Sorry for the absence - life has been hectic.
Okay, talking about metal.......Last week I reviewed the most excellent Napalm Death show, and a couple of weeks before that I covered the Kyuss Lives! show....I'll get to that a bit later. Before that I reviewed ( but didn't shoot) Pearl Jam, which isn't 'metal,' but it was great. I hadn't seen the band since the mid-nineties, so that was a treat. A couple of days after Pearl Jam, I shot the Weedeater show, which was fantastic! This was the third time I'd seen them in the past couple of years, and their best, to date.
I had slightly slagged Weedeater - or at least one of the members - in the past, and while this isn't a 'mea culpa' moment, seeing them perform was so incredible it made me re-think my inital comments - not to whether the rumours are true, but how they should define my fandom over the band. They are, essentially, a electrified, sludgy Blues band, but some deep, Delta - kinda blues that gets you in the gut. After I stopped taking photos, I hung out in the back of the club and boogied my Black ass off. I don't know if I ever will meet them in person, but a major hat-tip goes out to them. Dixie Dave is simply a hard-working, incredible musician - and this was the third time I'd seen him play in two different bands in three different cities, this year. Awesome.
As for Kyuss Lives! Man, they put on a show. If you read the review I linked to above, one of the openers, MonstrO was a bit of a disaapointment but I wouldn't mind seeing them again to check them out. John Garcia was (I'm tired of saying 'awesome') but awesome - I was wondering what he would sound like after all these years. To me, being able to see Scott Reeder play bass was a treat - someone at the show later told me that he strings his base upside down. The nerdy part of me was totally thrilled!
This story leads me into my next subject....so after the prerequisite three song-limit shoot, I hung out in the front and really enjoyed the rest of Kyuss Lives! set. I had decided to leave a bit early to catch a cab back to the subway but as I waded through the audience, some random white dude got in my face and yelled "fucking Nigger" in my face. I was shocked, and with about twenty white folks staring at ME - not the guy who just got in my face - embarrased. I continued walking, trying to shake off the shock and mild humiliation, and after walking quite a distance, grabbed a cab and made my way home.
Nevertheless, it ruined my evening. There was an earlier issue that had slightly dampened my mood at the show, but this ruined it. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't been carrying about 2 grand worth of equipment, that I had been a bit more reactive. If that was the case, I like to think that I would have ripped his nasty mouth off his face. But I didn't. I just went home and thought about why I am even doing this shit in the first place.
This shit tires me. I have intereviewed a number of Black women involved in the metal scene in one way or another, and a few have told me stories like this. Hell, I've experienced this thing before. But I'm starting to get real tired. I spent more money getting to the fucking venue than I did shooting and writing the concert review.....and to get that shit from a fucking stranger? I was seriously bummed.
As many of you (who still read this blog) have guessed, I also write about race, specfically for Blogher.com, where I've been writing for over five years. Last week was one of those times where my music life and my cultural activist life collided - kinda. About this time last week, I read an infuriating article over at MetalSucks.net - I won't link it - and something went off in my head. After posting a brief rant on Facebook, my editor at Hellbound asked if I wanted to write about it, and I did. You can read the result here - not my finest piece of work, but adequate.
My thinking about when writers 'joke' about women in metal , that they need to do something else. There are already issues about credibility for women musicians and fans and I don't think that you ( as a man) should use that in order to make a buck by further slandering them. After reading the many "Black women ain't shit" articles this year, the bruhaha over Revolver's "Hottest Chicks in Metal...er....Hard Rock" I had had enough. Coupled with the incident at the Kyuss Lives! show, I was a bit raw. But most importantly I agreed to write the response because I knew no one else would.
This is the thing about writing about racism and sexism. You have to be brave in order to do it, because you are going to catch a lot of shit. Many people don't like confrontation - and neither do I, really - but because of that no one else - as far as I know - stepped up to the plate. On Facebook, the link to my post got passed around and it was amazing how many people said "well, I would have just ignored the Troll (the writer). "
I understand when you tell people about an overtly sexist or racist incident and they respond with 'just ignore it.' When I was about 5 or 6 and came home from school and told my mother about some racial incident - not even fully understanding it myself but knowing that it wasn't fair - that's what I was told. I knew, from then that she was wrong but that in the future, I would have to keep that stuff to myself.
Well, not really. I did keep things 'to myself' for many years, until I realized that many times, when people say that shit to you and you don't respond, they think that they have won. And in some ways, they have, because even white or non-black folks who have witnessed the behaviour will not do anything either, even though they may secretly be offended. When I got to be in my mid-to-late thirties, I started talking. And writing about things. And while it might not make a dent in anyone else's life, it sure does in mine.
I don't like feeling like a victim, which is why I write. I don't particularly like when people get away with doing asshat things, which is why I responded to that particular post. I am am pretty passionate about the music I write about and love, and feel personally offended when I am told either that I do not belong in that scene, or that as a woman I 'should' be a certain way in order to get some silent approval or to get the male 'gaze........' it doesn't sit well with me.
Next up: The bruhaha over Slutwalk. Ugh. I will say that Racialicious has been doing an amazing job in covering the movement and the lack of representation of women of colour within it. But I'll discuss that issue ( which is worthy of a entire post) at a later date.