Thanks to my friend Caleb for the awful headline pun idea. Also that is not an actual quote from Rocketown.
I'm back bitches. I've been holed away not finishing a book about my dumbass friends in Emery and attending a community college where I feel like "A Beautiful Mind" that somehow got caught in the middle of "Idiocracy". See, I've already turned into one of those elitist intellectuals that you hear about on Fox News. One semester of kind of sort of college level math and I think that I'm the first person that's ever heard of a Venn diagram. Bow down and worship my intellect and then make sure and come back to this blog when I post my literary criticism paper on William Faulkner and the roles that fathers play in shaping the path of their children's lives...
Enough clearing my throat. First thing's first. Go buy my book if you haven't. If you are an Underoath fan that has found your way to this blog post, I mention Underoath precisely 13 times in my book so you will LOVE it.
A lot of what I'm writing about I didn't see with my own eyes. I left the show early and am going off what I've heard from friends, other kids at the show, and the band themselves as well as videos that were posted online.
To start - Underoath are serial rule breakers and should burn in hell.
Earlier this week Underoath stopped through Nashville, TN to play a sold out show at Rocketown, an all ages venue here in town. I wanna say that sellout there is around 1600 but I can't be sure. Point is it was a big show. Rocketown is sort of a Christian venue, which in general means - Rocketown is sort of a lame venue. It's all ages and they have lots of "rules" that are totally unenforceable. One of them being no crowdsurfing.
Underoath hasn't toured since 3 years ago when they abruptly announced an incredibly short farewell tour that my band happened to be a part of. It was...pretty cool. Insane amounts of free beer and sex. Ok just kidding about the sex. That part wasn't free. This current "Rebirth" tour has almost totally sold out across the nation - something like 30 out of 33 shows sold out. It's huge for the genre and some of the venues they are playing are double the size of those they sold out on their farewell tour. Needless to say that people were fucking stoked for this tour in every major city across the country and Nashville was no different. Surprise, surprise...people *gasp* crowdsurfed.
Big deal I know...damn rule breaking kids virtually burning the venue down doing something that yes, Rocketown lawyers and board members (yes they have board members) and insurance probably doesn't love. But it ain't the first time these rules have been broken at this venue.
I can tell you something else that isn't a first - ASSHOLE security guards. They are everywhere. Being a security guard at show where kids half your size scream along to songs and have fun is a prime opportunity for exerting your force and fulfilling your dreams of kicking a kid out of a show for the unforgivable offense of crowdsurfing. They typically don't understand the culture of a hardcore or punk show and are quick to act - or should I say overreact.
Well, Underoath didn't like how they saw things being handled and they acted. In the moment. In the adrenaline rush of a sold out show, at a venue they won't ever play again/don't want to ever play again. Before the last song they invited the crowd to join them on stage in a manner of "They can't kick us all out" philosophy and then Tim offered free merch to the first 50 people that made it to the stage. AWESOME! Who doesn't love a free hoodie! Kids* started crowdsurfing and jumping past security and joining the band on stage to mosh, take videos, sing, scream, and have a show experience they will never forget. It was...awesome.
*I say kids as a general term that has nothing to do with the age of the person...we will get to that later, but "kid" is a person at a hardcore/punk/rock show, could be 15 or 30, still a "kid"
Not the first time I've seen the crowd come on stage, and definitely not the last. It was nothing out of the ordinary for a punk/hardcore/metal show. Crowdsurfing was nothing out of the ordinary. Against the rules? Sure. But it's a rock and roll show. Against the rules is kind of the whole fucking point of it all.
Nobody got hurt. Underoath didn't incite violence. They didn't encourage anyone to hurt somebody else. I have known Underoath to be a band that is typically very aware of what's going on in the crowd in regards to safety. If they see some small girl getting crushed or some dude being an asshole in the pit, they will call it out and try and help. They do not have a fuck shit up attitude at the expense of everyone's safety. What they do care about is that kids paid good money to see a show that sold out almost 8 months ago and AINT NOBDOY GOT TIME FOR THAT BULLSHIT.
Let me tell you some things about Rocketown. It's technically a non profit venue that started like 13 years ago. It's not blatantly Christian, but they have rules that resemble that of Christian venues and the board members and founders are Christians as far as I know. They say that one of their main missions is to have a safe place for kids and youth to hang out. There is a skate park, coffee shop, after school activities, basketball courts etc. It's not a BAD place inherently. There are some good things going on, and there is a very strong argument that overall it is good for the community.
