Occupy Wallstreet Chicago: My experience and analysis.

When you have to run to the bathroom in desperation and see a toilet with plastic rim coverings surrounded by stains all around you that look like someone either died, or experienced massive bladder problems and misdirection, you know you are in Union Station.   For many reasons, including time and money never well spent, I hate Chicago. When I finally figured out that not only had I walked the wrong way, I had taken the wrong street, and I wasn’t on Jackson.  After about two hours of walking around and making it look like I had a purpose with my direct and forceful steps, I followed the drum beats and finally found the corner of Jackson and LaSalle.

I arrived in the eager expectation that I would see something controversial happen. I was hoping for yelling, screaming, shouting, lots of fist pumping and shaking, blood,  and shocked Kent State looks on people’s faces.  What can I say? I was hoping for a little bit of entertainment, because I wasn’t expecting 6 or 7 hours of protesting to not bore me.  (I’ll admit it, I love controversy. It is one of the most entertaining concepts out there.) Protests are supposed to be a place where you can feel the energy in the air.  It’s almost a kind of substitute for the concert atmosphere, except all the wannabe hippie hipsters there wouldn’t like the idea of a hardcore moshpit.  Someone there told me there that moshpits were the creation of capitalists and the corporate machine, no joke. There were some “hippies” there to the point that it was almost like a scene straight out of Southpark  with the college know-it-all hippies.

First off, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any cases of serious “nerd-rage” out, about, and around the corner of Jackson and LaSalle. I’m shocked that nearby residents haven’t mugged the protesters banging on drums throughout the night. Since I suck at breaking the ice and initiating conversation, it probably took me 15 minutes to talk to some of the scrunched up faces there.

People were angry. Even if they weren’t, they made sure to look at it. Some didn’t even know why they were angry, but it feels to good to smash on a drum, call attention to the protest and occasionally get reaffirming honks of support or middle fingers from nearby vehicles. Someone was going to pay.

When the Fox News folks showed up with their cameras, they were one of the first to pay. Some protesters near me made sure to drop plenty of F-bombs directed at them and two of them even jumped up and down with middle fingers extended in view of the camera.  I guess there’s nothing like making a direct impression to the rest of the country watching about what kind of maturity level we are all at.   Furthermore, it isn’t just Fox that deliberately misleads, its MSNBC, ABC, and CNN as well. It’s too bad that some people there had bought into the progressive nonsense that targets just the network they don’t like, rather then the networks who frame the news in a way favorable to the progressive agenda.

For all intensive purposes, the protesters were “trolled” hard the previous week.  Even I’ll admit, those fliers that flew down with the words,” We are the 1%” were a badass idea.  Well, when I got out my sign, I did get a bit of a “What are you doing here look?” from a few people, but that did go away shortly. What initially surprised me was the amount of media attention of all sorts to the protest which maybe had a 100 people there tops when I first arrived at the scene. I had the original perception that the protest was alot bigger.  Its a bit odd considering alot of people thought the movement was either being ignored by the mainstream media or being hyped up and exaggerated by it.

The occupy movement is what people have made it out to be; a smorgasbord of people from varying political and philosophical ideologies who had gathered to protest the power that Wallstreet and the Financial sector have over our government and economy.  Now this movement really is made up of alot of different viewpoints and ideology all across the spectrum. This is one overall picture of the movement that has been accurately portrayed. There were angry die-hard anarchists, socialists, libertarians, independents, people who protest everything, ect. essentially a lot of angry people who have have every right to be.

There were also signs like “Chicago Teachers Unions Supports Occupy” and “LGBT for the 99%”.  I can only hope they don’t hijack the movement and turn into attempted political action and talking points. (Jesse Jackson showed up one night himself. That media hogging racist…) After talking to a lot of people there, particularly interesting to me was the surprising variety of groups there – everything ranging from radical Marxists progressives to independents and Ron Paul libertarians like myself.

Now the protesting situation in general there reminded me of Pokemon. You initially didn’t know much about it, but everyone else thought it was cool as hell and either had the trading card game, Red or Blue version for the gameboy, or had really creepy plush toys of Pikachu in their room. Either way who didn’t want to catch them all? No one wanted to be left behind who has something to protest about.

This movement is somewhat similar, thought not everyone there falls into that generalization. There are some people who really know why they are there. What particular irks me about this is that these people seem to be largely ignored by the mainstream media, especially Fox which has potrayed the overall amount of protesters as dumb-asses, which is far from the truth.  There were however people who just showed up because “protesting is cool”,  people who wanted to be apart of something, and the people there to make some noise with an almost ADHD like fury because they ” can”.

During some of the “educational” sit-downs that occurred throughout Saturday, I noticed that disagreement among protesters there was widespread.  There was however agreement on the problem: The current economic problem, and who has benefited from it.  What did however remain up in the air, was any kind of real agreement on how to fix the problem, the root causes that have led up to it, and how to turn the movement into a political force, something the neo-con elements of the Tea Party were able to do with the movement.   Do be assured though, almost everyone of the protesters there wanted to end the Fed. (That’s most certainly a good sign.)

