Friday, November 22, 2013

BLOOD CATCHES FIRE

Six years ago I had the pleasure of joining WATAIN for five of their first appearances on North American soil. It was, to put it as succinctly as possible, an inspired excursion and a kinship was ignited over the course of those very bloody nights that was as immediate as it was unexpected. Recently I was invited to join their Wild Hunt across Vinlandia, a deathlike procession that winded its way from the gutters of New York up north into Canada, across desert plains and through Stygian voodoo swamps before the ritual was finally closed in Baltimore, Maryland with a stirring and exclusive rendition of Holocaust Dawn. Joining us were two of Sweden's most fervent and talented young bands: IN SOLITUDE and TRIBULATION. Despite America's puritanical hemophobia, despite local fire marshals threatening to shut down nearly every performance, despite mutable border laws and even despite perilous Texan flash floods that provided the only showers we had in days - or perhaps because of these obstacles! - the tour was a spectacular triumph on all levels. It was also heartening to meet so many of you along the way and realize that my own various endeavors have radiated out more broadly than previously imagined. It is for you that I've decided to share some of the more intimate moments I was able to document on this tour. It's safe to say that since those first American dates in 2007 WATAIN has become one of the most photographed (and photogenic) metal bands in the world. It's also impossible to ignore the impact that smartphones and social media have had on the communal concert experience. I'm not sure some of the YouTube-crazed spectators I observed gazing through handheld screens for nearly 90 minutes can truthfully proclaim to have been there. I'm also doubtful that every asinine "fan" with the gall to shove cameras in the band's faces went home with their fancy technology intact. I trust you'll soon agree that the candid AAA photos I humbly present here represent a slightly different perspective. Thank you to everyone who made this journey a success. You know who you are.


4 comments:

Jim Ferguson said...

Thanks for posting this Dennis. I think you correctly express the sentiments of many of us who appreciate the true passion of Watain. I also agree that watching a concert thru the lens of a smartphone is ridiculous and perhaps even a little disrespectful to the band. I saw The Cult a few months ago and Ian Astbury confronted a fan that would not stop filiming so they threw him out. I witnessed a similar incident at a Danzig show where signs were clearly posted to not film the show. A smartphone clip on youtube is always terrible quality and does not accurately present the vision that an artist wants to convey to the audience in a live setting.

Tom Horn said...

Phones really do piss me off..however we at DTMasters try to cut above all of the poor quality smartphone clips. We only upload what we class as A1 quality footage..we make sure we are not down the front infringing on the band nor fans who want to be there ,nore do we get in a position to piss off other fans..indeed we are fans ourselves and we buy tickets and merch at gigs to put back into the live experience to keep bands funded and producing. We like to capture that essence of a gig..I was extreamly proud when my sonisphere u.k clip was used by watain on the website..and our bloodstock footage hand in hand with the proshot footage. I am really excited about the U.K dates and to see a full Wild hunt show..I can see merch coming out of my ears for this one.

blasphemer9 said...

If a person wishes to record that memory of them being there, then so be it. A smartphone is not disrespectful in any way shape or form. I used to do whole shows myself, then I am now narrowing it down to a song or 2. I now rather just watch the show than record the whole thing.

Dennis Dread said...

Technology itself is rarely the problem. All of these photos were taken with a smartphone. They're great for moments like these when I wouldn't have thought to carry a camera in my pocket. The problem is entitled assholes waving their phones directly in musicians' faces for entire segments of a performance. If you didn't experience concerts back in the days when very few people bothered with that sort of thing, I guess you wouldn't understand what you're missing or why that sort of behavior is both disappointing and disrespectful.