In 2013, I went to my first heavy metal show. The Battle of San Bernardino’s line up included the bands Warbringer, Overkill, Testament, Anthrax, Megadeth, and the main act, Iron Maiden.
Ever since my first metal show, I could not stop the drive to go to more shows to feed my metal hunger. Three years later, I took my father, who had never been to a single concert in his life, to see Iron Maiden. The tables were turned and instead of me asking him if we can go to see a show, now he asks me.
I think it is a fever you get once you go to your first heavy metal concert. We “metal heads” think our drive for heavy metal in different ways. Some of us are pumped with excitement physically and mentally, some just mentally. My dad is the kind of person that does not “headbang” at shows or when he listens to heavy metal. Instead he prefers to just sit, listen to the music, and enjoy watching the performance of the band.
On April 15, I took my dad to his first show. I bought a tour shirt and offered to buy one for my dad but he declined. I knew at that moment the feeling of being around a lot of people who mock themselves with a metallic tribal look and attitude made my father feel the sense that he was an outsider. From then on one of my goals was made to make my dad feel as comfortable as possible.
We found our seats and watched the performance of Iron Maiden. While I headbanged, cheered the band on, I did not mind the participation of the other metal heads doing the same thing. As for my dad, I could see that he did not like the smell of marijuana and beer in the air along with two tall gentleman whipping their hair in front of his face. I asked my dad “Are you okay, we could switch seats?”
He responded “No it’s okay. You just have a good time. I probably wouldn’t like seeing and making room for people walking down the aisle.”
After the show I asked my father if he had a good time. With a smirk and a tone of happiness in his voice he replied “Yeah, I had a good time. It was fun coming here, it’s a different and new experience and I’ll be happy to do it again.” I was surprised with his response.
After the discomfort he must have felt, I thought he would be most upset, but instead he was quite grateful. I knew that after the experience of this show that a bond was stronger than ever before. Later in the beginning of May he asked me “How does seeing Black Sabbath at Ozzfest sound?”
I think after someone goes to their first show, there is a sense of hook that gets people like my dad and I. We cannot get enough of seeing our type of music. Together as a family, metalheads are bonded, not by looks, not by intelligence, not by race, but by a love for a sound that makes heavy metal. I think after comparing how I felt after my first concert to how my father felt I can say that you can teach an old dog new tricks.