My initial perception concerning the movement still remains -There will be some major problems on the horizon concerning the ability to turn into a political force. Doing that could however cost the movement supporters, as its overall lack of direct organization and leadership is what constitutes part of its strength. Because of this it really does feel like a movement involving everyone under the sun from the overall populace. The moment it does gain an overall face, the movement will probably split off into different directions.

I personally showed up with a lot of disagreements with the more Marxist and progressive elements in the crowd which keep emanating out the woodwork- they literally had a donation box there. I did however have one thing in mind when I did come down; to show my support for those who recognize the current situation and problem in the country right now. It was my effort to show some solidarity.  I am however very worried that this movement will be hijacked by the progressive elements who will most certainly turn into another supposed” grassroots” support group for the Democrat party.  I do plan on going down again to protest, and this time, I’m going to take tons of pictures.

Note the “Progressive Stack” wasn’t implemented, which surprised me considering this is Chicago.

Anyway, around maybe 2 PM or so in the afternoon, if I remember correctly, we engaged in a sitdown across the street where the supposed leaders of the movement there made announcements. Some supposed “leaders” made announcements of various sorts, and they proudly  introduced some sort of old African American speaker, an Civil Rights ex-icon of sorts who had been in some competition and situation involving the Olympics down in Mexico during the civil rights movement. No one including me, had heard of him, so they the introduction took a few minutes.  Seriously, where these people who we are supposed to have some sort of respect for come from?

This ex-icon fellow went on a rant that included a fair amount of hostility toward the “right wing” and encouraged us in our protests and told us just how awesome Obama was, to keep supporting him, and to hate the evil republicans and the evil “right wing” who were blocking the great leader at every turn. He made sure to mention that all the resistance toward the president was because he was black. I kind of turned off my attention after he got to this point, as I’m sick of people looking at his race, first and foremost, instead of his policies and positions.

I thought to myself, “Great, just what the movement needs. More political pandering, divisive speech, and plenty of hate.”   The word itself is losing the kind of connotation it used to hold because of the frequency of which people are misusing it. You can now just throw it around when you can’t actually point holes in someones position, so you just tell them they are a hater, and that their argument/position is now therefore invalid. It’s almost like the race card.

I just kept my mouth closed, stared on at him, and proudly stuck out my chest with my anti-Obama t-shirt on that I was wearing. That shirt turned a lot of heads. I made sure to wink at the heads that were girls that I thought were hot, even giving courtesy smiles and a wink here and there to the hippie like ones who hadn’t bathed in days.   I did receive some compliments from some of the protesters on the shirt though, including one who informed me that he regretted voting for Obama back in 08.  I even saw some signs demonizing Obama for not giving out enough handouts. The poor guy can’t win can he?

This speaker in  particular irritated me, now that I think more about it.  I love how some ideologues are so far in the progressive’s and democrat’s pocket that they can’t think for themselves and differentiate between the neo-cons and libertarians in the supposed right wing. I noticed he had absolutely nothing bad to say about the President who he portrayed as a messiah that we are all supposed to love, cherish, and respect.  Maybe he should look further at the president then the fact that he is black.  (Obama isn’t even black, just supposed civil rights advocates still have assumptions that are drenched in the racist principles of the “One drop of black blood rule.”)

Furthermore when did libertarians get thrown in with the right wing? Got to love how your political opponents can simply change the definition, demonize you, and throw you into some political wing.  There are a lot of similarities between Dennis Kuccinich and Ron Paul. Its called an advocacy and support of the principles of liberty. But since people still can only look at things through party lenses, they get thrown into the perspective jokes of the two party system we currently have.

Later on around 5PM, the crowd of protesters seemed to quadruple to the point where it was hard to move back and forth on the sidewalks. Almost out of no-where, I noticed a set of large loud speakers which had the consistent phrase of “Tax The RICH!” barking from them.  This seemed to be the agreed upon solution to the our current problem by the protesters who had control of the speakers.

“Tax, tax, tax the rich!”  When a question was asked on the loudspeaker, this was always the response. World hunger? Tax the rich. Baby crying? Tax the rich. Girlfriend broke up with you after you only just “made out with that girl”? Tax the damn rich. It was as monotonous and bland as listening to Jet Li talk in Kiss Of The Dragon.  It unfortunately made everyone there look they were a bunch of highschool kids protesting their schools recent new policies on bumping and grinding during prom dances. The calls for “Less Cuts, and more taxes!” seemed foolish, considering it seems half-assed to only demand taxes on the rich, while ignoring the obvious implications of a bloated and abused welfare state.  It just goes to remind us of how easy it is to whip up people into a frenzy where they say things they really haven’t thought about, but just go along with whoever’s shouting at the time.

Yes, the banks have robbed us blind. Occupy Wallstreet Chicago

Something that comes to mind from this repetitive slogan/mind-numbing chant is the lack of common sense. The more you take from people, the less they have to invest in the products, services, hiring new/additional labor – the market. Politicians just don’t pass tax-cuts to look cool and stand out as a “man of the people”, they shockingly realize that usually cutting taxes spurs on consumer spending, thus benefiting everyone else in turn. It does however matter significantly of what kind of taxes they are cutting, whose taxes they are cutting, and who is eligible for said tax cuts.  The current system seems to endorse specific tax cuts for  corporations, banks, certain sectors and businesses in the industry that have made the right campaign contributions, ect.   It is of course crony capitalism at it’s finest.   The banks did rob us blind. They used the government to do it.

