About Francisco Torres

Just your average metal-head who reads comics books and plays video games. I love being alone, but I love talking and initiating conversations with others. There's a lot of things that I still don't know about myself, but I'm willing to go on journey to discover what those things are.

19 and Beyond

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You know, when I was eighteen, I used to reference that Alice Cooper song that was under the same name all the time. I’m eighteen and I don’t know what I want. That was exactly my case. Well sort of. When I was eighteen, I found something that I wanted to do because I thought it was realistic and people would actually respect me for it: A Music Teacher. Now disclaimer: I’m not bashing the music education business at all by any means, but I have discovered that department is not for me.

When I was a senior in High School, my music teacher who I’ve mentioned in one of my previous blogs, Madeline Mollinedo, was the biggest inspiration to me. I looked at her as a role model to me. Now keep in mind, I don’t usually make people I personally know my role model, but there was something about Ms.M that really appealed to me. I guess it was her grit. As I have stated before, she was like my second mother. School is not meant to become friends with your teachers but at the end of the day, I consider Ms.M one of my best friends because she’s been real with me since day one ever since I joined Jazz Band for her and I’ve been real with her. So that’s what made me want to be like her. It didn’t help when her awesome Student Teacher Mr.Mendoza came along and showed me that a hip young metalhead can be a teacher while staying themselves.

With all the positive things I just mentioned, you’d think that I’d be working just as hard as them to get what they do. I tried. I really really did. But upon my experience and journey onto it, I realized that this isn’t really what I wanted. I don’t want to give any negative connotation as to what I’m saying right now, but I’ve pretty much brainwashed myself into thinking about what I really wanted. I chose Music Ed because it seemed the most realistic to people and everyone else. What I mean by that is that I felt like I was doing it for others rather than myself. Within the experience I realized I was killing my heart and my spirit. Again, I don’t want to give any negative connotation to becoming a Music Ed major because I’m stating that it was not the major for me after all.

So this still begs the question what do I want to do? The real answer is I discovered this in 8th grade. But people kept dropping the reality ball on me. Telling me I couldn’t do it because it’s just silly and it will just ruin my reputation. I want to become a music producer and produce my own music projects. I’ve always wanted to learn how to produce my own music and that’s what I’m going to do. One particular is a rap project that I used to talk about since 8th grade as a joke. But I now realized that I was actually being serious about it the whole time. It’s amazing how 5 years later I did keep it into consideration this whole time.

Once again, I’ve prepared to have the reality balls be thrown at me by people telling me that it’s not possible for me to do so. But I’m okay with that. There will always be people who are against your decisions and you have to learn to embrace that because you can’t make people change what they think so the same goes for me. I’m going to do everything I can in my power to get about where I need to be.

Thanksgiving for a Metalhead

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I can’t really complain about my Thanksgiving this year. It is a shame, however, that Pizza Hut was closed during the holiday because I actually ordered a pizza on that day online. I was so eager to get it. I waited all night for it but didn’t read the email that I got for them saying I wasn’t going to get the pizza until the next day. Oh, well. I couldn’t really complain because I ended up having pizza for breakfast on the day of seeing two of my favorite Metal Bands, King Diamond and Exodus. So it was a win-win no matter how I look at it.

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Throughout the entire day I just waited and waited to leave my house so I could go to the train station and make my way to the Aragon Ballroom. It’s still shocking to me that it has been two years since I went because the last show I attended there was Lamb Of God with Testament, Killswitch Engage, and Huntress. I was a junior in high school at the time and that was the first time I went to a big show like that. My nostalgic senses were tingling when I had to wait out in the venue again just like the last time I went. It felt nice.

