Metalheads and club kids need to schedule a play date.
I started my evening anticipating a violent contrast between the beginning of my adventure at Rock on The Range and the end, LeBoom at Skully’s Music-Diner. But as the night unfolded, my preconceived notions about each event unraveled.
The sights and sounds of Rock on the Range are as entertaining as the line-up. The media tent was crawling with rock stars and reporters. Dean Pleasants of Suicidal Tendencies gave an interview at one table, while radio personalities trolled Facebook at another. Outside, a man in head-to-toe denim rolled down the entire marked-off section of bleachers to the left of the main stage. By the time he hit the last bench, it was impossible to tell if the roaring applause was for him or the band. Power Rangers (Rock on the Rangers, get it?) in every color combed the grounds. Girls in fishnet stockings took selfies by the playground, while a kid with a flat-bill hat smoked Marlboros by the slide.
At the main stage, Slayer’s signature pentagram banner was met with raucous screams. The crowd pushed in tightly to the stage. Every time Kerry King hit a chord, a jolt of electricity shot through the crowd.
After seeing both Super Mario Brothers crowd surf during Slayer’s set, I headed to the Short North.
The air was already heavy with sweat by the time I got to Skully’s. A chorus line of women in furry leg-warmers and fishnet stockings took seflies in the bathroom, while a group of guys stood by the door and trolled Facebook. A guy wearing a pentagram sweatshirt leaned on the bar as a kid with a furry headpiece ordered drinks.
Just as at ROTR, projections of Baphomet splashed behind the DJ, as the crowd pushed up tightly to the stage. Every time Mercer or Great Dane had a dramatic beat drop, a jolt of electricity shot through the crowd. By the time I heard DMX, I headed home.
I started my evening expecting a violent contrast between where my night started and where it ended. Instead, the sold-out metal festival and the dance party that seemed so inherently different proved to be more alike than either side would admit. The music may change, but people will always be people.
Editor’s note: Downtown Abbey is a semi-regular documentation of a random night on the town.