My killswitch has been engaged

As much as I talk about classical music here and everywhere, one would be inclined to think that is all I listen to. It’s not. In continuing the dichotomy that is Me, I listen to extremely varying styles of music. In fact my two favorite types of music are on complete opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Classical and bone crushing metal. Both genres get equal playing time and I believe it all evens out, which is probably the reason I don’t feel the need to listen safe, middle of the road music like U2 or R.E.M. Why would I go to a Thai eating establishment and order ‘medium’ sauce when I can mix the ‘hot’ and ‘mild’?

Last night I attended one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a long time. Killswitch Engage was in town for a brutal session of face stompin’ music. I remember the first time I heard Killswitch. Jake brought over a new group he wanted me to hear. This is standard fare as Jake loves to share his new musical discoveries with me. He popped in the CD and I was nearly instantly mesmerized. I remember dropping everything that I was doing and just taking in the music. Killswitch seemed to embody so much of how I thought ear bleeding metal should be. Yet, they were also ultimate dichotomy to metal music. They have incredibly crisp drums and guitar, but no self righteous guitar solos. Their singer can yell and scream like a maniac but he also sings very well. Their music is awesomely heavy yet all of their lyrics are positive with a message of hope, love, truth and good will towards mankind. I love it. I have never heard anything quite like them. The fast-paced drums and death metal guitars make me want to get punchy but the lyrics make me want to help you bandage all the wounds I caused. Nice right? Plus one of the things that sets Killswitch apart, is their lead singer/frontman is a tall, slightly pudgy black man. I’m not racist but seeing him at the concert I had to laugh. Here was a nicely dressed lead singer wearing a button up shirt and nice jeans (not baggy) backed by the typical rockers of today. Shaved heads with gotees down to their nipples, shorts so long I can’t tell if their long shorts or short pants, and chain wallets on the side. Appearances aside, the concert rocked hardcore.

I was looking forward to the concert but I’ve been so busy I really had forgotten about it until a day or two before the date. Phil and I were way late, and the line stretched all the way around the building and down the block. We thought we were going to get a horrible seat but the balcony provided us old men with great seats from a safe vantage point. I say safe vantage point because I was pretty sure there would be bodies flying at this show.

After the three yes three opening bands, Killswitch finally took the stage. Everyone in the balcony stood up and for once I was actually glad. Something strange happened to me as the guitars began to chunk their relentless riffs and the drums pounded their beefy beats. I found myself moving about, head-bobbing and punching the air like never before. Usually at a concert I might do the conservative head bang to the music or if it’s a really groovy song I might jump around a little bit but on this night I was moving about with purpose! It really suprised myself and I know it scared the hell out of Phil. No matter how much Phil likes a band or song, he will never go past the conservative head bang. His is so conservative you have to really look and see if he’s headbanging or if he just has a nervous twitch. For the first time ever I found myself actually wanting to go downstairs and mosh with the rest of the psychos. Not because I was angry, but because I felt PUMPED! After the concert I figured out why I wanted to go nuts. I am one of Pavlov’s dogs. Last year when I lost 30lbs you know who was there nearly every workout? That’s right, KSE. Even today they are my number one workout partner. So it makes sense when I saw them in concert my heartrate increased, my pupils dilated, my fists clenched and I felt like dropping down and doing 20……and pummelling Phil with fists of friendship.

I never did go down and mosh or crowd surf. My common sense kicked in before I could try anything stupid. Although at one point I was sure we were going to see disaster on the concert floor. In between songs the singer announced, “Alright I want to see to circles going around these posts, c’mon! c’mon!” In the middle of the Roseland are two large support posts that I have always felt are in horrible locations, but hey it keeps the roof above our heads. The crowd wasn’t really swirling until they instantly broke into this song and the swirling mass of bodies smashingly circled around the posts. It was an awesome sight to behold and it didn’t look like too many people ran into the poles. Another thing I thought I’d never see at a hard rockin’ concert was so many people singing. Nearly every KSE song has a part of the lyrics that are sung. Usually the chorus. Scream the verse, sing the chorus that’s their formula for success. I watched other rockers head bang their brains out during the verse, then stand up straight and sway while belting out the chorus, often so loud I could barely hear the singer.

I went away from the concert absolutely satisfied. It was only missing one thing and that was my buddy Jake who introduced them to me. He thought his new kid was being born on the same night as the concert so he didn’t buy a ticket. Turns out he was two months off. Oh well. Just to make sure he got a taste of the concert, I called him during the middle of one of the songs and held my phone up so he could hear it. I don’t know if he answered or it went to his voicemail, but at least I tried.

If you like hard rock music mixed with screaming, singing, incredible grooves with a positive message, do yourself a favor and check out Killswitch Engage.


  1. Phil said,

    March 30, 2007 @ 10:12 pm


  2. momma said,

    April 3, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

    I felt the same way at the symphony!!

  3. mego said,

    April 3, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

    hey bro,
    let’s go to a concert and mosh, so we could totally freak phil out ;).

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