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Finally, once I got inside the venue, I made sure that I got a spot right in the front. I love being in the front. It let’s me witness more of the action of the band. What I especially loved about this show was that there were only two bands playing. I don’t mind opening acts, but the fact that we went straight into the show was awesome to me. Exodus opened for the King and I was really happy about that because not only is Exodus one of my favorite thrash metal bands ever, it just felt so good to finally see them. It was a shame however, that Gary Holt, their original lead guitarist and one of the founding members of the band, was not on tour with them because he’s touring with Slayer at the moment. How lame. I get to see my favorite band but I can’t witness the master of riffs himself? Bummer. I recognized all their songs from Bonded By Blood to Black List. But the highlight for me was that when they played the Toxic Waltz. The Toxic Waltz is pretty much the theme song for moshing. There’s no better song to mosh to than that song. As soon as Zetro, the lead singer, announced it I found myself running to the pit area just to get a taste of the pit myself and I loved every moment of it. Even when I fell hard on my knees, I got up and kept going. There was a guy in the middle recording the whole thing and I kept singing along with the song. I hope he uploads it to YouTube soon so I can look back on how happy I was at that show.

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Once Exodus finished I had to wait an hour for King Diamond to play. But boy was it worth it. Once King Diamond was ready, we heard a loud creepy piano hitting notes on the higher octave and right away everyone knew it was the intro to Welcome Home. What I especially love about King Diamond is that his albums have a story behind it. In the album “Them”, it tells the story of an evil grandmother who has been released from the asylum to visit her family. The best part about King Diamond live is that he has actors portraying the characters from his stories. So yes, the evil grandma was on stage. She looked creepy, but it was freaking awesome. But the performance was mainly to play his album titled “Abigail” which is my personal favorite album by him. I don’t really want to get into the story that much because I’d rather you all listen to the album.

This was the best show I’ve been to this year hands down. It was extremely loud, but don’t worry I didn’t go deaf. I still can’t believe I got to see my favorite metal singer of all time! Hopefully he makes another tour for next year. I will definitely be there!

Stage Fright:How to overcome performing in front of people

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I’m sure at some point in your lives, you had to do some sort of performance in front of people. The result of that must have made your stomachs feel uneasy and made your legs feel like spaghetti. As a musician and performer, I’ve had my fair share of performing in front of people and I will be doing that a lot considering I’m pursuing a career as a music entertainer. But I’m going to give you some tips that might help you if someday you’re in a position where you have to do something for people such as a speech, musical performance, acting, etc.

First thing you have to realize is that your audience already appreciates the fact that you’re getting their attention by doing something. That alone already sets the bar high. Don’t take that as more pressure. Take it as you’re already like by your audience before you even get the chance to even say or do something. Audiences can be some of the kindest people ever because they’re the best listeners ever and giving you nothing their undivided attention. So don’t worry about impressing them by everything you do because they will still give you appreciation at the end of the day.

Another thing to help out is pretend it’s still dress rehearsal or that the audience is not there at all. This is an old technique that’s still used to this day. Heck, I even use it. Even though the audience is clearly in your present, you just have to be yourself and act like they aren’t. I guarantee you are going to do a lot better without even thinking that they’re there. Concentrate on what’s more important however by continuing your performance up until you’re are done. Just remember it will be over before you even know it.

And last and most important thing is have fun and just live the moment. Don’t act like you’re being forced to perform in front of many people. You’re doing out of your own volition because you want to which you’re more than welcome to have fun while being on stage. Can you imagine if people didn’t do things because they didn’t like it? That would be awful. That’s why it’s always important to make you’re having a great time on stage because then people will see how happy it makes you and see how you actually enjoy doing what you do. Also, no matter how much you practice before hand, your performance will not always come out 100℅ as you predicted it would. So don’t pay too much attention and just live it the moment for what it is.

I hope this helped people realize that stage fright can be overcome if people just be themselves when performing something. Always be optimistic while performing. The audience loves you. Happy Performing!

Jazz Ensemble: SXU edition

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If you remember my previous blog, I talked about Jazz being one of the main things in my life. Well, that fortunately continued for me here at SXU. Once again, I’m playing with another band, but this time it got bigger. Back in high school, there weren’t many members in the Jazz band as far as variety. Yeah, we had rhythm section and a couple of saxes, but I felt like we could have had more. We needed more trombone players because there was only one. Just like here at SXU, we also lacked trumpet players. Which stinks because the band sounds so much better with trumpet players. So here’s my little advertising for the band I suppose. We need trumpet players, so if you know how to play trumpet, please consider joining Jazz Ensemble.