There were oh so many signs criticizing capitalism as if it was a concept from hell itself. I in particular couldn’t understand what was with all the signs hating on capitalism. This indicated that the majority of the protesters haven’t the slightest semblance of what true capitalism actually is.  Crony capitalism and actual capitalism are very different things.

Greed does suck, but what sucks more is embracing the polar opposite which would put the power into the hands of a very few select greedy people.  Human nature is very very greedy.  True capitalism understands this and uses peoples greedy natures to exploit each other and create competition that directly benefits everyone, specifically the lower class.

Many protesters however did realize that corporations have vast influence and power in the political process and legislative action.  They just fail to recognize true capitalism vs. the fake system of capitalism we have now.

Unfortunately the protesters are yet again succumbing to encouraging politicians to legislate insane economic policy for the sake of political pandering.  Remember, politicians will do anything to get your vote, and its going to end up spiraling to the point when Peter will be all of us, and Paul will be those who made the most donations to their campaign.

One conversation in particular, I remember well. It was with a public school teacher.  He was probably the only person there which I initially was turned off by. During this particular conversation, I remember, marching toward Grant Park and talking with a teacher in Chicago who kept trying to trap me in my words with a hidden amount of hostility behind his questions and answers, which I did resent.   He dropped those words like “them” so much that I realized he essentially bought into that bogus democrat ideology of “the other side are evil.”

I kept thinking to myself, “Really?” as he lashed out at the other side for everything you could imagine.  Once I told him that I was interested in dialogue with him, rather then debate of any sort, the conversation became much more cordial.  I wanted him to realize that I wasn’t talking to him to point out that he was wrong in anyway, just that I was asking questions, Cartman style, to see if had thoughts things out and followed them to their logical conclusion instead of subscribing to party talking points.

I did however have an awesome conversation with a dude in Guy Fawkes mask. (Anyonmous FTW) who understood just how important freedom of speech is. He also understood something most don’t; the difference between equality and liberty and just how important liberty is.

Now, to a certain extent, alot of people there seemed to be asking for a handout.  The most frequent request was for money of some sort, something I can Understand.  There was one fellow there who kept insisting we should fork over money for batteries for his megaphone.  “I need batteries. Someone should get me some.” It’s hard to really want to provide someone with batteries when they shout out unintelligible things with their megaphone in your general direction.

If anyone feels like going down to protest in Chicago and freezing their asses off, I’ve come up with a list of pro-tips:

– Make sure to bring a camera with you. A nice Iphone or Android phone with decent video quality that I only wished I owned will suffice.
– Cigars. Something to smoke. It feels good to be smoking around all those other people smoking. Solidarity eh? You’d be surprised by all the conversations that will be encountered by simply lighting up.
– Beverages.  Be careful about how much you drink, and I’m not just referring to beer.  There is almost no where in nearby locations where you can go to the bathroom without having to pay to use the bathroom.  Part of the blame lies with the homeless who consistently try to shower in the bathroom as you hop up and down outside holding yourself.
– Ipod or Mp3. At some points you will want to just chill and listen to music as you hold up your sign. I personally chose Legend and The Acacia Strain to make sure I kept up my angry state of mind against Wallstreet.
– Bring two coats. You’ll probably need them when it gets colder later at night.
– Go ahead and march on Grant park if that happens when you are there. Just get out before the Police start arresting people when they won’t leave the park.  Some of us couldn’t afford to get arrested and miss a day of work, but that doesn’t seem to matter to some protesters who don’t realize that some of their fellow protesters have bills and rent to pay.
– Point out the things you have in common with other protesters. There is strength to be attained in even the most vague displays of solidarity. Sure it’s hard to stomach some of the ideology that is spewed by some of the progressives there, but remember, they are there for several of the same reasons you or anyone else is.
– Ignore the temptation to be divisive because of political differences and biases and look at the overall big picture.  Engage in dialogue and conversation. Sure, people might have reasons for being there that you or I think are dumb, but they are reasons nonetheless, and we should try to understand where people are coming from, not just dismiss them.  There are people there with common sense, and they are your friends, neighbors, ect, even if they are demanding for insane governmental action that will just worsen the problem.  If you desire to point out the problem with that, just carry that line of thinking to its logical conclusion. Also, ask questions. Lots of them.
– Don’t bring too much stuff with you. It really sucks when you have to carry around two bags of stuff and have to watch it like a hawk when you set it down.

I still have a lot of reflection to do on this whole movement. Don’t dismiss it off-hand like many conservatives have done. That pompous ass Gingrich needs to learn that people there at the Occupy were looking for jobs, and weren’t all lazy protesters who wanted handouts.  Unfortunately, the extreme progressive elements appear to be hijacking the movement as I saw with some of the SJW types that were there.

I do tire of those who dismiss the movement right off the bat.

