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Norma Jean Concert- No Barriers, Stage Diving and A Proposal [Review]

Photo by Q-Tease Jen, Q103

Last night, six hardcore metal bands shook up Northern Lights for five hours. The Nightlife, Stray from the Path, For the Fallen Dreams, Motionless in White, After the Burial and headliners Norma Jean all performed and put on an amazing show, which included endless stage diving from the crowd and musicians, along with a live marriage proposal! The only word for the night was: brutal.

When I got there I was very surprised about two things: how empty the place was and that there were no barriers in front of the stage. I expected the show to be almost sold out, but it wasn’t very packed at all, even as more people came later. I was ecstatic to see there were no barriers, which meant I got to be right in front of the stage- I could touch it, sit on it, everything. This made for a much more intimate experience, as I was literally up close and personal with the bands and could just reach up and touch them. I love when I am able to do this, and it made the show and experience that much better.

The opening band was a quintet from Schenectady named The Nightlife. They all looked younger than me, but they

Photo courtesy of The Nightlife's MySpace

 were really good. It was obvious that they recruited all of their buddies to go to the show, which was great support for them, especially since they’re just starting out. They all moshed in their own little pit and used the crowd as steps to get on stage. A couple guys even got up on stage with them and grabbed the spare mic to sing, or scream along, which the band loved, since they were their friends.

Toward the end of their set, the singer stopped and said their drummer had something to say. He got up, asked his girlfriend to come up on stage and he proposed to her! It was so cute- here was this big kid whose drums looked too small for him, and he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. She said yes and the crowd cheered. I thought it was a little weird though because she looked about 18, and she didn’t seem surprised or anything. She didn’t cry or scream; she hardly even moved. Maybe she was in shock but I would’ve liked to see some more emotion. Hopefully she didn’t just say yes so he wouldn’t feel stupid. Lets hope not!

Local quartet Stray from the Path and Lansing, Michigan trio (quintet during touring) For the Fallen Dreams followed. The crowd continued to be crazy and jump on and off the stage. The thing I noticed about Stray from the Path was the vocalist’s neck tattoo. He had the name Madison on the left side of neck, and every time he screamed his veins would stick out, making his tattoo more prominent and 3D-like. It was random that that’s what I remember about them, but I thought it was really cool looking.

Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103

Sexy Scranton, Pennsylvania sextet Motionless in White were up next, but they almost didn’t make it. We were told that they were having issues with their RV and wouldn’t make it in time, but they did. They arrived at Lights about 20 minutes before they were scheduled to go on, and the crowd was psyched that they made it. I liked that their name was contradictory of their look, which was all in black (even their hair) and anything but motionless. The frontmanhad thick make-up on which was also a little contradictory because his facial femininity clashed against his deep, manly voice, but I loved their look and enjoyed their performance. They even did a cover of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula,” which was awesome and got the crowd even more riled up.

Twin Cities, Minnesota quintet co-headliners After the Burial took the stage second to last. For every band came those who went up on stage and jumped back into the crowd, and this band was no exception. I was often covering my head and looking behind me for “flying” people so that I didn’t get killed or knocked out before seeing Norma Jean. They put on a good show and sounded similar to the other bands, which made it a good, cohesive tour.

Finally, after four hours, Atlanta, Georgia quintet Norma Jean finally got on stage. I have only seen them once before-

Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103

 years ago in Massachusetts. They haven’t been in the area at least since I’ve been a fan, so it was very exciting to have them come to Northern Lights.

When they came on, the crowd got a lot smaller, but I didn’t care, because that was less people I had to worry about slamming me in the head. I was able to just focus on the band and sing along. They were active, crazy and put on a great show. At one point the singer and guitarist grabbed hold of the ceiling and were hanging from it. The guitarist hung from his knees like he was on monkey bars, and he was still playing. I’ve never seen anyone do it and it was so awesome. 

I was able to steal one of the set list sheets so I didn’t have to try and remember what songs they sang. They didn’t play a lot of my favorites, but they did a great job of balancing their songs and including all of their albums. Here is their set list: “Running,” “Birth of the Anti-Mother,” “Bastardizer,” “Blue Prints for Future Homes,” “Leaderless and Self-Enlisted,” “Face: Face,” “The Anthem of the Angry Brides,” “A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest,” “Liarsenic: Creating a Universe of Discourse,” “Bayonetwork: Vultures in Vivid Color,” “Memphis Will be Laid to West” and “Vipers, Snakes and Actors.”

Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103

While they performed, there was a handful of people on the side of the stage, mainly other band members and their friends. At the end of the show they all stage dived into the crowd, which was a good ending. I wanted to do it so bad, but I was worried I wouldn’t get caught, and there was too many important things in my pocket that could’ve easily been lost or stolen. Hopefully next time!

The show was insane and so good, and afterward I got to shake hands with a few of the members which was awesome. It was a long night- one where I stood for hours on end so I didn’t lose my spot, and one where I couldn’t drink too much beforehand so I didn’t have to leave and go to the bathroom. It sounds crazy to some people, but it’s just what music lovers do. They sacrifice their own personal needs just for an hour or so of amazing-ness. It wasn’t the first time I’ve done it and it won’t be the last, and it is always worth it.

Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103
Photo: Q-Tease Jen, Q103

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