Now I’m sure you’re all wondering what’s so good about being in a Jazz band. Well, I’m sure the music already speaks for itself. But I understand if you do need a little convincing. So here some of the great benefits of being in Jazz Ensemble. First reason is quite obvious, you get to play music as a class. I mean how cool is that? Playing an instrument you love and counting it as a class? Count me in! It’s so awesome to tell my mom or other family members that I’m heading to class when really I’m going off to play my favorite instrument for a band that plays great music. It’s kind of what I really look forward to over the week. Just getting my mind off things and playing some bass. What a great way to relieve some stress if I do say so myself. Maybe that’s how everyone else in the band feels as well whether it’s Matthew forgetting about his troubles on the Sax, or Jamel just taking out his frustrations on those sweet fills he comes up with. Whatever may be, music that has heart and soul is worth playing for. But if that isn’t enough to convince you, that’s okay. I have a couple more reasons coming up.

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Reason number 2: You get to dress nice. Here we have a picture of my good buddy Ethan(Alto Sax/Flute) looking sharper than razors. I don’t know about you, but I love wearing a suit and tie and looking like I have a lot of money(even though I don’t). Dressing nice is probably one of my favorite things to do ever. Now just because I don’t do it everyday, doesn’t mean I hate it. I just need to find the right occasion. Traditionally in Jazz, the outfit is usually all black, and yeah I guess you can say that is pretty metal. Haha, but here at Sxu, you get to wear a full suit and whatever color shirt you want. Looking good while playing some good music? Who wouldn’t take that offer? That’s got to be like one of the biggest win win situations ever. Still not fully convinced? Well this last one should get you hopefully.

Last reason why you should join: The more you do it, the better you get at it. I’ll be honest with you. When I first came here to SXU, I had very little to no experience when it came to improvising, music theory, and sight reading. If it wasn’t for Dr.Salmon, I would have no idea what mixolydians are, how to play my minor scale, and more importantly, how to improvise. I am more than grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about these things here with the Jazz Ensemble. Sometimes, I like to teach this information to some of my friends who are still in high school interested in a career with music. I still would not consider myself an expert on music theory and playing, but I know one thing is for sure, and that is that I know a lot more now than I did before. It’s not all just in studying it. You must apply it as well and that’s the best part of Ensemble. You apply it as much as possible and that to me is one of the biggest blessings I could ever get in my life.

I hope this at least has interested you guys into considering participating in music because being a music advocate, I just love it when people start to gain an interest in it. Here’s a link to our first concert to get a taste of what we sound like. It was a Frank Sinatra show who is one of the most well known singers in Jazz. Hope you enjoy.



How I Came to Terms Being a Musician.

You know, I’m sure it is well known by now that I am big music advocate. It’s what I live for and it is what I know best. Now, I may not be the best music theory genius, but for the most part, I know what I’m talking about. As far as musical instruments go, I play bass guitar which is my main instrument, guitar, flute, and some piano.The three music genres I’m a big advocate for is Heavy Metal(of course), Rap, and Jazz. I’m quite knowledgeable when it comes to Metal because I’ve been listening to the genre for 7 years now. If there’s a band within the genre I will most likely have somewhat knowledge of them. I try my best to keep up withnewer bands on the scene. It’s just the genre I was meant to study. One of my dreams is to make a metal band one day. I’m not in it to become famous either, I’m mostly in it for fun and to spread music.

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(Here’s one of my favorite bands of all time, Iron Maiden)

But this genre isn’t the only that gets some love from me. I’m also a huge rap/hip hop advocate. To me, it’s definitely my second favorite music genre of all time. Heck, I even plan on majoring in recording arts and plan to drop a few tracks. Once again, just in for the fun and spread. I’m not saying that I’m talented or even saying I’m a good Emcee. I just want to take risks. If that doesn’t work, then I could always just make instrumentals and I would be doing what I love which is producing music for artists or even recording their albums and being able to say I was the one responsible for that album.

