Littlest Brother's First Concert
September 12, 2006


The subject line of the e-mail read, "Can you be bribed?". The minute I saw it, I knew what it was about. My littlest brother's favorite band was playing in San Francisco, and a few weeks earlier my step-mom had asked if I'd be interested in taking him. I had said maybe. She offered to pay for the tickets, and pony up some money for dinner. When I asked the boyfriend he said, "You can't really say no to a free concert." So before even listening to one note of music, we agreed to take my 16 year old brother and his friend to see DragonForce.

A few days later, we finally managed to go to the website and see what the band was all about. It took maybe 2 minutes of browsing through the site and we knew. This concert was either going to be ear-bleedingly bad, or highly entertaining.

I had been to the Warfield before, but it had been a while, so when we got to Market Street we went the wrong way. Which actually turned out to be the right way because we found a Walgreens. Provider of all drug store necessities, including some much coveted ear plugs.

We made it to the venue just in time to hear the last few songs of the first opening act, Horse the Band (I use the term "band" loosely here). The music was...loud. And there was more yelling being done than singing. And there was a guy playing a keyboard. He was trying to look so hardcore while playing this keyboard. Banging his head, and jumping around but still managing to actually play. It was kind of sad. BUT THEN. Then, for the next song, this little guy is running around stage, and he's carrying something. When he finally stops, we can see what it is. It can't be...IT'S A TRIANGLE. And I thought the keyboard player had it bad. It was seriously like something out of an SNL sketch (more cowbell, anyone?), but funny in a sort of sad way. There was really no point for this guy to be on stage at all, there's no way this puny triangle was going to be heard over a bunch of amplified instruments. But he continued to run around stage, like a triangle pixie, stopping occasionally to head bang, and bang on his little silver triangle. If nothing else, it was comic relief.

Next, we were treated to All That Remains. Thankfully, they were an improvement over the first band. Though, rather than singing there was the demonic growling into the microphone mixed in with some actual singing. The crowd definitely seemed to be a bit more into this band than the first one, but the lead singer still had to coax the audience into some participation. I'm convinced that this band chose their name just so they can say "Thank you! We are All That Remains!" before they leave the stage.

And finally, DragonForce takes the stage. This is what everyone was here for. The crowd was on their feet, and they were chanting over and over, "Dra-gon Force! Dra-gon Force! Dra-gon Force!" And to our pleasant surprise, they were actually kind of good. I'm not going to run out and by their album or anything, but they put on an entertaining show. They brought out platforms to make a multi-level stage, complete with two small trampolines so they could jump from one level to the next. Near the front of the stage, there was a raised area with a fan underneath, so the lead singer could run over, and dramatically lean over while singing, and his long locks of hair would be blown upwards for a wind blown effect. I was particularly relieved that this band had forgone the demonic growling, and instead opted for Geddy Lee-esque high pitched vocals. I don't know if it's what they're going for, but they reminded me of bands from the late 70's and early 80's. I was definitely feeling some dejavu.

So yeah. Really glad that we stopped for earplugs, because it was 4 hours of LOUD. I'm also really glad that I got to share my littlest brother's first concert experience. It was the first time in a while that I've felt like I was playing the role of "big sister", and it was kind of fun.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.