But then you have this all ages rock venue that is really what most people associate with Rocketown. And frankly, a lot of bands just don't like playing there. Reason being that a band will do a full US tour playing all sorts of cool clubs similar in size to Rocketown that have bars, and good vibes, and no weird rules where you aren't allowed to curse from stage because MY GOD THE CHILDREN WHAT WILL THEY DO IF THEY HEAR THE WORD FUCCCCKKKKKKK. So you got bands touring around, having fun, drinking beer, saying curse words if they so please, and then you show up to this weird venuewhere the vibes are crushed and the joy is sucked out of the room because nobody can buy a damn Budweiser.
The most telling thing about this situation is that this shit always seems to happen at the Christian venue. You play a whole fucking tour of normal venues and work out whatever problems may arise in a generally professional manner. Then you show up to the lame ass Christian joint and they want to make your merch guy buy a ticket to the show (that didn't happen in this case, but this has happened to As Cities Burn before at a different venue in Chattanooga because they said we only get two "guests". Guest number 1 and number 2 was the tour manager and stage tech so the merch guy was shit out of luck. Fucking asinine.) Christian venues have rules and these rules must be followed or you will burn in hell and get AIDS. Oh and please sign this contract promising you won't break any of our rules lest you not get paid your guarantee that is contracted for real by documents drafted by lawyers and shit.
Yes, Underoath will play 32 other shows on their "Rebirth" tour without incident. And the Christian venue that is just trying to keep the "youth" safe will be the one where shit goes south. NOBODY IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WOULD BE SURPRISED BY THIS SCENARIO.
Speaking of the "youth" that Rocketown so sanctimoniously claims to be protecting in their carefully drafted statement...they weren't at this fucking show. You know who was a at this fucking show? 25 - 30 year old people who bought tickets within minutes of them going on sale last fucking September. These people have kids, jobs, spouses, lives, and they all drink and fuck and curse and also probably many go to church. And these people never ever go to Rocketown for fun except when the band they may never get to see play again, books a date there because the booking agent took the offer that would make them the most money. It's that fucking simple. Underoath probably didn't have one single thought or opinion about which specific venues to play. Rocketown ended up on the schedule and everyone sighed and said oh well lets get our $30K and hopefully never play there again.
The "youth" were probably in the same place they usually are...the skate park. I would bet my first born child and all of my Braves memorabilia that there weren't even 10 kids under the age of 18 at this show. If there were, they were literally babies and they were secured safe in sound on dad's chest in an Ergo (look it up) with massive shooting range headphones over their ears to protect their little brains from the onslaught of metal. The people at this show - particularly the front 20% where the bulk of the insanity would occur - knew what they were getting into. They've seen Underoath before. Nobody was thinking "Thank God Rocketown is protecting our youth tonight!" It's bullshit and it's all the make it look like Rocketown was taking some imaginary high road of doing a great service to the youth of the nation like that fucking shitty ass P.O.D. song.
To form an opinion on this matter, one only has to look to the great joy that fans took in seeing this legendary, genre and generation defining band perform and basically tell "the man" to fuck off and quit being such a pussy. I have seen many people I know touting their disappointment in the actions of Underoath and exclaiming how disrespectful the band was to this venue that does so much for the community. And "they knew the rules" and "they chose to play there" and on and on and on. What a bunch of fucking pussies. If I didn't know any better and hadn't witnessed some of the show first hand, I would have thought that Dashboard Confessional, Copeland, and The Rocket Fucking Summer played a sold out show on Monday night that got TOTALLY CRAZY OUT OF HAND like the craziest emo show you've ever heard of.
NO. NO. NO. A hardcore band played. Some kids crowdsurfed. Some security guards were assholes. The band pulled a power move and made the show a lot more fun than it was up to that point. It's just not that crazy and the fact that I am even writing a blog about it in opposition to the "respect the venue" crowd is totally fucking ridiculous. There was no vandalizing. There was no fighting. There was no "hate speech". And no the singer of UO didn't drop kick a selfie taking concert goer off the stage like this guy
After the show I ended up a 3 Crow Bar in East Nashville, in my hood. All the Underoath dudes were there, doing as men do. Catching up with old friends, enjoying the locals libations. This whole thing was such not a big deal that literally nobody at the bar was talking about it as far as I could tell. Just another city with another dumb venue with dumb rules and over stimulated security guards. I didn't hear about any drama surrounding the events until two nights later at a church home group where I spoke up in defense of Underoath's actions being the only guy in the room who has ever played a hardcore show in front of 1500 people. Oops...Appeal to Authority, Penalty 15 yards.
I tell you though, those Underoath dudes are big asshole douchebags. So much is the case that when some fans noticed them at the bar they kindly engaged them and gave hugs and took a group selfie with the group of grown men out having a drink after the show. Based on Rocketown's statement, you would have thought that you were more likely to find the show attendees at home sucking on mom's nips watching Dora the Explorer while snuggling their blanky.
Grown men, in a bar. Hanging and snapping pics with their fans. Man, Underoath...you guys are bunch of fucking assholes. Burn in hell you must.