with Hed PE
Firestone Live, Orlando, FL • November 10, 2010
After a block of waiting outside the Firestone Live, AJ and I made it in just as Hed PE took the stage and started to shred. They brought beats to groove to, plenty of metal, and their own twist to several covers. The crowd was immediately hyped, and it was clear within no time that plenty of these concert-goers were there for the opening act.
Hed PE had plenty of crowd interaction. They worked their magic throughout the set, getting the audience involved with acronym chanting and some political ranting. They gave credit to Suicidal Tendencies for paving the way for their music. Their DJ, oddly named “DJ Product Â© 1969,” threw a couple of cans of spray paint into the audience presumably to encourage face-painting. It was a great set: Hed PE incorporated hardcore and fun like few others are able.
AJ and I noticed quite a few children at the show. Sprinkled here and there in the crowd were tiny kids, practically Smurfs by size, sitting on their parents’ shoulders gazing and grasping at the inconceivable chaos around them. It must have all been very new to them; I doubt any were hardened concert-goers. Still, it was great to see such a young crowd getting into old school punk and metal, and it was also nice to see responsible parents giving their kids earplugs.
Hed PE left the stage for Suicidal Tendencies, who continued to rally the crowd with metal and politics. Both groups are both politically charged — probably a large part of why they are on tour together — and each group had something to say. Unfortunately, much of their intended political message was lost in translation between songs. From what I could gather, Hed PE aligned itself with rebellious suburbanites, and Suicidal Tendencies wanted the crowd to agree on what they could while downplaying their differences. I like to see bands try to get their fans politically engaged, but the music was much more spurring and engaging than any of the intermissive sermons.
Suicidal Tendencies played a ton of great music: “Institutionalized,” “Join the Army,” “War Inside My Head”… I am not sure if there were sound problems at the start, but I really wanted them to be louder. Their guitar solos should have been able to rip through body armor, but instead they were sometimes lost in the mix. The vocals lacked a little clarity, too (which may have further diluted their political message.) Fortunately, as their set progressed the music got clearer, the solos louder, and in spite of a few Hed PE fans leaving the show early, everyone left was atomic.
Suicidal Tendencies played some more great music: “Subliminal,” “I Want More,” “Possessed to Skate”… Mike made fun of a potentially patronizing crowd, first asking if anyone in the audience skated (with a roaring response, of course), and then asking if anyone blahblahghidashd (with a somewhat less enthusiastic grumble.) It was funny.
The crowd was full of die-hard rockers, and what better way to end the night than to bring dozens and dozens of fans on stage to show the love? Of all the ideals espoused throughout the night, the one that seemed to stick the most was that of family. Despite bodies flying everywhere and a pit that seemed to take up half the venue during the show, the crowd was full of brothers and sisters. Suicidal Tendencies and Hed PE put on a fun, raw, authentic show.
Suicidal Tendencies: www.suicidaltendencies.com