Children of Bodom, Death Angel, and Tyr! That’s the international lineup of heavy metal bands I am going to see tomorrow night at El Corazon in Seattle. Children of Bodom is from Finland, Death Angel is from the Bay Area of California, and Tyr hails from the Faroe Islands in Denmark. They all play fast, loud, and heavy music. I’m excited as it’s the first show I’ve been to in a few months. I love live metal music and I have every intention of moshing the night away. However, there are a few practical considerations to address before I get to the concert.
Since I am employed as an executive manager in a large government agency, I usually wear a tie, button-down shirt, and slacks. That’s not proper heavy metal attire and since I will be going to the show immediately after my 4pm meeting, I need to pack a change of clothes. The standard uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. I will change in the bathroom at work in sort of super hero transformation. Clark Kent becomes Metal Man.
I used to wear contact lenses, but I never found them comfortable and switched to glasses. Wearing glasses and moshing is a dangerous proposition. There is a good chance my glasses would end up bent or broken if I wore them in the mosh pit. I solved this problem a few years ago during an annual visit to the optometrist that occurred shortly before a trip to Maui. I told the doctor that I was disappointed I would not be able to go snorkeling on my vacation since glasses and diving masks can’t be used together. I could snorkel without wearing my glasses, but I would be unable to see any fish. In fact, given the poor state of my vision, I may not be able to see the ocean. My optometrist gave me a handful of daily wear contact lens samples to use while snorkeling. Problem solved. Since then, I have requested additional sample lenses to use when attending metal shows. I haven’t told the optometrist what I am using the lenses for, so he may be under the impression that I am an avid snorkeling enthusiast. I can live with that misunderstanding. It helps protect my secret identity.
I’ve been attending heavy metal concerts for 30 years and they are noisy places. In terms of average decibel levels, they are somewhere between a power saw and a jet engine. The odds that I will suffer permanent damage to my hearing are good. As I descended into middle age, I started wearing earplugs. I hated wearing the typical foam earplugs as they muffle the sound, spoiling the musical qualities of the performance. A friend told me about “musician’s earplugs” which reduce the volume but don’t change the quality of the sound. I was excited and headed straight to the music store. I asked the clerk for “musician’s earplugs” and he asked if I wanted “attenuators.” I stared at him for a moment realizing that while I had a degree in English, I was unfamiliar with the term. Rather than risk embarrassment, I said, “Yes” and hoped for the best. They proved to be worth the extra cost.
So, I’ve got my jeans, t-shirt, contact, and attenuators all packed and ready to go. I go through more preparation than Super Man, but I’m ready to mosh it up, middle-age style.