There is a lot more then meets the eye to Occupy. The only way one will learn this is to talk to and engage with the people at the Occupy Protests.  Let’s for once not pull a Herman Cain and talk to people to see why they are upset and the reasons behind them, instead of “Get a job.”  Also, lets hope that political hypocrites and fake witches like Pelosi and Obama don’t try to hijack Occupy and turn into a supposed political force for them. These people, myself included want answers, not hypocrites like Obama who take the most money from Wallstreet lobbyists in the history of any presidential campaign history, proceeds to advance their agenda, but then yet pretend to support the Occupy movement.

Big house shows are the flavor of Lake County

So, I went for the second time last Saturday to the “house” off 83 near the Walmart for not just a party this time, but a show as well with four bands playing.  A house show eh? Its going to suck right? Nope, not at all. It ended up turning into one of the best ideas for local shows I’ve seen all year.  It was so awesome in fact, that I lost my phone and most likely my dignity, because I’m positive I probably said some stupid things brought on by a somewhat inebriated stupor.  All that night, I kept going back to my car to grab the beer I had locked in there, and I am shocked that I didn’t lock my keys in the car, nor do several faceplants in the rough gravel/grass parking lot that is really hard to see in the dark.

I walked with a beer in one hand, a cigarallo in the other, and plenty of excitement as I tried to figure out how I was going to get into the garage where the music was coming from. After me and Ricardo managed to open one of the garage sliding doors, I discovered a garage that was almost three times the size of a normal garage, filled with a ton of people all having a great time.  For a free show, the sound wasn’t bad at all.  Somehow I can actually remember all the names of the four bands that played: The Cheyenne Line, Vanitas, I Made You Myself,  and Waking Giants.  This is strange, considering my memory of the night is slightly fuzzy.

After the bands played, we were going to party inside the house, so I decided to make sure to start drinking early so that the alcohol induced state would make me more likely to mosh. Well, it worked, and I went nuts, or at least I think I did.  I was also suprised by Vanitas. I liked what I heard. There was also a cover that night of a Blink-182 song. I can’t remember who did it nor which song it was, but it was awesome.

Now I went to this show with a plan to mosh. Moshing for me is always easier when you just aren’t as aware of the flying kick that is aiming toward your face. It almost feels like slow motion.  You get hit, a drunken laugh comes out of you, and you get up and keep going.  I’d like to point out that this is an accomplishment for me. Especially me.  As a small 5 foot 7 guy, I usually get knocked across the room when someone rams into me. Sometimes I imagine what taking a Steve Mrozek tackle would feel like, specifically with his bear suit on.  Who knows, the fur might cushion the hit a bit.  He still scares me in the pit though.

This is the first show that I’ve actually gone all out and thrown down since Warped Tour back in the summer. The garage got pretty crowded for the first two bands, but it died away a bit for the last two bands that played unfortunately. Still however, the energy was there in a way I haven’t seen at a local show before in a while. It felt good to be surprised.  Since when does anyone expected a garage show to be awesome and filled with energy?

 Waking Giants kicked some ass that night. For some reason, I kept doing power-jumps to them before I would throw down.  Whenever I do power-jumps of any kind, it means that I’m really feeling the energy, and that I’m going to feel the bruises tomorrow. (I can’t even remember the last time I did power-jumps at a show.)  I would have loved to taken some pictures and video of the night, but I have a crappy flip-phone which I can’t find a cable for to connect to my laptop to get the pictures and video off of it. I know some people took some pictures of the show, perhaps they will put some of them up.

I really hope to see some more shows here.  Hopefully the owners of the house will have some more shows put on, as long as house and the outside doesn’t look like Woodstock the next day. We just have to hope the cops don’t show up and a bunch of people run toward the forest in the back because of the numerous drugs their on and/or are carrying on them.

Let me emphasize it one more time: an awesome show, with a beer in your hand, and a smoke in the other, moshing to what you love, and an after party to make you forget your bruises. This doesn’t happen often in this area. So next time, come out to a free show like this, and don’t bother wasting your money at Clearwater where you will probably be roughed up by angry security wannabe bouncers.   Mark my words though, at the next show like this, I’m going to pick up change in the pit. That’s right, I’m bringing it back.

Come to your show? Music please! Shed your apathy as well.

So I keep getting facebook invites from people and bands to come out to shows and hear bands I’ve never heard of before. Okay, fine. I go to check out their facebook or whatever website they have and I find out that there is no music posted. None.

This has happened enough times to make me go on a rant about it. Not just about this, but the amount of apathy that ends up affecting me to the point where I don’t have much money to go to shows.  Occasionally I’ll go to a show with bands whose music I haven’t been able to hear, either because I didn’t have time, or they didn’t have any music out. However that only happens if the venue is very very close to me. With the price of gas nowadays, I’m not driving down to Milwaukee and shelling out cash for a ticket to hear a band whose music I’ve never heard because they have no music posted anywhere.

There’s more to blame then just the fact that there is no music released. Going to a show cost money. Alot of it. It might not seem like alot when you live in your parent’s basement, but when you are paying rent, car insurance, utilities, household expenses of every sort, ect, you don’t exactly have alot of spending money. If your lucky, Taco Bell, Ramen, Oatmeal, U-Torrent, and Mediafire become close compatriots in your depressing plight.

That’s over 100 miles round trip. 

