I’ve been to hundreds of shows over the past 20 years, and after a while, a lot of them start to blur together. But there are some that stick out so vividly, I can recall them like it was yesterday.
The first time I saw Deftones on the White Pony tour, seeing Linkin Park at the Ranch Bowl, and catching AFI on the first night of the Crash Love tour are some that come to mind.
The Hatebreed show on Tuesday (5/14) was one that I can add to my list of unforgettable shows. Last spring I saw Hatebreed for the first time on the 20 Years of Satisfaction and 15 years of Perseverance tour and I had the best time. I got to talk with Hatebreed lead singer Jamey Jasta and ask a few questions for my newly launched website and I was floating on air.
This time around things were a little different, in a good way. I was officially shooting photos thanks to the Queen of Metal, Amy Sciarretto of Atom Splitter PR, but I still had a goal of meeting up with Jamey Jasta for a few quotes. I reached out to Jasta on Instagram and asked if he could put me on the meet and greet list, figuring I could snag a few minutes there. He actually got back to me and hooked it up. I was over the moon with excitement.
I arrived at the venue, got my photo pass, and asked the staff where the meet and greet was supposed to take place. They said someone from the radio station would wrangle everyone up by the merch table. Sounds like a plan!
I proceeded to the stage to get set up for Skeletal Remains. With a name like that you know it’s gonna be harrrrd! Sure enough, these four dudes brought the pain! With deep growly vocals and squealing guitars they got the crowd pumped up for a night of brutality.
Next up was Prong. I remember seeing Prong a long time ago on Ozzfest, maybe 2000 or 20001? I just remember “Snap Your Fingers” was a huge hit and the pit went crazy during that song. Almost 20 years later and it’s the same story. Don’t get me wrong, Prong had an awesome set and they win the clean vocals award for the night, but sure enough the pit exploded for “Snap Your Fingers.” To quote Jasta “Don’t be around me bro!”
After Prong’s set I stood near the merch table and carefully watched for someone with a clipboard or list, or walkie talkie, etc., but that person never came.
I went back to the ticket window and the guy jumped out to see if he could get us to the right spot. We went around the corner and the radio DJ said we missed them. He said only a couple people showed up, so they did the meet and greet and it only took about ten minutes. I’m still not sure how things got screwed up, but I was super bummed. I was looking forward to this moment for months.
Knowing I still had a job to do, I picked myself up and got to the stage to get some photos of Madball. This was a tough one! These guys had so much energy and their singer Freddy jumped all over the place! I watched my fellow photographers swivel from side to side trying to catch a shot. The crowd lit up as Madball ripped through their half hour set.
After Madball, there was one band left between me and Hatebreed, and that was Obituary. I talked to one fan and his young son in the front row about their love for Obituary. They did the VIP upgrade and were super pumped. The dad said they had met the band before and they were really nice. Every time he sees them now it feels like family. That’s amazing that a band can still connect with their fans on that level after having a fairly successful career.
Obituary stomped the stage with old school metal riffs and plenty of power squeals. The vocals were brutal growls similar to Skeletal Remains, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. All around the room, long hair whipped through the air to the sounds of shredding guitars and thunderous drums.
After a fairly long break it was time to get heavy with the kings of hardcore! The lights flashed as my hero Jamey Jasta grabbed the mic and just started ripping it.
Decked out in his trademark bandana and cargo shorts, Jasta pumped up the crowd, “What’s up Omaha?!!”
After blistering through the first two songs, the band saw their first pop of crowd energy with “Looking Down the Barrel of Today”, Hatebreed’s highest streamed song to date. I hate to sound like a bandwagon fan, but this may be my favorite Hatebreed song. When that opening riff connects with the deep bass and Jasta comes in with “Once had a shotgun to my head, they said I wasn’t worth the bullets!” it’s so harrrrd! I couldn’t help breaking from shooting for a few seconds to scream along and throw up the horns.
Typically you get the first three songs for photos, but Hatebreed songs can be really short so we got to stay for four.
After the first four songs I found a spot up front and rocked out for the next five or so songs. During “Live for This” Jasta said “Who’s coming out of mosh retirement for this one?” I was still really upset about missing the meet and greet so I said to myself “I’ll take you up on that Jasta.” Now, I haven’t been in the pit for a good ten years, but I used to do it all the time when I was younger. Man, I forgot how much it hurts to get tossed around!
I made it about four times around the circle before getting viciously knocked to the ground. Everyone in the pit tried to help me up, but I was still pretty tangled up so I fell right over again! Finally, I got to my feet and several people were checking to make sure I was ok. After that I receded back into mosh retirement.
Hatebreed shows are crazy! They’re the only band I’ve ever seen that doesn’t take a break. Before a few songs Jasta may have had a few statements, but for the most part they just rip into the next song without slowing down. Plus, there were no ballads or even slow heavy songs. Every song is an in your face, fist pumping barn burner!
