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Hollywood Undead at First Avenue

Hollywood Undead on stage at First Avenue in Minneapolis

It was a case of buying the tickets so long ago it was sort of surreal the date had finally arrived.  In downtown Minneapolis, the bar First Avenue was playing host to Hollywood Undead with of course special guests.  It was a Tuesday night show, so The Wife was likely to be free to come to the city.  Close to our anniversary.   It seemed like a great time and as it turned out it was.   The weather was perfect.  A little dinner after the show.  A superb night in the big city.

I Prevail on stage at First AvenueTo avoid the rush we parked on University Avenue and Hwy 280 and then for $1.75 each, took the green line train into downtown.  That worked really well for us.  Kept us out of the congestion and trouble of parking in the big ramps close to the venue.  Likely even it reduced the amount of walking we had to do.  I had been after her for several days imploring her to give up her “late ways” and show up on time.  Which she did.  She knew we were going to a rock show but she didn’t know what band.  I was able to keep that as a surprise.

The reason I didn’t want her to be late was the headliner may have been Hollywood Undead, but really I was there to see another band.  That whole story started in the spring.   The Wife and I were heading to Farm & Fleet to buy cat food.  The need was dire and I was riding shotgun in the rusty minivan.  We were listening to 92.9, The X, as any self respecting rock couple in the Chippewa Valley would, when we heard this great song come on.  It had some roaring.  It was catchy.  It had some metal riffs.  We both loved it immediately.   I Soundhounded it right away, but I have an iPod, not an iPhone so we didn’t have immediate answers.  The Wife was listening to it with a confused look on her face.  “I’m not sure, but I think this is a Taylor Swift song”

As it turns out, she was right.  (It’s at this point that I should point out that she usually is in case she reads this) It was actually a Max Martin song that Taylor Swift released back in 2014 on her _1989_ cd.    I Prevail has now recorded the song _Blank Space_ and put an outstanding rap-esk / metal twist to.  (As a quick side note, you should really check out this video if you don’t know who Max Martin is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2DHuugaxWk)   Some of you will even know why it is that I find his hair strangely attractive.  The video is correct, I had no idea who this guy was and he should be more famous than Michael Jackson.

All this lead up and here is a disappointing element of the show.  This is the song that introduced us to I Prevail.  I am willing to bet there is the same story in a lot of the audience.  Guys, I realize you would much rather play and have people rocking out to your originals.  For all I know you had a record company that pushed you into recording filler and that’s how you ended up releasing what is in effect a cover of Taylor.  But I *love* your version of _Blank Space_.  It is the reason I paid the money for the tickets.  I was there to hear you play this one song at maximum intensity.  Instead of that happening, you blew it off.  Played it like you are sick of it and didn’t give it your best effort.  It’s that kind of shit that makes bands into one hit wonders.  The reason you are up on that stage isn’t because of your music, it is because of us, your fans.  When you don’t care, we start to not care either.   I don’t know if it will show up on to you on the video or not.  But it was really like the energy got sucked off the stage for those minutes.

Some random rock chick at the I Prevail show.Ok, so that is said.  But the thing about this band …all that aside, is that energy *was* there before, and it *did* come back.  I was really happy with their music.  Liked one of their new songs quite a lot.  The other one not as much.  Several of their older ones I liked too.  When I get home on my own bandwidth I am going to buy a few.  I thought their stage presence was really good for a young band.  They did a really fine job of making it interesting.  I liked that.  The players traded off and everyone got a little front time.  There was no drum solo and they never introduced the members of the band.  You know I am good with all that stuff.  I will put these guys on my must see again concert list.

I would say they were my favorite band of the night just as I hoped they would be.

Some random rock chick that I saw at the concert.

Hollywood Undead I know exactly one song of theirs.  Everyone else of course knew that song very well too.  The dance floor got super crazy.  When I shot the video there were several times that I was falling sideways.  It is just the experience of rock show faith that allowed me to know that we could never actually fall all the way to the ground and get trampled.  There are too many people  packed into too small a space for that.  Eventually all the free space between people gets taken up and the falling sideways people crest like a wave and land back on their feet.  Maybe eight or ten feet from where they were standing a moment ago.  It’s a disconcerting feeling for the first timers.  I just tried to keep the camera pointed toward the stage.   …And one arm around The Wife in case I was wrong about the whole not getting trampled thing.   All of this with a high degree of camera pointing failure as you will see.   …sound is still good.  

What is crazy thought, is when you watch it, and we are getting tossed around.  The camera is pointing everywhere.  You can play a game of spot the inadvertent cleavage.   Thank you to whomever provided it, I had a good laugh when I was editing.

I do have to say what has been said a million times before me.  Hollywood Undead has cool masks.

Crown the Empire on stage at First AvenueCrown the Empire warmed up for Hollywood Undead.  Eh, I was ok with their music.  Lots of other people liked it a lot.  I’m not supposed to like everything.  I am positive I am not their typical demographic.  There is one question I have to ask though.  Who the hell travels with white speaker stacks.  Seriously?  Does Mesa Boogie even sell white stacks or did they spray black ones?  Last I checked a road show beats the hell out of equipment.  How do you keep your stacks still pearly white by show number 50?  Wow.

The crowd was young.  It was an all ages show and I would say about 90% of the crowd was underage.  There was a young girl who had a sign.   I can’t remember how old she said she was.  Twelve, fourteen maybe.  They got her up on stage with them to wave her sign around.  Great life memory for that kid!  Great parents for supporting the music the kid likes.   On the main floor, older kids that were bullet proof kept the mosh pits churning.  We were too close.  I ended up not shooting any video of Crown the Empire.  Hell, it was even difficult to shoot pictures.  I had to pay attention to what was going on all around me.

Hollywood Undead at First AvenueThere was a lot of pushing.  It was hot.  There was a lot of sweating.  A *lot* of sweating.  We were all packed together. I wrapped my arms around The Wife and clenched my closed fist in front of her.  By virtue of arm strength and my boney elbows I was able to protect her from the worst of crushes but it was difficult at times.  By three quarters of the way through Hollywood Undead she had suffered a wardrobe failure and I was also holding her metal ringed belt.  It had been about three hours of sweating profusely with no refreshment.  I had to have water or I was going to be rolled out of the place.  I pulled her out and we made a break for the back.  Watched the final few songs from the back as we chugged down water.

It was a great show.  We went to the Gluek Brewing company for dinner.  I was able to tell stories about back in 1982, driving by Glueks late one night and seeing the bar on fire.  I had my cameras with me and so I stayed several hours, taking pictures of the fire fighters battling it and it burning to the ground.  Telling also how my friend who was a photographer had in the previous months taken a lot of pictures of the interior.  The following year an architectural firm used her photos to exactly recreate the entire bar and turn it into the gloriously rebuilt structure it is now.  Great fish and chips and outstanding service by an outstanding waitress.   Nineteen years of marriage and a perfect night.  

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem. 

Hunter S. Thompson