Firstie: Metal Show

The Firstie: A metal show. I’m an easy-going guy who buries his anger deep down, like any other red-blooded American. So metal’s aggressively angry sound, even in the love songs, just comes across as shrill. My roommate, who listens to metal religiously, has tried to convince me of its technical musicianship, but I often respond with my father’s retort to rap: “It all sounds the same.” This sickens me.

The Band: Sleeptaker. Stemming from a jam session at Warehouse 21 between junior SFUAD student and guitarist Alex Monasterio and Santa Fe resident Connor Mejias-Meriani, Monasterio went home, wrote a a few riffs and the band was born. Soon after former SFUAD students Noah Trainor (bass) and Eric Martin (vocals) joined, followed by Michael Rael (guitar), a childhood aquientence Monasterio. Since their first gig in February, Sleeptaker has performed 10 shows.

The Aid: 40 oz of Mickey’s Malt Liquor, consumed purely out of fear.

The Show: I walked into a dank, dimly lit basement, known as the “Pig Pit,” and immediately regretted my decision. By the time Sleeptaker took the stage, there were approximately 30 people crammed, sweaty, ready to rage. Once the show began though, all my reservations went out the grimey window.

It was no longer about the music. It was the energy.

“You can play all your parts perfectly,” said Trainor. “But if you’re boring to watch, it’s boring.”

The show was not boring, and if I had to give one reason why, it would have to be the mosh pit. Moshing is a predominantly Caucasion form of dancing that involves participants slamming violently into each other. Not to hurt anyone, it’s not about that, but just a pure distillation of anger and release. As soon as the drop (a musical term referring to the first chord of a breakdown) hit, Martin threw the microphone down and joined in the fun. Martin, whose day job is a salesmen at Jos. A Bank, sees the contradiction of being the lead singer in a metal band, but doesn’t consider himself a lead singer either.

“I don’t really consider myself a lead singer, because that implies that I have some talent.” He laughed. “I just make noises. It is really strange. At work I’m a completely different person. I put on this facade, a shit-eating grin and pretend I give a fuck about their vacations.”

I won’t lie, when the show started I was self-conscious. I thought everyone was staring at me, and felt out of place. But the lead singer is a suit salesman! The bassist crashes on my couch!

Any wound to the ego is quickly ignored by actual wounds to your body. The band regaled me with tales of various wounds sustained over the months, including: falling off the stage, guitar smack to the face and the dreaded neck ache from headbanging or, as Martin called it, the bangover.

My neck hurt, I took a headbutt and there was a mysterious gash on my right arm. Battle scars as I now see them, and I can’t wait to get more.

Conclusion: While it was tons of fun, I still don’t like metal. Credit the energy and showmanship of Sleeptaker to help me completely ignore my distaste.

Checkout Sleeptaker’s latest show at the Pig Pit tonight!