Columns | What Ruins Local Shows

by John Stahlman

As someone who has played, and went to local shows for like a decade, I have seen bands that were really killer, and blew my mind, and others that just made me wish I spent my $4 on a couple of 40's instead. I do not normally say a band outright sucks, but there are some bands that just annoy the piss out of me, and tend to just make for a boring show, and then people wonder why their music scene dies.

Tᴏᴘ 5 Bᴀɴᴅs Tʜᴀᴛ Wɪʟʟ Rᴜɪɴ Your Lᴏᴄᴀʟ Sʜᴏᴡ

5. Tʜᴇ Bᴀɴᴅ Tʜᴀᴛ Oɴʟʏ Pʟᴀʏs 3 Sᴏɴɢs

I get that some bands have to start somewhere, but unless your three songs take up the whole set list, add some covers, or write more material before playing. It just seems like a waste of time to see a music group play for 8 minutes and then leave.

This is especially bullshit when you go to a show that is supposed to be, like, 3 hours long, and it ends in a half hour because the show was booked with nothing but bands that do this. It also hurts the promoter who rented the venue, out of the amount of money they paid to keep the place open long enough for bands to have a half-hour set each.

This results in the promoter not wanting to waste their money, and just not even bothering in the first place. Nice job, guys.

4. Tʜᴇ Sᴇʟғ-Rɪɢʜᴛᴇᴏᴜs Pᴜɴᴋ Bᴀɴᴅ Tʜᴀᴛ Dᴏesɴ'ᴛ Sʜᴜᴛ the Fuck Uᴘ

I have nothing against political bands, or bands that stand for an agenda, but I really fucking hate it when the entire set is based on how your views are better than everyone else's and how we should be ashamed of ourselves because we:
  1. drink
  2. eat meat
  3. vote
  4. don't vote
  5. live and breathe
Just fucking play. If I wanted to go to a concert with nothing but holier-than-thou, fascist bullshit ranters telling me how to live my life, I'd go see Ted Nugent.

(At least with Nugent, there's supposed to be the bullshit rockstar mentality of him being at a higher standing than the audience. In a local show the audience and the performers are equals, so treat us all like your equals and do what you're there to do: play.)

If you want to play a song and then just rant, go to a damn protest, and play there.

Or create a blog or a zine.

3. Tʜᴇ Pᴏᴘ Pᴜɴᴋ Cᴏᴠᴇʀ Bᴀɴᴅ

This is something that I run into all the time. Like, I've been to shows where 5 bands played the same Blink 182 and Fallout Boys songs, over and over. Like, how about actually writing original material, so everything doesn't just sound like an iPod playlist on fucking repeat?

2. Tʜᴇ Oᴠᴇʀᴛʟʏ Hᴀʀᴅ-Ass Mᴇᴛᴀʟ ᴀɴᴅ Bᴇᴀᴛᴅᴏᴡɴ Hᴀʀᴅᴄᴏʀᴇ Bᴀɴᴅ

Metal is known for its "hyper-masculinity," but in most cases it's tolerable, and is just based on looks, and not their actual personalities.

However, every so often, some douchebags with ʀᴏɪᴅ-ʀᴀɢᴇ decide to start a band, and then just try to be heavy and "hardcore", so they can seem cool. These bands usually have the singer beating on his chest like a gorilla, threaten people for not voting for them at the battle of the bands, and flex their muscles a lot.

The worst thing about these bands is that they attract even more douchey friends, who gang up and beat on people who call them out for being a douche.

Not to mention, most people in these bands are in love with Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch, and will stop at nothing to replicate the shitty sound of those bands.

1. Tʜᴇ Mᴇᴛᴀʟᴄᴏʀᴇ/Dᴇᴀᴛʜᴄᴏʀᴇ Bᴀɴᴅ

First of all, I wanna say this does not include bands who have the sound of the first wave metalcore bands (like Earth Crisis, Shah Hulud, Bio Hazard, and Chokehold). The number-one type of band that can ruin a local show are bands that wanna be Whitechapel, Bring me the Horizon, or A Day to Remember. Say what you want about these bands, they have their fan base (which may have fucked tastes in music, but whatever) and it's not the fact that they play metalcore—It's the fact that they all sound the fucking same.

These local metalcore bands (or deathcore bands—both are fucking guilty of this) try so hard to be like their idols, they bring nothing new to the table. I guarantee if you walk out in the middle of a local metal band's set and come back with your eyes closed during the next band's set, you'd swear it was the same fucking band.

Every time I go to a show anymore it seems all it is is "chug-chug breakdown, off-pitched, flat, clean, pop punk vocals," and shallow growls and screams during yet-another-fucking breakdown. The local metalcore bands are so formulaic that it just makes everything so boring, so no one fucking cares that a band is playing, and most of the crowd just flocks to the bar. (Unless it's a dry show, then the crowd just stands there and stares, or makes fun of the kids with their Hot Topic/Warped Tour shirts, trying to mosh to the br00t4l bands.)

I, on the other hand, go throw up in a fucking trash can.

Now, in all honesty, I would not have a problem with these bands if they just did something that was their own, instead of being carbon copies. It's like being a cover band without being a cover band.

John Stahlman is the current bassist of the punk trio Omission and has also been in numerous other bands in the northwestern Pa scene, including Paint Thinner, TxSxOxDx, Made Not Born, Wydell, and Choke The Bastard (now Vermin Warfare). He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and majored in Broadcast Communications with a minor in Public Relations, if that has any merit to it anymore. While at college he hosted a few radio shows at the campus' student radio station WDRQ1620 AM, most notably the Underground Vault, which played local music, and also covered the Biological and Health Sciences department while writing for the student newspaper The Source. Stahlman is currently unemployed, in debt, and has gotten to embrace even more of his nihilistic punk rock view of life.