My son, John, had the quote of the night. We were waiting outside the downtown venue so that his brother, Matt, could turn in his ticket money and receive his evening time slot for the “Battle of the Bands”. John stated wistfully…
“I just hope they play better than they dress.”
We were obviously out of our comfort zone. My son, Matt, plays a mix of pop, americana, and country. The band members around us were heavy metal, screamo, rockers… black, ragged clothing and makeup, numerous studs and piercings, long, scraggly hair – lots of it.
We all began to wonder why were there.
It didn’t get any better. A solitary woman collected the money in the scary back alley behind the building. The under-age visitors would have to enter in that door at night to avoid the bar area in front. Ten bands would play 1/2 hour sets, starting at 4:00 in the afternoon; Matt would not go on until third from the end at 9:30 pm. I began to greatly regret having invited friends and their children to this “all-age” event.
We took on the adventure.
As the night continued on, it wasn’t really all that bad. Sure, it was loud with a few obscenities thrown in (I couldn’t understand most of the lyrics!), and not my usual music fare, but the people were respectful, the “mosh pit” minimal and under control, and most folks just listened casually to the music. Although it was a bar, those in charge clearly kept all drinking out of the “under-age” area; our group felt safe at all times. I am a regular at new cultural experiences internationally; it was good for me to step into a new culture at “home”.
Matt rocked the house.
Matt was the only non-heavy-metal performance, and he was the only one-man show… AND he won over the crowd… and won one of the top three spots with a chance in the finals! We couldn’t hardly believe it! I was very proud of my boy and very grateful for the friends who bought tickets and came to support him (not one of them a heavy-metal lover).
Common ground built bridges.
There was obvious mutual respect among the musicians. I was very impressed with the number of people who came over to Matt to tell him how much they enjoyed his part of the show. They appreciated his vocals, his looper and guitar skills, and his song writing. One man said, “I’m a metal-head, but that was awesome!”
As some of the bands played, I prayed for the young guys and girls in the bands. I prayed for the ladies who were there drinking alone. I smiled empathetically at the similarly-out-of-place other parents who were there to support their sons. I applauded fingers that flew rapidly over electric guitar necks, and drum sticks that pounded out amazing rhythms, and the synchronized harmony between groups that reflected many hours of practice and cooperation. There was plenty to praise… if I was willing to look.
The heavy metal bands taught me a lesson that night.
How do you handle new adventures? Can you appreciate those who are different from you? What crazy things have you done to support a family member or friend?