Load-In to Load-Out With Red Fang

Load-In to Load-Out With Red Fang: A photo essay by Matthew Shaver

I’m back upstairs. The whole of Red Fang is in the room now. Bryan Giles, Aaron Beam, David Sullivan, and John Sherman. Hanging out. Have you ever worked a job with friends where everybody got the night shift together? That’s what it is. I can’t say that it’s like that for every band, but I’m going to assume it is.

They steal a Red Bull from one of the openers (the last one in the pack) and mix it with fresh squeezed oranges and vodka, because why not? They talk, and joke, and take headache medicine, and talk about being exhausted, and then it is time to go to work. So, it all goes away, and we are all that matters.

The stage lights up. The members shake hands and look out in to the audience.

The wish has come true, maybe not entirely, but the people have at least heard the psychic call to arms, as many more have shown up.

The speakers explode. Rock n roll is alive! It may be late on the rent, but right now, nobody gives a damn. Guitars rise and fall, drums thunder and crash.

Bodies slam in to each other. Some fall to the ground, and others reach a hand out to pick them up. When the sound stops hugs are shared. Complete strangers embrace having just shared a moment of pure exhilaration.

We want it to last forever. It is loud, it is epic, it is awesome.

Then, it’s over.

The next day another venue. Another city. Stressing over ticket sales, merch sales, measuring how much is spent on food and gas and etc… I guess why do it then? I can see the appeal. Many of them are family men, with wives and children. I think it would be enough to come home after an absence, to say that daddy not only earned a living, but while he did it, he made a lot of people very happy. To shake hands with old friends, and tell them stories about that crowd at that show that made them feel more alive than any other experience ever could. Maybe some of them just don’t know how to do anything else. It is what it is.

There is no great lesson here, I understand if you skimmed through most of this. If you are reading the final part of this, I guess these would be my parting thoughts. It’s less important to be the first person to listen to a band than it is to be the last person that listens to them. Backstage is pretty boring, it’s more fun to be in front of it. It means more to the band that you buy their tickets and/or their merch. than it does to brag to your friends that you are on the list. If you see a group you love is coming to town, tell EVERYONE you know. Support the venues, support the bands, support your city. Or don’t…but then you can’t complain when you’re left with one kind of venue that plays one kind of music.

Below, check out a full live photo gallery from the Red Fang / Big Business / American Sharks / Brain Candle show, which took place at The Trocadero on May 30, 2014. A bit further down, see some videos from the set. Or click here to go back to the start.