I got to the venue right at 7:00 PM, when the doors opened. It was a cold, dark, and rainy night, and to my surprise (and then horror) the line was two blocks long. Behind me in line were three twenty-something, clean cut guys, who seemed to come from some distance. The really talkative one was giving the other two advice on how security would be, what they could and could not take into the venue, asking them if they wanted to be in the pit or up front, or out of harm’s way. The two recipients of advice looked a bit scared. I asked them who they were there to see, and they all said, “Demon Hunter”! I asked how long they had been fans, and two were obviously new to the band, but the informative one said, “A friend got me into them many years ago and I fell hard for this band.” An interesting choice of word I thought, but I loved his enthusiasm.
Now, being unfamiliar with both Demon Hunter and Into the Flood, I did my research prior to the show. I knew both bands were from Seattle, and both bands were Christian. I’m a death metal / black metal girl…the deathier and blacker the better…so I wasn’t exactly sure how this was going to go. I’d seen Stryper back in the day and love Extol, but had not seen them live.
Once I finally got out of the cold and into the venue, I noticed that the crowd was very diverse. Kids, young adults, I-Geners, Millennials, GenXers, all standing together. The crowd was spread out well, so I walked to the front, to my normal spot, and stood stage right (that’s the left side facing the stage, right?) Anyway, there was a girl with pretty green and blue mermaid-esque hair, and two bigger guys that stood just in front of me. I was happy with my spot. The mermaid girl socked one of the guys in the arm and said, something to the effect of, “Move apart and let this lady in. She is short and won’t be able to see.” I shook my head no and gave the “I’m ok sign,” but they insisted. It took me right to the railing with a lovely unobstructed view. We all engaged in nice old-school music conversations, and I asked them who they were there to see. “Demon Hunter”! They all opined. Then I felt a weird sensation in my crotch from the back. I turned to look and there was a German Shepherd. I did a double take because it was so random, and realized it was a therapy dog. The owner didn’t look disabled, so I decided in my own mind that it must be for something like anxiety or PTSD. I tried to forget about it…but couldn’t. How would the dog respond? What about its sensitive hearing. I got sort of mad at the thought of the dog having to endure the sound without choice. What about the mosh pit? What if someone steps on it? What if it gets really scared? It consumed my thoughts. Then I employed my “you can’t judge if you don’t have the experience,” mantra, so I forced the thought from my mind.
Into the Flood started timely, and came out forcefully. They only played 30 minutes, but they were really great. Their lyrics were clean and positive, and I have to say, it felt different than a typical metal show. The positivity hit a high note for me when the vocalist said, “Thank you for being here, if any of you are hurting, we want you to know you are not alone. There are five of us who are here with you.” It was really touching. The two men to my right and left both looked at me, and each other, and we did a collective, “dawwww,” and weren’t even sarcastic about it. It was truly touching.
Somewhere in the middle of Into the flood, the dog freaked out. The girl tried to put the dog on her shoulders, but it freaked out even more and came down with all four legs flailing, into my back. I felt so sorry for the dog. But I also felt some sympathy towards the owner wanting to see a show, and if she needed the dog with her, she should be able to…. but the dog didn’t have a choice, and it was loud. It became all-consuming and distracting to me. Luckily, after a while I didn’t see them anymore. I assume it was when the mosh pit happened. I made up a scenario in my head that she took the dog home, realizing it was just not working well and was harmful to the dog, and gave it a big treat as it laid on its comfy bed by a roaring fire…something like that anyway.
They cleared the stage quickly, and Demon Hunter started timely. People freaked out for Demon Hunter! Covering songs over their 17-year career, they indicated that with over 90 songs, coming up with the setlist was hard. They said, “How many of you have been with Demon Hunter since the first album”? The crowd erupted. The band was gracious, saying thank you multiple times. “We hope there is something in our choice for everyone, we will play something from nearly every album…except the first one! Hahaha.” They indicated it had been some time since they had played live, and “Since the last time we were here, the five of us have had seven kids!” Technical difficulties plagued guitarist Jeremy Scott for the first few minutes, but it appeared to be taken care of swiftly. The only other mishap was the bassist lost sound or power on his wireless, but he remedied it by plugging in the old-fashioned cord.
Their songs were heavy. Some song were commercial. Some songs were very touching. One song I took particular note of was, “I am a Stone.” When I got home I YouTubed the song and its lyrics, and found that indeed it was a very special song to many people. I grabbed a handful of comments:
· “Brings tears to my eyes. I don’t deserve this salvation, thank you Lord.”
· “GLORY to God for delivering me from my daily alcoholism! I am unaffected!”
· “Recently ended a 7-year relationship and lost my job. Found a man who truly makes me happy and start a new job tomorrow. I am a stone.”
· “I find this track to be an inspiration in my everyday walk with God.”
· “Methamphetamine I am unaffected your fool I will not be.”
In nearly every song the crowd participation was audible. When they left the singing to the crowd, you could see the band stand back and smile. People LOVED Demon Hunter, and Demon Hunter loved them right back. The feel of the night was light. I’m not saying it was God’s light, but who knows. I myself struggle a bit with spirituality, and love some of the most satanic bands out there, but this particular night felt peaceful, and happy, and light, and positive. All of the normal elements were there….it was loud, they looked like any other metal band, the mosh pit was in full effect, but it did somehow feel a bit divine.