 Now for some numbers. Its over a 150 mile round trip to go down to Mojoes, over 100 miles to The Rave, and at least 90 to go down to Bartlett, and at least 50 miles in a round trip. (From Grayslake, Illinois)  That’s adds up in gas as fast as a scene girl’s hair lights on fire.  Throw in the additional roll of the dice in desperate hope that the sound guy is competent so that the bands don’t sound like crap, and it’s not exactly a persuasive argument for me to want to get off my ass and bother going.  

In part this is all your FAULTS! I’ll share some of that blame as well.  I’m tired of hearing, “It doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care!”   Wrong, deuche bag, it does. Stop being mad bro and realize that  your widespread apathy makes sure that we are all equally screwed over when the newest tax is approved in the hell-hole state of Illinois. (Gas tax anyone?)

Dick Durban 

 Pro-tip: Stop voting for or not voting against politicians who promote policy that makes the odds of the survival of the music scene as likely as not being mobbed for money by the homeless who stalk Union Station.  Get involved. When the newest gas tax is endorsed in favor of providing more money for “education”  or new social programs, tremble in fear, because it just might cost you some additional fans making it to your show.

Stop complaining that it now costs extra in Illinois to order Merch off a bands website and instead raise your middle fingers to the man on the right who loves to kiss the asses of special interest groups who obviously don’t care if we can make it to the next show or buy a shirt.

Remember, high prices, gas included, doesn’t just affect you.  It also might prevent bands from even being able to show up because they haven’t been able to sell enough merch to shell out the 100$ needed in gas to put in their rusty van to get to the next show.

Pro-tip: it’s hard to get people to come out to shows nowadays, even free ones.  A lack of promotion, communication, competent bookers, and sometime lack of overall fans for the bands playing produces shows that you quickly forget ever occurred, regardless of how many kids you may have trashed with your pit skills in the non-existent pit.  On top of all this, it really sucks when you actually go to a show and the fact that there is almost no one there guarantees an atmosphere of a bar populated by fellows aged 40+.

I can’t stress enough just how important it is for there to be alot of people at a show. The more people you have there, the more energy at the show. It’s almost a given. I for one hate going to shows where it feels dead and when you hear the impending “Everyone Move!” shout from the stage, no one is around to move. But we all decrease the chances of this happening and people moving with apathy and stupidity.

If gas was back down to a dollar, even two, I can guarantee you that there would be alot more people at shows, regardless of how many spin kicks they had to endure from hate moshers.  Instead hard times, apathy, cronies, and leeches off the system have ensured that me, you, and anyone else making under 15$ an hour has less money in our pockets to afford these mundane luxuries.

When we have more money in our pockets that’s not taken from us in an excuse to fund some new program that we will never be able to participate in or see a return, “cough social security”, we will be able to afford to go to more shows, buy more merch, and pay for the inevitable hospital bills at the next The Acacia Strain show. I thought this was common sense.  But apparently, it’s not, so we have to suffice with throwing down in our homes as a substitute as the neighbors/parents look at us with confused faces.   Hopefully my ceiling fan and my dignity remains intact.

So if you’re going to bother asking people to go to a show, promote the hell out of it, make sure people are actually going to go, and have some music up so that I, as well as others, know that your band doesn’t sound like Niki Minaj.

Children Of Fire – Oh Sleeper. The best concept album of the year.

    It’s been a good year for metal. Every kind of it. Ranging from the new The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red, Of Mice & Men, Life In Your Way, and Oh Sleeper to Carnifex, Close Your Eyes, Trivium, Born Of Osiris, and Structures, there is a lot of good music to go around.

My personal favorite of this year so far, hands down, is Children Of Fire by Oh Sleeper. It is probably one of the best albums I’ve listened to in years.  This is the Michelangelo of not only the genre as a whole, but of the year. I’ve been sick of horrid clean vocals that sound like teenage girls are singing the choruses, (“cough” Alesana, A Skylit Drive, ect.) something that the guitarist of Oh Sleeper has managed to avoid. Not only does he avoid it, he demonstrates the best clean vocals I’ve heard in any sort of metal-core in a long time.

The screaming is surprisingly completely legible, something that is sometimes a rarity nowadays. The album doesn’t fall into the repetitive groove, but rather has songs that are perfectly chosen.

– The haunting beauty of the family ruin.   The comparison of conscious vs. action is something that one will want to listen closely to. This song gave me chills as I listened to it at night walking through my neighborhood.

“She finds him by the fire, His clothes have got him dripping from his crimes. He beckons her, “Sweet daughter,” The voice that once avenged her younger life.

So ironic, its ironic, its ironic that you’re contemplating murder while I’m educating you in mercy”

-The tragic lyric, almost depressing lyrics of Hush Yael that illustrate a child’s attempt to survive human brutality.  It send chills up your spine, the lyrics telling a true story.

“Wet your jaws for the world. We’re going back to the darkest hour where our kind has confirmed, we are the masters of sin and slaughter.”

– The acoustic feeling melody of Means To Believe.  The theology communicated by this song is something to ponder.  Make sure to actually listen very closely and look beyond the surface of the song.

If the blind can see you, and the lame can meet you, will the dead embrace you if you never gave them the means to believe?

-The brutality of The Marriage of Steel and Skin.  A deep, yet very disturbing outlook of vengeance, action, and blood.  What can be justified?

