I’ve had a long relationship with heavy metal. I remember being a kid for a show at the Aragon Ballroom back in 1986 – I think it was Yngwie Malmsteen (who is often known as Yngwie “F@cking” Malmsteen for his reputation as being a jerk) and we waited outside all day for a general admission show. At that time the Uptown neighborhood was dangerous and populated at all hours by drunks and bums. Some of the more clever fans had stolen lawn chairs along the way so they’d have something to sit on during the long hours of waiting. We watched the minutes click by oh so slowly at a big bank across the street. And of course everyone in line was drinking or smoking or doing something else to pass the time. Many people passed out not once but twice in line, shook themselves off, and went back to what they were doing (one guy in a big mud puddle). Later a kid had a limo drop him off in front of the venue and walked out towards the line. That was a big mistake as the entire crowd was jeering him as one. A few homeless people came by asking for change and someone had the idea to toss a quarter at them and soon the whole line was hurling their change in a shower. Towards the end they installed barricades to segment the crowd so that the entire line of a couple thousand people wouldn’t all surge forward at once when they began letting people into the venue. At that point you were penned in like veal in a cage packed next to other leather jacketed rowdy and drunk fans. The grizzled Chicago street cops eyed the crowd with disdain… you could tell that if they had their way this whole bunch of bums and idiots would get taken into custody…
Over the years I don’t go to as many metal shows as I used to and won’t spend all day in line, obviously. But I still feel affection towards the music and the no-compromise attitude of those that have stuck with it regardless of the fact that it gets no radio airplay, little iTunes action, and is on the fringes of the “general” entertainment landscape. Of all the genres of music, metal can live on because it doesn’t need any of these things, just fans who are dedicated, and these fans revel in the fact that they are outsiders.
Indonesia just elected a new president, a “man of the people” named Joko Widodo who took on the establishment tied to the former dictator. I am astonished to see that he is apparently a fan of metal, and even a fan of bands like Lamb of God, whom Dan saw recently in Madison and described their show as “insane and sonic”. All of this comes from this Noisey article (Noisey is part of the awesome Vice media empire). It is unthinkable that a US presidential candidate would ever admit to being a fan of metal, especially the non-cartoony metal bands like Lamb of God. Lyrics are NSFW (if you can understand them). Here is a clip…
Cross posted at LITGM
2 thoughts on “Indonesia’s New President is a Fan of Metal”
I thought I was going to die at that show, figuratively and literally. I wouldn’t recommend it. I would have enjoyed it more when I was 22. When the crowd did the traditional “wall of death”:
it was time for me to leave.
I am not sure if it is good or bad that the president of Indonesia likes these guys.
I suppose it all figures with the nihilist trend we’ve been enjoying these past years. Churches burned, rise of anti-Semitism, “what difference does it make at this point?” etc. A number of years ago, when I was still on the circuit, a friend and I were down in the club district and passed a venue where something called Type-O-Negative was happening inside. Very loud music was not uncommon for this block, but this night was something else. As we approached the front entrance, a couple of guys carried out this kid and tossed him on the sidewalk like he was a bag of trash. He had been stomped and was unresponsive. “Fuck ’em” said the berserkers. We stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. They asked what happened. We pointed inside. I was amazed at the indifference of the others on the sidewalk to his state. I hope he made it. I hope Indonesia makes it.
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