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Now, which music do I play the most instrumental wise? That genre belongs to Jazz, which is probably my favorite music genre to play. I’ve been exposed to Jazz since my Junior year of High School. It all started with the formation of Eric Solorio’s Jazz Ensemble. Boy, does it feel like yesterday that I was in it. Heck, I still play with them from time to time.
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But my love for playing Jazz all came from high school. I really have my wonderful music instructor Madeline Mollinedo to thank for everything that happened in Junior year. I don’t think no other teacher has learned more about me than any other in High School. She watched me progress as a person and as a musician and she is the reason why to this day I have not given up.

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This is the beginning of many of music tales. I have many experiences with many music performances which I will elaborate more for the next couple of blogs. But for now, I’ll explain the one at the top. This was my second to last performance in high school. Every year, Eric Solorio has a Cinco de Mayo festival and all the clubs and programs have some things to offer to the performances such as Dancing, Mariachi, Poetry, and Music. We played some Latin jazz tunes these are honestly my favorite. The rhythms are simple but memorable. That’s the best thing for me personally, because I usually end up memorizing the music not needing my music sheets. These tunes are the reason why I ended memorizing the rest of the songs I play. I kept playing them and playing them to the point where I even used this as improvising in other tunes using the same rhythms from other songs and making them my own.

November is here!

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Shucks! Halloween is over already? Awww man. Ohhh, well. Looks like we gotta move on because it’s November. Let me ask you guys something. What do the last three months of the year and Drake have in common? They go back to back. Haha, little hip hop joke for you all. What I mean by that is October, November and December have the best holidays of the year. Now that may be an opinion, but notice how these three holidays actually bring our families together and make us spend time with one another. I don’t think it can get any better than that. Okay maybe it can, and that’s all thanks to Thanksgiving.

I actually think that Thanksgiving is the most underrated holiday of these last three months. Yeah, the food is good, but many people forget why we even celebrate anymore. And I’m not talking about like the origins and stuff. I’m talking about the ideas of being grateful for what you have and in this occasion, Family is one of the biggest, if not the biggest things you have. They’re the ones who will always have your back from day one. Even if you don’t like spending time with your family because of personal reasons, it’s still best to make them feel appreciated because you wouldn’t have made it this far in life without their emotional support. That’s why family is one of the most important aspects of Thanksgiving. But sometimes I wish everyone acted like everyday was Thanksgiving. Maybe the world would be a better place if that were the case. But you know, it’s still nice to have that bonding even if it’s mostly just shown on Holidays. Now to count down the days for Thanksgiving. I am Thankful that it’s not on the last day of the month like Halloween. Haha

Improv Club Show!

You know, acting is one of the greatest things I’ve ever discovered throughout my entire life. I’m no Hollywood star, but thanks to Improv Club here at Saint Xavier, it helps me get out of my comfort zone and get to try new things by being put in silly scenarios and making something up on the spot or as I go along with the scene. It helps you think quickly and act as fast as you can to make sure the show goes on. Speaking of show, the first Improv show is this Monday. Details are in the poster below. Y’all should totally come out and have some fun with the Improv Club as we have some great laughs together and just have a great time over all. Don’t miss out!

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October Movie Review: The Evil Dead Series

It’s finally my favorite month of the year: October! Nothing like autumn leaves falling from the trees, nice weather, and my personal favorite, Spookiness! I love Halloween and will always love it. It’s the only time of the year where gore is accepted and you get to dress ugly on purpose. Okay, maybe not everyday. However, it’s still a pretty fun month overall. With spirit of Halloween, I think we should do a horror movie review! Let’s take a look at my favorite Horror movie series of all time. The Evil Dead!

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No, I’m not talking about that garbage of a remake that was released in 2013(Just kidding, it was actually okay)I’m talking about the original one that came out in 1981. The story is the same as the remake. A group of Teenagers go to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and find an evil book by the name of the Necronomicon which is the book of the dead. They also find a recording of a man reciting the evil prayers to summon the evil spirits that the book brings to life. The main character Ash, played by the one and only Bruce Campbell. soon finds most of his friends possessed by the evil spirits that were summoned by the book and it doesn’t turn out too well. I won’t spoil the rest because I feel that if you’re a fan of horror movies, this is a must watch. Yeah, the effects look cheesy, but in my opinion that’s what makes them scarier. We’ve become too dependent of CGI that people forgot that even the simplest stuff can be scary.