“Daughter! Sweet daughter! What has brought this bed of blood? What man? What man has entered my home?”

-The best quick 20 seconds of technical riffage this year in Dealers Of Fame. It’s always a hard feat to pull off technicality that doesn’t sound forced, but rather flows perfectly.  If you skip to 1:45, you’ll know what  I’m talking about. If you listen to the whole song though, you’ll understand why it fits like a work of art.

Innocence turned its head at 19 as the two screamed, ‘Don’t try to save us. We’ll prove we’re man enough. Look how they chase us.All we need is fame fame fame.'”

    Children of Fire proves once again that well thought out album concept themes can pack a punch that stands out from the smorgasbord of repetitive material that flows through the scene today.  The lyrics of this album are very powerful and may be some of the deepest I’ve ever heard, so much so that they go down to a very deep philosophical notions of human nature. This is truly an album with lyrics that actually present strong imagery to the listener that can be visualized. Some of it is truly horrifying.

    To enjoy this album to its fullest, it must be listened to as a whole at least several times. Many of the songs are based off some of the brutality of human nature. This ranges from songs about Russian teens who murdered in the pursuit of fame, a daughter who contemplates killing her father, to a child who witnesses the murder of his family.  But the meanings of these songs are much deeper then the stories told by them.

   Now concerning our local scene, I haven’t been too impressed lately. Remember, competent and talented originality always brings the best music to the forefront. Stop copying and start innovating. I love breakdowns, but can you always force one in every song? There’s always ways to create a piece of music that still motivates the windmills to commence, the long hair to headbang, and the onlookers to stare with jaws dropped.

   I’m always interested in new bands coming out of the scene from around here. Now that I work third-shift and my Ipod is always cranking for 8 hours, I’ve got plenty of time for new music.  For those of you interested in just more than music, podcasts, lectures, sermons, audiobooks, ect are always welcome, regardless of the content.

Feeling a major amount of August Burns Red

Ever since Milwaukee Warped Tour and seeing August Burns Red, TDWP, ADTR, and numerous bands, I’ve been in a mood for something moving and heavy, but with a bit of technicality thrown in there.

 One of the songs August Burns Red played for their set, was Meddler.  I had forgotten just how good of a song this was until they played it live. One reason for this is that my favorite album of theirs is Messengers which I primarily listen to when I decide to listen to ABR.

Since the people filming in milwaukee didnt seem to film alot of their set, or in particular, Meddler, and put it on youtube, the music video will have to suffice.

The whole song in general has been pumping me up, not just the breakdown, which is a rarity for me. I’ve probably listened to this song alone over 50 times in the last 5 days.  Sometimes, you just can’t get it out of your head and you have to keep listening to it.

Plan to post quite a few more times this week. Still working on writing down everything that happened several Tuesday’s ago during Milwaukee’s Warped Tour, and I’m looking at two newer bands that have just come out in the area. One of those includes Waking Giants.

Warped Tour 2011 in Milwakuee

Well, its been about 2 months, but I’m about to throw myself back into the music scene this summer. I’m planning on going to several local shows coming up, and of course Warped Tour in Milwaukee on July 19th.

I’m really pumped for the lineup this year which has some great live bands on there this year. The only concern I have is that bands I want to see will be playing at the same time on different stages. Because of that I strongly considered going to the Tinley Park Warped Tour yesterday, but its too much of a hassle to do 6 miles worth of walking and catch the equivalent of 4 Metra trains for a round trip.

The bands I’m pumped for this year include:

Abandon All Ships – Yea, faggots and all that, I know.
Asking Alexandria – Yea, that’s right. What can I say, they were good live when I saw them.
August Burns Red
A Day To Remember
The Devil Wears Prada
Enter Shakari – Hell yea
Hellogoodbye – Yea, I’m going to sing along with “Here In Your Arms”
Motionless In White – The lead singer looks like Marilyn Manson Jr, but please, ignore that. 
Of Mice & Men – The new album is good, and they have a very good reputation for live shows.
Paramore – I loved Paramore before they were huge. Definitely seeing them.
The Word Alive – Sick band…
Winds Of Plague – Legendary live shows. 
We Came As Romans
Woe Is Me 

Bands I’m not pumped for:

A Skylit Drive – The lead singer sounds like a girl
Miss May I – sucks live
Dance Gavin Dance
The Acacia Strain – Too many bro-core kids for my taste doing spin kicks. That and every song sounds the same.

I’d love to meet up with some people there.  My transportation is already set, but I’m keeping an eye out. Oh and remember, you can bring stuff in!!! That includes food, and any beverage with a cap. (Bottled Water)

I’ll do some reminiscing of how amazing it will be on July 20th.

Must Go To Show – Monsters and KIDS last show.

Hang your head in utter despair.  Expect to see a reduction in flat brimmed baseball caps and jersey’s. Expect to see less spin kicks in crowded rooms. Expect to see a few less fights between testosterone driven tough bro-kids at The Oasis.  Illinois, or more specifically, the Lake County area is losing two of its heaviest bands, KIDS and Monsters, who are both breaking up after their final show May 28th in Kenosha at the Unity Lodge

What will happen to the Hardcore/Beatdown scene now? Well it appears that Kingmaker and Demolisher will probably end up taking their place in the local scene, though it will be tough to replace Monsters.  I’m somewhat bummed as I actually liked both bands.  If I wanted to receive a bloody nose, a bruised hip, or a shattered ego, I knew exactly what shows I needed to go to.