Hatebreed played for about 50 minutes before dishing out the last two smash hits “Destroy Everything” and “I Will be Heard.”
These two got the loudest response of the night with everyone on the floor calling back the heavy lyrics with fists I’m the air.
After the show I went to the back to try and catch Jasta so I could ask him a few questions. There were a couple fans hanging around, but it didn’t take long until I was the last die-hard standing.
While I was waiting I talked to Chad from the band Hemlock. They are on tour and just happened to cross paths on their route so they stopped by to catch the show. We had an awesome chat and it really lifted my spirits. I had heard the name but I wasn’t real familiar with the music. Looking at the band’s Facebook page, they are world travelers! They have dates booked in the U.S. and Europe, just all overt the place. Hemlock will be coming through Omaha soon so be on the lookout for that. I’ll post the date to our upcoming shows page as soon as it’s announced.
After about half an hour of waiting I was feeling really discouraged, but I saw Hatebreed guitarist Wayne and he said Jasta was still in the building. Yes! Just a little longer and I would be talking with the hardest working guy in metal!
Finally, at a few minutes past midnight, Jasta came outside. My persistence paid off!
I told him that the meet and greet got bungled and if he had a few minutes I still had some questions for him. Of course, being the awesome guy that he is we got to talk for about 15 minutes before the bus fired up ready to move on to Denver.
Stories From The Crowd: So first off, I know you love dad jokes. I thought of this the other day and I was like “I bet Jasta would laugh at this.”
Stories: What’s a metalhead’s favorite fruit?
Jasta: I don’t know. What is it?
Stories: Gojira berries, harrrrd!
Jasta: Haha! I see what you did there.
Not the greatest reaction, but I’ll take it.
Stories: I also had a t-shirt idea for the next time you come through if you ever do custom shirts for each city again. Being that it’s the Midwest you should make your logo say “Hatefeed” and have a cow with a big nose ring saying “I will be herd!”
Jasta: Ha! I get it.
Assuming because Hatebreed used sports teams for almost all of the custom city shirts Jasta asks…
Jasta: So is it mostly Husker fans here or Iowa fans?
Stories: Well we are in Omaha so I would say it’s mostly Husker fans, but when you come back on October 4 you’ll be playing in Iowa so the crowd could be more evenly split.
Stories: So do you ever get tired of playing the hits, or does the thought of all the fan excitement help push you through knowing that you’re playing someone’s favorite song?
Jasta: No, I really don’t get tired of it. It’s like free therapy at this point, and we actually don’t play the same songs every night.
Stories: So even “I Will Be Heard”, and “Destroy Everything” don’t get played sometimes?
Jasta: Yea, most of the time we just call out the songs from the stage and don’t even have a setlist. We did tonight because there was a curfew so we had to make sure the set didn’t go over the time limit. Going on at 10:20 on a Tuesday is a little rough, but that’s just how it worked out.
Jasta mentioned during the show that they would be playing a completely different set when they come back to Westfair on October 4.
Stories: So you’ve obviously had a lot of success throughout your career with multiple bands, producing records, and the podcast. You’ve talked about taking a lot of meetings, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Is there anything in your career that you wish had worked out, but just didn’t come to fruition?
Jasta: Yea I was just talking with someone about this the other day. A few years ago, before there were a million different festivals, myself and a couple partners got together to put together a two day show with Slayer headlining the first night and Slipknot headlining the second night. It had a really great line-up with us, Killswitch, Mudvayne, In Flames, just a bunch of killer bands. It was in Glenn Falls, NY. We thought it would draw people from all around, but it ended up just being a little too far of a distance and people didn’t want to make the trip out. It ended up not making any money, it actually lost money!
We were playing near Glenn Falls the other day, and someone said “You remember that time you put on that festival around here?” I said “Yeah!, how could I forget losing (large sum of money)”?
I really wish it would’ve worked out so we could have done more festivals, but it’s all good, everything is a learning process.
Stories: I hear you! Every day, I learn something new when it comes to running a music site. Whether it’s writing, working with bands, publicists, or promoters, there’s always something more to learn.
We continued to chat about various topics, and I had a lot more questions queued up, but I knew the bus was getting ready to go.
Stories: So you’ll be back in October at Westfair with one of my absolute favorite bands Fever 333. When I heard the announcement that you guys would be playing on the same show my mind was absolutely blown! You have to get Fever lead singer Jason Butler on your podcast. I would be honored if I could just sit on or possibly be a guest on the episode.
Jasta: That would be great! Shoot me an email and we’ll see if we can get it put together.
I will be in touch with both Jamey and Jason’s publicists to see if this can come together. However, it could mean the end of the website because I will surely die from cardiac arrest!
I went home with the biggest smile. Was I super tired from getting thrashed in the pit and being on my feet for hours waiting for Jasta? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
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