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Now seeing that there’s a sequel, I’m sure you can tell that Ash survived the first one. But for some reason, he decided to go back to the same Cabin and with a new girlfriend. Jeez, you’d think he would have learned from the first movie? Well, this movie can get a lot of mixed reviews. Fun fact! The famous saying “Dead by Dawn” in this movie is also the title of song by the Death Metal band Deicide which in respects is a tribute song to this movie. Again, this movie is a mixed feelings one. Some people love it, some people hate it. I personally love it. If you love the first one, this one is just as great of a movie. However, I will warn you that this movie has a little more of comedic side to it instead of full horror. But as long as you don’t take it too seriously, I’m sure it’s a movie that is definitely enjoyable.

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Last but definitely not least, Army of Darkness! This movie is very different from the last two. I wouldn’t say it’s a horror movie either. It’s more of an action movie. To be honest I didn’t really like it at first. But I decided to give it a couple more tries and now it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. This is a direct follow up to The Evil Dead 2 and it seems kind of strange how Ash ends up in the medieval times. Yeah, it sounds really really weird and not like an Evil Dead movie but trust me, if you just give it a chance you may like it. So if you have nothing better to do on Halloween, why don’t you give these movies a try. I’m sure you’ll love them as I do myself. Well have a Happy October everyone! 20 more days until Halloween and still counting!

This Should Have Been The First Thing I Blogged About.

I’m sure with the first blog I made, people have jumped to many conclusions and stereotypes about me: I’m a rough person to get along with, I’m aggressive, I’m a very angry person, yada, yada, yada. But why not let the man himself touch upon this subject? Let’s go!

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My name is Francisco Antonio Torres(Yeah, very Mexican name, I know). But I don’t like to be called by my name. Why? Because I was named after my father. I have nothing against my father at all. I love the man, but I just wish he gave me a name that was a little more original. I just see naming a kid after yourself as laziness to be honest. So that’s why Frankie is my go to name. So please, just call me Frankie and act like my real name doesn’t exist, okay?

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Going back to my roots, I’m a Mexican American born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Little Village to be more precise. I often find myself revisiting Little Village from time to time for nostalgic reasons. I cannot stress how much I love Little Village with all my heart. I’m always happy whenever I visit my old house and neighborhood. I even like to walk around to see if the places I used to see as a kid are still there. For the most part, they are! I just can’t get away from it because I love the place so much and I can’t help but remember the good times. I just wish the good times would have lasted a little longer.

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I attended John Spry Elementary School from Kindergarten up until 6th grade. I won’t lie, this wasn’t the best school I’ve ever attended, but I managed to make the best of it. My first couple of years here were not the best. The teachers here saw me as a degenerate lazy child who was never focused on his school work. I would always be lazy and finish my work later than all the other students. I remember this one specific teacher that got so happy because I was finally on top of my work as if she had no hope for me to begin with. I also remember my third grade teacher that would always give me detention for not doing my homework. Did I go? Heck no! I’m not going to serve hours of quiet time as a form of punishment in order to discipline me. Quite frankly, I didn’t need discipline. I needed inspiration. School work was boring to me and I didn’t see the purpose in it. You really think punishing me was going to help? Also, let me tell you something. I proved that school work was in my back pocket. How? I got student of the month all my years at Spry(K-6th). Student of the month is when a student gets recognition for getting A’s and B’s. See? I could do it! But I saw no point it because school bored me. But that’s all changed. I wish I could shove it in all those teachers faces that never believed in me. But that’s not in my nature. If there’s one teacher who I wish could read this, it would be Mrs.Smith. She was the only teacher I actually loved from Spry. Yeah, she was a hard ball, but it was tough love. Big difference from the denigration the other teachers gave me. Thanks for everything, Mrs.Smith!