Now we can look forward to some of the local following of Monsters and KIDS migrating to Demolisher. Lucky us.  Demolisher, the “heaviest band on earth” according to the prolific, brilliant, and wise Sergeant D of MetalSucks, will be conducting ultra low down-tempo beat down riffs to keep up the heaviness and the nose bleeds in the local scene.  No, I’m not being a hater,  I just get bored of extremely slow breakdowns which make up the majority of each of their songs.  Don’t get me wrong though, If I really want something really heavy, I definitely don’t mind putting these badasses on.

There is a ton of other bands playing this show including Kingmaker and Weekend FM, two new bands playing their first show, and facebook attendance of 400 people so far. Looks pretty good to me. Be there, cause I sure will be!

Sworn In: A Welcome Suprise to the Lake County scene.

 Originally I kind of passed these guys because someone, you know who you are, described them as Kingmaker 2.0.  That was a poor and inaccurate description as Sworn In sounds nothing like Kingmaker.

Anyway skip the first song, Catharsis and listen to it last. I frankly don’t know why they chose it to be their first track off the EP uploaded on to Facebook, but the other four songs easily make up for it.  In terms of listening carefully to their stuff, I’ve been to their shows both as Sworn In and Buried By The Ocean.  They didn’t shock me live, but then who does at The Oasis?

Some of the jazzy feeling ambient riffs are actually quite well done and well placed, which I can appreciate. You eventually tire of the “Hey, let’s throw some cool sounding ambient riffs in here so people will think we are melodic and talented, as well as extremely hardcore.”   Throw in some promotional spinkicks, middle fingers, and thumping of the chest woven attire with catchy slangs such as “Snappin’ necks and cashin’ checks”, crossed out Juggalo long-sleeves, and Lebron James jersies. Bad-ass right?

That said, the sheer well composed nature of some of the ambient melodic riffs could have these guys hire themselves out to Restaurants to play groovy jazz music and excel at it. I’m convinced of that.  That said, this is probably some of the best ambient riffage I’ve heard in the scene. Misery Signals and FFTD might have nothing on these guys provided Sworn In keeps up this kind of writing.  Yea, I’m still quite surprised by that.

Don’t worry or be thrown off though, the heaviness is definitely there. Plenty of two-stepping bro-core riffs abound pleasing even the most picky scenester or bad-ass hardcore kid, your choice.  Breakdowns? Yea, they got those. Some fast ABR/TGIish feeling ones, some of the Oceano/TAS slow-paced breakdowns.  There is a chaotic feel to this as well, which isn’t actually thrown off by the synth, which really fits in well and give the EP a great catchy feel to it.  I’ll point out again, I’m really shocked by this.  The original stuff I heard by Buried By The Ocean never really stood out to me, but this EP is as if they somehow improved 100-fold.

 My personal favorite is “Welcome To The NHK” which bathes the listener with over six minutes of beat-down riffs, a catchy heavy screaming chorus consisting of the very legible, “Take, take It all from me, I’ve given so much, when you will you see?”   Now I’m not looking for anything remotely resembling lyrical substance in our scene considering 95% of the songs are all about someone’s relationship, how it’s broken, and how they hate them/love them, ect. This EP isn’t really an exception, but the music makes up for it. Besides who really thinks about the lyrics when they are throwing down and sending the 12 year olds nearby flying?

My second closest favorite was ex, a song completely devoted to you guessed it; how much said ex sucked, horrible, ect. All that good stuff. Overlooking that, this song has some of the best ambient melodic riffs I’ve heard from any local band around here, or for most bands around for that matter.  Specifically I was enraptured by some of the piano/snyth work in the song and was even further surprised by a well developed solo that resisted the urge to wreck itself with plenty of shredding so that the metal kids could headbang to it and twaddle their fingers in idolized awe. Remember, I hate solos.

If you haven’t download their five song EP. They’ve provided it free via mediafire, which makes me quite happy so I don’t have to hide my illegal piracy ninja skills from Josh Woods who will troll me to the end of eternity if he catches a breath of my devious and decrepit activities.

Anyway, check this out. I’ve been recently looking for a local band to stand out from the crowded and rather disappointing metal/hardcore Lake County scene and these guys just might be it.

The World Ends With You – Suprisingly Catchy

Well, I have a new guilty pleasure; The World Ends With You.  I first heard these guys at a show with The Color Morale and Thyateira.  I actually mistook them for Thyateira and was shocked that Thyateira had changed their sound so much.

Anyway, my first impression was that this was a band completely geared toward high-school girls who would be jumping, screaming, shrieking, all of that good stuff for a band like this.  I am however proud to admit it. The next time I get a chance to see these guys, I will be up there with those high-school girls defying their shrieks, singing along, and absorbing every moment of their set.

