My alarm went off the same time as usual, 6:35am, and I crawled over and hit the snooze, then crawled back to bed. It went off nine minutes later, as usual, and I hit the snooze again, my head not being much clearer. 6:53 it started beeping again and I hit the snooze and the aspirin bottle and crawled back in bed again. It was still dark out. 7:02 beep, beep, beep, beep. F*********k! On and on and on and on........on and on and on.... Inna Babylon!!!
Yeeeeeeeeeeessss!!!! The new Soulfly welled up from inside. I jumped da f**k up and walked in to the bathroom and started the shower. I looked at my scruffy unshaved face in the mirror. I grinned. Shower? Shave? Why bother. I'm going to see Max at The Crocodile Rock Cafe tonight and it's going to be a dripping wet sweat. I turned the shower off without getting in.
I love Friday nite shows cause it makes the rest of the week bearable. Max is in my top three favorites of all time and my best friend and assistant photographer, Donna, is the biggest Max fan in the universe. So, well....yeah the anticipation was overwhelming us both. Max just continues to get angrier and heavier with every cd. I was punishing all around me all week with the new one and Max is gonna punish us with it tonight! I was dearly hoping they would open with the first song, "Babylon", so the roof would be gone right from the start. I envisioned Soulfly walking on stage while the "Dark Ages" intro played and then blasting out the walls, kicking into "Babylon". Then on Wednesday, I heard Max and Mark Rizzo on a radio interview and it was revealed that they open with "Babylon". Faaaaaawwwwwwwwkkkk yeah!!!!!!! Work couldn't go by fast enough.
Donna picked up my son and met me at my house. The Croc is only a half hour away in Allentown, PA, so there was no rushing around. We got in early anyway. When I walked in the door, the bouncer said "What, no sunglasses?" I shook my head and said it was gonna be one of those nights where I just leave my glasses in the car. Even the plastic framed, durable sunglasses I usually wear in to shows. Funny he recognized that. Me and Donna are recognized everywhere now. It's pretty cool. There was strictly no picture taking tonight. I walked in with a camera, but I noticed from the beginning that the bouncers were taking them from people when they flashed them. No Extreme Photography atop the crowd tonight. Hmmm. O.K. Sneak photography then. I decided not to risk taking any pics till Soulfly came on. A couple local hardcore bands were in the opening slots. Kick dancing galore on the floor, but this is Allentown, PA, not NYC or Jersey so the hardcore kids aren't as idiotic. You could actually stand down on the floor without some idiot hardcore kid taking a swing at your head. They were just hitting each other so that was cool. Me and Donna made our way to an arms length of where Max would be and planted ourselves, right on the rail, front and center. As usual. BLOODSIMPLE was the first of the main bands and was another reason we were there early. Front and center. They kick ass live and Donna loves the long dreaded bass player, so yeah. They brought up the temperature immediately. Stompin' man, stompin'!!!BLOODSIMPLE was STOMPIN'!!And the kids started flyin'!! Me and Donna know it's not a party till my son crashes down on our heads, but he was sitting the hardcore stuff out, although there were plenty of others crashing. BLOODSIMPLE got the sweat pouring, but it still wasn't a party..yet. After they left, it was just one more band until Max and Donna turned to me and said "Just get me through THROWDOWN, alive, so I don't miss Max"! I looked around us and said back to her "Ahhhh. They're only kids. Hehehe". Shiiiiaaaat yeah, did I forget to mention that THROWDOWN was doing the warming duties tonight? THROWDOWN exploded onto the stage and yep......kids flyin', surfin', stompin' up a storm. THROWDOWN is awesome. Metalcore, but good metalcore. Especially live. You don't get bored after the fourth song like most metalcore bands. They're a surfin', stompin' good time. They got a circle going. It was sick. Cool. They usually tear up the place with their version of "Roots Bloody Roots", but, since they were opening for Max they changed it. TO A PANTERA COVER!!! A tribute to Dimebag. I'm not great with song titles and not being a diehard Pantera fan, I don't know the title, but it was one of those pounding, kick ass Pantera songs that we all know and love and the crowd went berserk. Then, they ended with their fight, fight, fight song and.... yeah, we were dripping sweat. Freakin' awesome!! Donna was still alive. The crowd didn't seem as sick as I thought it would be, or maybe it was just the all out war on the floor at the GWAR show a couple weeks ago, made it seem that way. Still, not a party yet. No sign of Verba jr. sailing over the barrier. Just alot of overweight hardcore kids. I looked at Donna. Then motioned towards the camoflauged mic stand with the gas mask hangin' on it, that the stage guy planted only a few feet in front of us. Hehe. She had that "Hold my feet, I'm going in!" look on her face. Everything I had envisioned earlier in the week was about to take place.
The crowd was pumped. The DJ played "Walk" or "Respect" or whatever the name is, by Pantera and the whole crowd sang the entire song out loud. It was sick. Then, the lights went out and SOULFLY walked out on stage to the "Dark Ages" intro. Man, I was freakin'! They pounded into "Babylon"!!! No more walls..no more roof!!!F**k yeah!!!
I glanced over my shoulder and heeeeeeere comes Verba JR. crashing on me and Donna's heads. Yep. The party has now started. "On and on and on and on.....on and on and on in a BABEEEELON!!!!!!!It was amazing. Mark Rizzo was crankin' out the sick leads, while doing jumping spin kicks and chaos and pandemonium overtook the floor! Then "Prophecy"!!!
Shiiiiiiiiiaaaaaatt Yeah!! A complete barrage ensued including "Seek and Strike", "Pain" "Bring It", "Jumpdafuckup". It was nuts!!! Within arms reach, I got a hand shake from Bobby Burns on bass. Hell yeah! They broke out "Wasting Away" from NAILBOMB. More pandemonium, more chaos. CHAOS FREAKIN' A.D. THAT IS!!!"Refuse, Resist", "Inner Self"...unbelievable!!!The bouncers were also within arms reach and snatched a few others' cameras, so when they were catching surfers I got one pic off and didn't get caught and pocketed my camera. Then "Eye for an Eye" and the kick ass new one "Arise Again". Max is still the shiaaat!!! No. He is Max! The God of War!! They blew us apart with "Mars" and... Ready, Aim, Fire...Freakin' "Execution Style"!!! Other new ones, "Staystrong", "I and I" and my favorite new one "Riotstarter" with Mark Rizzo just f**kin' CRANKIN'!!!!
RIZZO RULES!!! "Fuel the Hate", man "Fuel the friggin' Hate!! They left the place in shambles and walked off. I thought sure they would return for "Roots Bloody Roots", but no. The lights came on. The crowd dispersed without a chant. All in all a fantastic set and show. Mad Max... Hell Yeah.
We went outside by the bus determined to meet Max and make a dream of Donna's come true. Joe and Bobby were signing autographs and taking pics. Mark came out and we got pics with him, but once again, no Max. Max would not come out. C'mon Max. Donna was highly disappointed....again.
She was pissed the whole ride home. No "Roots", no Max. He had surely dropped down her 'list'.....until this morning when she woke up, assesed the show, counted the bruises and listened to Soulfly. Yeah, she still loves ya Max, and your still.....the man.