully) rehearse at another kid’s house. They brought about 20 kids with them from Aurora – there wasn’t going to be much of a crowd otherwise at 8:30 on a Friday night, the first band out of a five-band lineup.
Dawn and my dad came too, and to all of our astonishment, they were shockingly good. I am less than thrilled with cookie monster vocals, which are more chant than sing, but the power-trio lineup of guitar, bass (my son) and drums was remarklably tight, precise, and their 25-minute all-originals set was energetic, professional, and entertaining as hell. Even the blase older people hanging around waiting for other bands were drawn in by their ebullience, confidence and noisy panache. I was so proud I almost popped.
My dad, who is almost 71, wrote this email to his friends and family:
- Hey Dude, you missed it:
Last night, at Kent State’s Student Center’s basement Rathskeller, at 8:45 PM, the soon to be famous heavy metal band, Blood Omen, made it’s first ever (world) debut. The four Aurora high school students, who had never appeared in public before, made their auspicious start before 20 or so friends and classmates from Aurora, several soon to be interested Kent students, the Kent student Animal Rights sponsors whose fund raising event brought the band to Kent, and three old people (who attempted to make themselves invisible not to embarrass the Olsen teen member) named Eric, Dawn and Ray.
The band was appropriately dressed in black with heavy black and white makeup reminiscent of KISS (see, I even remember them), which had been applied by a female classmate (their first groupie). They appeared on a real stage, instruments plugged in, the first of five bands invited to the gig. And – they were great. Chris was by far the best showman of the group, really into the music with wild gyrations playing his bass guitar. The singer was shouting or grunting unintelligent words or wails into the mike. The lead guitar player was calmer and the drummer was beating his instrument with fantastic intensity. But, they were really tight together and didn’t sound at all like a new or high school group. The spectators all gathered around the bandstand and shouted appreciatively at the end of each number with even the Kent students in the large room joining them as the startlingly loud music filled the air.
Father Eric fulfilled his role admirably before the concert, when the doorkeeper was not going to let the fans from Aurora high school into the room as they were not 18, the required age because of beer sales. He explained that it was the band’s debut and the kids had come down just to see them and talked the officialdom into letting the young multitude in with a pledge to personally sponsor and monitor them. Dawn became the photographer of record and will write up the historic event on Eric’s Blogcritics.org website. I was just happy to be invited by a member of the band to my first heavy metal concert in 70 years.
Well, everyone agreed that the evening was a huge success. The Animal Rights group got $2.00 a head, and it couldn’t have been better for the band. Imagine being 16 with a still forming group performing their first appearance, and at a College function before classmates (and very important, mostly girls) where even beer was being served to the college students. Like they were all real adults. Oh, and musically, they not only sounded and looked great, but they played all original songs put together by the kids themselves.
So, it is too bad that you couldn’t be there, but I’m sure someday you will be able to attend one of their concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, or other concert hall and say, hey, I’m related to the bass player.
Yeah, well all that’s good but he got home late! 2:30 in the morning after watching all the other bands, packing up, eating, and reveling in their glory. We’ll let him slide this time.