Remember when Alice Copper was cool?! If the answer to that question is no, you’re probably too young to be reading this blog. Or too young to care. Anyway, I remember, and I’ll tell you what, he can feed my Frankenstein anytime. Still. That was some music, at least some music that you’d find me sitting through. This is unlike a musical experience I had over the summer, or what I’m assuming some people call music, but most definitely not me.
It all started one day over cocktails, when my friends mentioned they had cheap and/or free tickets to a festival. I said yes, but not because it was a festival–a huge crowd of people enjoying music is still a huge crowd of people I don’t want to be around. Nor did I agree because my friends would be there–part and parcel of “there” is in the midst of a huge crowd of people I don’t want to be around. No, to be honest, I said yes because I’d had some cocktails and history lends itself to me being agreeable to most anything after a few cocktails. First mistake.
After agreeing to go, I found out what I had agreed too (a situation that a sober person probably would have taken in the reverse): the Mayhem Festival sponsored by–who else–Rockstar Energy Drink. At this point I did not say no. Second mistake. And third mistake. I said nothing and next thing I know, life is flashing before my eyes, and it happened to be an unbelievably trashy and poorly tattooed life. That was just tailgating in the parking lot. Fourth mistake, and in what world does tailgating consist of listening to Marilyn Manson and playing hacky sack? In Satan’s world, that’s where. Our car selected Three Inches of Blood over my objections and pleas for some Built to Spill. I should have seen that coming. Fifth mistake.
I knew as soon as we parked that following through with this would be a mistake of trashtastic proportions, but I got in line and went in anyway. Sixth mistake. The “attendees” of this event had crawled their way from every low-income suburb within a 120-mile radius and they must have crawled at a fast pace because holy hell did they smell. I haven’t seen more ugly and disgusting people lined up since never. Had I known my state was home to this crowd I would have forgone my $35/year membership to Sam’s Club and just set up a lawn chair outside of metal shows. Good God. Seventh mistake–God was not attending Mayhem Festival. At points, I struggled with what was worse–standing in that entrance line or having it rub up against me? After experiencing a bit of the latter and quickly starting to smell like the 350 lbs. walking toilet behind me, I realized that was a silly question. Eighth mistake.
It took a good hour to get into the actual venue and against all odds I went in, surrounded by everyone who I had spent the last hour trying to avoid. Ninth mistake. I thought things were on the up-and-up once the crowd started thinning out at the main stage, until we got our hands on a program and discovered we were a short five hours away from the band my friends had come to see. After getting over the disappointment of realizing the time was not, in fact, listed in Greenwich Mean Time, I fell into a heavily hostile mood. But I stayed, on the theory that beer can solve almost anything. Tenth mistake. I’ve drank my way through some awful experiences before, but at $9 a pop, that became a hard thing to do at the Mayhem Festival.
To make matters worse, the crackhead just feet away from us on the lawn was dead set on pleasuring his toothless girlfriend while no one was looking–no one, in this context, meaning everyone and their children. Yes, there were children. Eleventh through thirtweenth mistake. Having just spent another $9 on beer and not wanting to contaminate that investment with vomit, I got up to walk around and take in whatever the fuck there was to take in that wasn’t that. Fourteenth mistake. A walk around the full venue only revealed that the human trash heap was much larger than I originally anticipated, and it cost me another $27 in beer to come to that conclusion. At least I got a packet of beer jerky out of it. I guess. Returning to our spot at the main stage (fifteenth mistake), I found that crackhead still fishing around his girlfriend’s pants.
While time passing was a good thing, the people drawing into the main stage were not. I grew to be very worried that the crowd was going to eat the children. Or shove them down the back of their pants, to join whatever else was down there.
Fortunately, my fears were abated once I saw the guy with the ankle bracelet who–no doubt–the police were closing in on at that very moment. I turned out to be right, but it wasn’t the ankle bracelet that did him in; rather, the passing out in the middle of a crowd of children in the early afternoon. Sixteenth mistake, but not mine. This time, at least.
The next few hours were just as horrible as the ten preceding them. It was all quite a sight–if hellfire would have reigned down on the earth that afternoon, to destroy the sinners and soulless, no doubt I would have been poorly situated. The experience culminated when I walked out. Covered in sweat, shame (not mine), and–at this point–tears from pleading needlessly with God for hours to save me, I found my way outside and somehow home. I barely remember the trek home on account of the ordeal through which I had just suffered, but I imagine it looked something like Captain “dream boat” Kirk swooping in and rescuing Spock from the erupting volcano on planet Nibiru. Probably just like that.
All in all, that experience was one of the most monumental mistakes I have ever made. Which is probably not at all true, but whatever. After taking a few months to get over the initial shock, though, I have to say that it was all worth it, just for this: