Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Concert Madness Weekend

Traditionally 1-2 weeks prior is a stretch for planning events when my friends and I meet up. However, this particular weekend began construction almost 2 months in advance. I happened to get an email with details about a Fallout Boy concert held at the Field House on the RPI campus on Sunday Apr 26th. Using my handy-dandy student I.D. (Don't judge, when your college tuition is $40k/year then you can judge) I purchased tickets for myself, Andrew and Alex at the uber cheap price of $17 a pop (compared to $35 will-call). A month or so later Alex emails the gang - that's right, gang - with a list of Eve 6 concerts happening in the area over the next month. As it works out, we end up deciding on the free concert at Oneonta, about an hour away from me, that is on the Saturday before FOB plays. Thus, the concert madness weekend unfolded.

We ended up just meeting on Saturday in Oneonta, NY for the Eve 6 concert. It was really the first or second weekend of actual summer weather so it was very sunny and very warm. Did I mention that Oneonta has a couple of colleges? After our initial weave and bob to the right middle of the crowd we were around 50 feet from the stage. It really wasn't that crowded - nor looking back should it have been since Eve 6 was more than 4 hours away from playing - so working our way towards the stage was relatively easy.

The first two opening bands were pretty mundane, one an oldies cover band and the other a newer alternative cover band. The following setup/changeover took much longer than usual and if it weren't for an oversized beach ball and lively scenery things would have gotten very boring. Finally a DJ walked out on the stage and started playing some music. After a while he started mixing it up and using the turn tables. Our group made the comment that his transitions between songs was really rough and obnoxious. Little did we know that he is a relatively well known DJ who works with RAHZEL! That's right after a little more DJ torture, Rahzel made a surprise appearance!!!:

Not only was this a free concert, we got to see someone I never thought I'd see in person. In case you have never heard of Rahzel (in which case I recommend you do a quick search on YouTube), he is an amazing, if not the best in the world, beat-boxer. Andrew and I freshman year heard his claim to fame song, "If you're mother only knew." In the song he sings those words while performing all of the percussion instruments. It's one thing to hear it via speakers, it's a complete different experience to see it live. Your ears are constantly telling your eyes that they aren't getting the whole picture and that they need to look for a drum set.

The downside of a free concert is that no one paid to be there and is, on average, less enthused about every band/artist. To a point that they will have conversations and talk on the phone as if no one is performing. Case and point, Rahzel had to ask the sound guys to turn up the volume multiple times because, "I got people I can hear chatting up here in da front." For me this completely ruins the experience because everyone else isn't into it as much as you are. It seemed like Alex, Andrew and I were among maybe 30 other people who had even heard of Rahzel. Fortunately a group of guys - who I would normally consider just plain obnoxious with their over sized clothes and flat-brimmed hats - were overly expressive of their admiration of Rahzel. One of the guys would yell at the top of his lungs things like, "Rahzel, you're the man!" "Yo Rahzel!" until Rahzel actually acknowledged them with a "sup fellas." That got a "Rahzel said sup to me man!" Fortunately another couple bands came out and Rahzel made another appearance and by then the crowd was much more attentive.

Finally, the main attraction, Eve 6:

In all of the concerts I have been to there have never been as many crowd surfers as there were at this place. The crowd surfers in general are quite amusing but this was to the point where we would get bashed in the head every couple of minutes because we were just a couple rows from the front and apparently weren't paying enough attention. We ended up having our group and a couple other guys around us warn each other if someone was coming. Crowd surfing mayhem aside the Eve 6 was awesome. As always the most enjoyable songs were those that I knew the lyrics to, which in a way is ironic that you come to hear an artist play and end up enjoying it the most when you're singing and getting into it just as much. They did play a couple of new songs which 2 of the 3 ended up being really enjoyable (don't remember the names) so I look forward to downloading them (completely legally of course).


Yet another day of concert fun featuring FOB (Fallout Boy). As I mentioned earlier they played at the RPI Fieldhouse which normally a hockey rink which as you can imagine is at the opposite end from being designed for acoustic performance. To make things worse it was 10x louder than the concert the previous day. Lets not tally the total weekend damage to my hearing shall we. But this was the kind of loud where your clothes vibrate and your chest gets pounded with the base. Our college friend Gavin who Andrew happened to run into at the concert was wearing earplugs, which I was almost at the point of sucker punching him and taking them. To make things worse (yes I know I said that already so think 2x worse) this was an unusually warm weekend and they filled the arena with the performance/light showcasing fog to about 99% humidity.

Probably one of the most comical thought experiments during this concert was the result of heat/humidity and packed crowd combination. It was very obvious that between sets people were both overheating and getting claustrophobic. Ever couple minutes a girl would get crowd surfed (remember, between sets) or just put her arms up close to the front rails and the security/bouncers would pick them up and remove them. Part of me wonders if these (generally) girls would just take a deep breath and lower their heart rate if they wouldn't have overheated and panicked. But I suppose that's like trying to tell a crazed bull that red also is the color of pretty roses. (don't know where that came from) Anyway, what was more comical than that was the fact that in addition to throwing water bottles randomly in the crowd the security guys were almost bottle feeding those close to them. At one point I couldn't help but picture a bunch of livestock trying to get at a food or water source.


Monday you say? That's not the weekend anymore! Oh... but it sooo was. Andrew and Alex took the day off and hung around Schenectady/Albany. Andrew and I had read about an awesome board game Settlers of Canan so it was their mission to find and buy the game. They called me sometime before lunch and told me that they were out of stock which put a real damper on things. We had planned to meet at Quiznos for lunch and then for Andrew and Alex to head home because of the long drive. What happened instead was I showed up to Quiznos only to find that they had found the game and completely set it up on a Quiznos table! We ended up playing all through lunch and it was a blast. The goal was to get me to take off the rest of work that day but I had an important class that was mandatory so they agreed to leave later that evening so we could play after I finished work. Settlers of Catan FTW!

So endeth our concert madness weekend of 2009.

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