Now why would I do this? After listening to their complete Commonality EP which they wisely put up in its entirety on Facebook, unlike some other bands “Hint, Hint; nudge, nudge.” I’m really starting to enjoy what I’ve heard. Simply put, I can’t get their stuff out of my head. What do they sound like? That’s a bit tough, but I still get vibes that remind me of Hawthorne Heights, Before Their Eyes, Vanna, and For All Those Sleeping.   Simply put, I’m really really digging it.

It has everything I want –  Catchy vocal melodies, well placed riffage,  decent breakdowns, and screaming that perfectly fits. Did I mention those essentially catchy choruses? Yea those.

The vocals are a tad bit higher then my preference, but live they were spot on. Let this be further proof that I make exceptions for clean vocals that actually sound good in this area. Congratulations to “The World Ends With You.”  I’m getting local show fever. In fact, I wasn’t planning on it, but I’m going to go to that show Saturday, April 30th at the Elk Grove Community Center. Be there.

The Music Industry Brought Pirating On Itself


Ideas have consequences.

No one cares until those consequences effect you.  Usually, people notice an effect of an idea when it effects the all mighty-dollar – which it has for the music industry.

We are seeing those consequences right now as music labels, Hollywood media giants, and software producers of all kind rant and rave about lost profits which they will never make back. They among others have been victims of the “free” and “I want it now” mentality. While free online news has sharply degraded the quality of said news, they didn’t plant the seeds of their own demise in the same way the music and most of the media industry has.

At the core, they are victims of a philosophy that has permeated every part of society; post-modernism.  Everything is relative, my opinion vs yours! Your right isn’t my right!

In the constant battle to fight against the possibility of anything absolute,  unintended consequences have been created which are having implications most people never even considered.

One of the first things you hear when someone is lashing out at illegal downloading is, “It’s stealing!

When we hear this we have to ask ourselves, “Is It?”

We are reminded time and time again through commercials on TV, the internet, radio, and even the movie theater just how bad stealing music is. We wouldn’t steal a car? So don’t steal music. Uh huh.

This makes one big assumption: Stealing is wrong. Is it? Well that I guess that depends nowadays.  If there is no actual concrete right and wrong, and if it is just my opinion vs yours, can you really tell someone that stealing is wrong? Just because the actual political participants in society decide to make something illegal, doesn’t make the act itself morally wrong. Instead it just communicates that said individuals have the power to enforce their will/law upon the rest of society. This of course doesn’t justify law in the slightest, or determine its moral quality and substance.

Yes, the government might catch you stealing, and punish you for it, but if you can get away with it, which you usually can when it comes to piracy, why bother obeying the law? After all its just society enforcing its relative opinion and perception of morality of upon the populace. In fact, some people don’t even care if they are stealing. They either don’t believe what they are doing is wrong, or they don’t care if society says its stealing; they insist that it isn’t stealing. Can society really tell them they are wrong?

Society has essentially deviated into what Nietzsche predicted last century: Might makes right.

Teenagers, and our generation, no matter how stupid we are or are deemed to be realize this.   This of course has much farther reaching consequences then just piracy. Take any “crime” for instance. If it’s just my interpretation and opinion of what is and isn’t murder, theft, rape, ect vs yours and its just a matter of who has more power and/or influence to make their interpretation law, where does that leave us?

Well who is to blame for this? Blame yourself. Blame the last few centuries of people desperate to eradicate any idea of any absolute truth on which to base our laws. Why is absolute truth so important in this discussion?

Well, if you simply believe that law and morality are man-made constructions, and that there is no absolute concerning them, then you have no reason to follow any law. Instead you are given even more reason to do whatever you want, when you want. The only thing you have to worry about is being caught.  Remember we tried appeal to “Reason” above all else. What we found out is that we can only reason so far. We found out too many things cant be put in a test-tube or tested according to the scientific method. Welcome to reality. It sucks.

If you do however ascribe to the idea of an absolute truth regarding all aspects of life, including morality, well then you can’t just dismiss law(s). You are forced to assume that law comes from a higher power then just ourselves. This however has a lot of implications which some people aren’t willing to accept. You have to wonder to yourself, “What about the existence of the concept of absolute truth scares people so much?” Sure, we can argue over what may be the truth, and what isn’t as some in society still do, but remember; The truth is out there. It can be found.

We as society can’t have it both-ways. Choices will have to be made.

When bands, or more specifically labels and the music industry – complain about “piracy”, they may want to address the problem at the roots.  They’ve done so much to promote this post-modern philosophy in popular culture, and now  they are suffering for it.  Ideas have consequences. We’ve constantly been told through songs about how we should determine our own our own truth and morality, and that’s exactly what we are doing.  This of course has consequences of all kinds, intended and unintended.

If bands and/or the industry want to persuade their audiences about just how bad online piracy and stealing are, they might want to promote a different kind of ideology. Remember, if there is no right and no wrong of any sort that isn’t determined by human constructs and methods then can you really tell anyone they shouldn’t steal anything? No, you would be merely just be forcing your humany constructed morality upon the general populace, except with ability to back said morality up with physical force, fines, jail time, ect, nothing more. This is what post-modernism has done to us, and what it will continue to do.  Bands, labels, politicians, ect should never again tell us not to illegally download music, unless they want to tell us that there is an objective truth that exists which holds that stealing is wrong.  Until that point, steal, kill, ect, and as long as you can get away with it, all the power to you!