Hard Features

Hard Features

Gig Reviews & Special Features

September 22, 2007

Indianapolis Metal Fest I

by John Haseltine

I’ve been wondering for the past couple weeks whether or not I should even do a review for this show. I was there in the trenches from start to finish. A couple of folks told me just to stay quite about it because it would be a bit biased. Why? Well it had never officially been announced, but I had teamed up with Mr. Rob Mason on this show back in late May of this year. He pitched his vision of what he wanted to do with the fest and I thought it was somewhat of an honor for me to be asked to help out. So I did. What the hell, right?

Wow! Someone really could have warned me early on what I was getting myself into. Rob was already well underway with bands and sponsors and for the next couple months, that’s pretty much what we both continued doing. Putting on an event of this nature is no easy task. Especially for a couple guys new at the game. And with being new at the game came hesitation. From a lot of good potential sponsors and record labels. And with good reason I’m sure. Many have surely been taken for a ride in the past and did not want to take a chance with a couple of nice guys trying to put on a no pay to play metal fest. And in the Mid-West to boot.

One man jumped to the plate very early on. James McComas of Blind Prophecy Records. Without him, this event very well could have taken a serious nose dive. His belief in Rob and this show will never be forgotten by me and or by Rob. Thank you very much.

There was quite a bit of negative feedback in the area on booking a metal fest in Indianapolis. A lot of area fans downed it from the get go saying that Indy was not the place for a metal fest. And when it was announced that it would be held at two separate venues, there was even more negative response. But with the budget laid forth, sometimes you’ve just got to do what you got to do. So we pressed on with the two separate venues.

Having the show in two venues actually worked out kind of nice. One was at the Knights of Columbus Grand Ballroom where it was an all ages venue. The other, located directly across the street was at Birdy’s Live. This was set for the 21 and older crowd. There are some of those who feel this was lame, but considering finding a place to showcase 30 plus bands in one day on a start up budget, it went very well. Besides, a little exercise never hurt anyone.

So as the months rolled on approaching the show, so did our concerns. Will there be a good turn out? Will there be enough funds to cover the massive amounts of expenses that have piled up in preparation for the show? Will those in attendance enjoy themselves? Will there….? Will there….? Will there….?

For the better part of the day, I was as Rob, running my ass off. As were plenty of the volunteers who helped out with the show. So catching an entire set from the bands was near impossible for most of the day. But by jumping from venue to venue, I did catch bits from every band who played. With the exception of a couple bands that I just needed to be there for their entire sets. More so for personal reasons than any. Shunned, Temple Of Brutality & Soldiers Of Skrape. I’m affiliated with Shunned. Temple & Soldiers? All I’m gonna say is it was good hanging with both bands again. You guys fuckin’ rule!

Every other band that was on the bill played exceptionally well and sounded great. Both A & B Sound and Birdy’s Live did a great job with the production at both venues. Bands included Dying Earth, Purgatorium, Vise, A Moment Of Violence, Blood Tribe, Opiate, Deliver Us From Evil (thanks for the bass), Maggot Twat (a must see), 3 Ring Funeral, Embrace The Day, Exesion, The High Council, As They Sleep, Mercykill, Plaguesayer, Shadowside ( a crowd fav from Brazil with this being their first show in the U.S.), David La Duke, Pain Principle, Hemlock, Daath, Years Of Fire, Full Blown Chaos, Alabama Thunderpussy and the mighty Obituary.

There’s no mistaking that this excellent and diverse line-up is all due to the fact that Rob busted his ass to get this line-up nailed down. It was no easy task. There were a few bands who had to drop out in the last week or two that were greatly missed. Maybe next time.

There was a very positive attitude throughout the crowds at both venues and it did spill over to the KOC when Obituary was on stage. There were really no major problems that needed to be dealt with by security, who by the way did an awesome job, or by the police. There were approximately 1100 in attendance throughout the day. Maybe just a few under that. One of the first metal shows I’ve ever been to that was actually as peaceful as a Simon and Garfunkel show. Well maybe not that peaceful, but you catch my drift. I actually enjoyed jumping into the pit during part of Obituary’s set. It was an old-school pit feel. No assholes or giant rednecks just looking to knock someone out. Just some good old friendly violent thrashing fun.

A big thanks to all the vendors who came out. And to all the sponsors who also invested their time and dollars to make this event a success. A complete list of venders, sponsors and bands can be found at the Indianapolis Metal Fest website.

So biased or not, that’s pretty much how it went down. Give or take several more paragraphs of filler. I’ve seen a couple of the other reviews which have been positive and all the e-mails and My Space comments Rob has been receiving over the past few weeks have been tremendous. Thank you. All of you.

So until next year…..We’ll see you in the pit!