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Keep in mind, I didn’t edit that picture of my family. My little sister did. Anyway, this was a picture of my family and I celebrating me and my sister’s birthday. Now, I’m can’t say I’m really a family man, but this picture has a lot of meaning to me. Well, look at it. They’re throwing the horns up for and with me. Even my niece is! This is honestly one of the coolest things they have ever done for me and well I don’t show much appreciation for them and I just hope they know that I wouldn’t be half the person I was without them. I love them to death and will do anything I can for them, starting with making them proud by being the third college graduate.

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I know the first picture of myself may get many different comments of who I am as a person. But let’s just say for the record that yeah, I do seem a little weird and quiet because of my personal interests and the way I communicate with others. I see myself as the loud thinker. What do I mean by that? I don’t really like talking in person. I think my friends both in High School and College can see that I’m not a very talkative individual. Sure, I may raise my hand in class and give a deep articulate answer, but I can’t host a conversation with individuals for some reason. Like, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I don’t know how. Usually when a person replies with “yeah” or “ohhh” I feel like I give them this vibe that I’m a boring person who can’t speak about other things besides my personal interests. I feel like an alien. I don’t know how to talk about anything that isn’t Metal or Hip Hop. I just feel like it’s a very interesting topic, but not a lot of people are interested in hearing why I love the two so much. That’s why for the most part, I just stay alone and avoid contact with people even if they are my friends. I like being alone. I like going on walks by myself and talking to myself regardless if people think I’m crazy in doing so. I like discovering things and most of all I like to discover me because there’s a lot of things I still don’t know about myself. My only wish was for people to understand why I am the way I am. I’m not anti-social. I just feel very cynical upon talking to others because I bore others. That’s why I don’t attend many school events like parties and stuff because I’m not a party person. Even if I do go, I’m the awkward kid in the corner who does nothing but drink soda and wish he was at home doing stuff he likes like watching Quentin Tarantino movies and playing his bass. So for all of you who talk to me, I love you all. I just hope you understand why I am the way I am. Thanks for reading. I can’t wait to post my next blog. Until then, I’m Frankie, stay metal, everyone.

 

Concerts:One After the Other.

 

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As a college student, time management is something many people cannot help but stress about to organize. I am also a victim of this, however there is always time to have fun even when piles of homework take over your life. My idea of fun is to go to concerts. Not just any kind of concerts; Metal concerts! I am huge fan of the genre and it has been my favorite style of music ever since I was in the sixth grade. I am a huge supporter of the scene and the way I show it is by buying as many band t-shirts, CD’s, and going to as many shows as I can. I attended at least three shows last week, starting Thursday. On Thursday, I was lucky enough to win tickets to see Overkill and Symphony X. I was shocked that I won too because I have never won a contest in my life before. But on the day of the show, I got an email saying I won the tickets, so in a way it was sort of last minute. But I was definitely not going to miss my favorite thrash metal band of all time by any means. Symphony X put on a great show too, but I was honestly more excited about Overkill.

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The day after, it was a death metal show. A band by the name of Cattle Decapitation was headlining with some rather peculiar bands. The only supporting that I really enjoyed was by name of Black Crown Initiate. They’re a band I discovered a year ago when I went to Metal Alliance 2014 and had the opportunity to see them three times. Cattle ended up putting on a great show and it was crazy. Keep in mind, they played at Reggies, a venue where stage diving is not allowed. A lot of the fans actually ended up doing it. Well, what can I say? It shows how much people loved them.

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Finally, D.R.I. This took place at the same venue as the day before. At this point I was really tired, but I was so excited to see them and ended up doing so. I even moshed! I don’t have much to say about the opening acts because they were honestly forgettable in my book. All except for Reign. A local thrash metal band from Chicago whose guitarists were two of my friends who I was in a band with for a while. It makes me happy to see they’re doing great. Edward, lead guitarist, has progressed so much. I see him as the next Dave Mustaine. I’m dead serious about that.

I will not be attending any more concerts for the moment because I need a break from them. As much as I love metal, I need a break from it sometimes. But once November is here, expect me to be at Aragon Ballroom for King Diamond and Exodus.