Too pretty to punk
"I hope you don't get punched in the face": My night as a Slayer/Megadeth fan
I'd never call myself a heavy metal music fan (because if I was, clearly, I'd call it "metal"). In fact, my idea of "metal" is highly wearable and surrounded by precious gems (hell, I may be a neo-hippie, but I'm still a woman).
But I know what "metal" is. Throttling guitars, tangled, filthy locks, and intimidating, leather-clad ogres snarling and growling into the microphone — pretty much the stuff my nightmares are made of. I've seen a (very) few metal shows in my day. I think I know what comes with the territory.
Correction: I thought I knew.
Where's it's a crime to look cute
When I hopped into my boyfriend's car and was greeted with, "I hope you don't get punched in the face," I probably didn't know what I was getting into by going to see the thrash metal trifecta — Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer — at Verizon Wireless Theater earlier this week.
I figured wearing a casual black dress would allow me to blend in with the natives. So what if there was a healthy amount of exposed cleavage? Did my yellow peep toe flats really remove me from contention as a viable viewer? And what was wrong with my Gwen Stefani-inspired ponytail?
But when my boyfriend followed up with, "You look way too pretty for a show like this," I was flattered. And wrongfully smug.
Fear is the new black
As we entered, I could see that donning the hue of death wasn't enough. The slutty, scary steamroller overran the classy caboose, and I didn't have a ticket to ride.
So I dealt with my insecurity of sticking out like a sunflower in a graveyard the best way I know how: booze. Being from the Midwest, I'm well-versed in the belief that beer levels all playing fields, and I'd be damned if I was going to let my boobs get in between me and a good time.
We'd already missed Anthrax by the time we arrived, but Megadeth and Slayer were the main draws for my heavy-metal-honey that evening anyway. All I needed was one beer to lube the way between me and heavy metal heaven. And I was having such a great time in line, talking to the surprisingly friendly yet mysteriously odorous long-haired couple ahead of me, looking forward to sinking my claws into a 24-oz. Shiner.
And then Megadeth began to riff.
And just like that, I was swept away by the boyfriend so as not to miss one nanosecond of the show. Without my thrash metal Dramamine in hand.
Look, Ma! No hands!
Politically-charged Megadeth had my boyfriend up in arms, but I kept trying to get a glimpse of lead singer Dave Mustaine's face behind his flowing Rapunzel-esque mane.
All that craning and straining led me to a crucial executive decision — I would have to battle the throng for access to a few frothy beverages.
If I'd taken two minutes longer, the boyfriend would've come in search of me. But the delay certainly wasn't the sea of grim-faced metalheads that parted for me without prompting. It was more like the long conversation I got into with the biker chick bartender as to why anyone would waste a perfectly good beer by catapulting it onstage.
Bonding with the brutes? Boss.
I've so got this one in the bag, baby
Having reached the intermission between the Megadeth and Slayer sets, I felt confident I would fare well when Slayer went up to bat. We moved closer to the front and braced ourselves for the onslaught of gristly, musical carnage.
The Houston Press' Craig Hlavaty called Slayer, "a live force of sound, probably the closest you can get to true calamity without being outright noise. Like a freight train, there are no stops. If you get hit or run over, that's the breaks."
What if you not only get run over, but flattened and smashed into the pavement by a 18-wheeler hauling boulders and dead bodies, a bloody puddle the only thing marking the spot where you once stood alive on this planet?
That was me, after about the second thrash of Tom Araya's guitar.
Out of acute fear and instinct, I turned to my safe haven — the bar. There, I contemplated drowning my tremors in Guinness, but heeding Frida Kahlo's advice about sorrows, I stayed true to Miller Lite and my buoyant terror.
I should've had that Guinness. 'Cause that's when things started to get ugly.
The good, the bad, and the exiled
I maintained my composure (and my grip on a random bystander) when Wasted Dude #1 came barreling through the crowd, spinning me hard on my heel. But I needed a little breather when Wasted Dude #1 plowed back through toward the stage.
That's when I saw Wasted Dude #2 — a quite conservative, strait-laced friend of mine — with a bouncer attached to the back of his shirt.
Wait a second. What the...?
After I swallowed my drunken disbelief and laughter, I hurried outside to unravel the mystery of how one of the most straight and narrow people I know ended up getting tossed out of a show characterized for its aggression.
Let's just say Headbutting Dude 1, Wasted Dude #2's Headlock 0.
It was Wasted Dude #3 that almost landed us on Texas Ave. ourselves. Between him trying to grind his hips on me, then putting his head on my shoulder, the wafting gunpowder of testosterone barely escaped the opportunity for ignition.
Too legit to quit
After the show and a moment of decompression at The Flying Saucer, I tweeted, "I am not hardcore enough for Slayer." I get ejected off my mountain bike and emerge from the wreckage with a smile, I am dumped from canoes and float to the surface with pride, and yet, I can't handle a few hours of it raining blood.
By now, my tail has relocated from between my legs to its trademark wagging demeanor, and my feigned arrogance has returned, its typical false bravado intact.
Am I a converted Slayer or Megadeth fan? Negatron. But I think I've earned my right to reign in blood. And that's all a wholesome Ohio girl can really ask for anymore.