Four metal bands — Falling Through April, Stitched Up Heart, Infected Rain, and Butcher Babies — descended on Neighborhood Theatre to play for an enthusiastic if cautious crowd, all of whom where either vaccinated or tested, on Sunday night. I left with the following five questions…
1. Are people too nervous about indoor concerts?
With the Delta variant of COVID-19 running through the country faster than Christian McCaffrey, it’s no surprise that plenty of concert-goers are still hesitant to attend indoor music events. Though the Neighborhood Theatre requires a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to enter, that understandably might not be enough for some people to feel comfortable amidst a crowd of people indoors. It’s too bad, because four metal bands enthralled those who made it out to the Butcher Babies show on Monday Aug. 30.
2. Can a local band hold its own with three nationally touring bands?
If anyone had any doubt — for some unknown reason — Monday night’s show was proof that local talent deserves the spotlight at big shows. It’s not an easy task to go on stage first and keep the crowd’s attention, but Charlotte’s own Falling Through April didn’t disappoint with its 30-minute set. Singer Mikaela Salazar even sparked a quick sing-along, helping get people nicely warmed up.
3. Who else is ready to invest in hair dye?
From the bright blue hair of Stitched Up Heart’s Alecia Demner to the orange dreads of Infected Rain’s “Lena Scissorhands” to the dynamic duo of the Butcher Babies’ green-haired Heidi Shepherd and blue-haired Carla Harvey, I was ready to log on and buy stock in Manic Panic.
4. Is anyone hiring Infected Rain to be the spokespeople for Moldova?
They should. I don’t think I’ve heard of any other bands from Moldova, so let’s give credit to Infected Rain for helping put the Eastern European country on the map. Out on their first U.S. tour, Infected Rain quickly won over the crowd and had people screaming for more when the band’s 45-minute set was over. As the majority in the crowd chanted Infected Rain’s name between songs, the band was all smiles. Formed in 2008, the group has toured extensively around Europe but hasn’t made it stateside until now.
5. Do bands care when the crowd isn’t as big as expected?
No. Any band worth a damn could care less if there are five people or 5,000 in the crowd. Even if it’s less than 150 in a larger venue like Neighborhood Theatre, every band on the bill gave it their all. Butcher Babies quickly riled up the NoDa crowd and had everyone moving within the first few notes of their first song, and I was surprised a circle pit didn’t start for “Monsters Ball,” just a few songs into their set.
Especially these days, when bands are thrilled to simply be back on stage in front of people, artists are giving it their all night after night for those who attend. Having seen about a dozen concerts so far this year, I’ve noticed an unparalleled energy on stage from every artist — providing as much love for the crowd through music as they’re getting back in applause and sing-alongs.