As we drive west on the Queensway seeing the Corel Centre in the distance, my photographer–and ’s website guru–King Hazard and I converse on what to expect when we arrive at the Senator’s home base of operations. Although Steve has been a fan of the hardcore/metal scene since the early ‘90s, yours truly has been more choosey in his selections of bands from this genre of music since kicking it in the ‘80s with bands like Iron Maiden and . Slayer has been a common favourite of ours although I enjoy Reign in Blood and Steve prefers Seasons in the Abyss. Megadeth is another common thread between us. With the exception of a few songs, both Steve and I will be entering new territory with these two metal success stories. Both Slipknot and Hatebreed have been increasing their fan base exponentially since the mid ‘90s but have not crossed our radar screens until now.
Our discussion moves on, as we exit on to Palladium Drive, to whether the theatrics of Slipknot, with their now famous orange jumpsuits and grotesque masks, will be stupid or entertaining. Steve mentions his dislike of the orange jumpsuits as it reminds him of those terrorist snuff videos from the Middle East (they all seem to where orange jumpsuits). I agree with him but also point out that band might be quite exciting as there are nine members on stage to pump the crowd up.
We park near gate three and enter the Corel Centre to meet a rep who will give us press and photography passes. With Hatebreed pumping out the aggression in the background, (they are on stage by this time) we receive our tickets from a beautiful blonde who informs us that the photo pass will brought down at 8:30 pm. We leave to check out New Haven’s native sons for a few songs. The east coast hardcore band are pumping up the crowd and Jamie Jasta (vocals) is concentrating on the mosh pit in front of him. Inciting everyone to bend forward and run as fast as they can in a frenzied circle, Jasta shows his affinity for concert violence.
Hatebreed is a four member group with Jasta leading the pack. Along with Sean Martin (guitar), Chris Beattie (bass), and Matt Byrne (drums), Hatebreed formed in 1993. Signing with indie hardcore label Victory Records they released Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire in 1997. With constant touring and the underground success of Satisfaction…, Universal grabbed Hatebreed and the result has been Perseverance (2002) and Rise of Brutality (2003).
We reluctantly leave the guts of the Corel Centre as Hatebreed has impressed us. Their songs are fast and short. They throw off any hint of melody to concentrate on pounding guitar and bass all wrapped up in songs that rarely reach three minutes. We return to the gate so Steve can retrieve the photo pass which will allow him to gain entrance to the front stage area. It seems that this privilege has many restrictions. Even before coming to the concert Steve had to sign a document stating he will not sell any of the photos he takes. He is also limited to photographing the band during the first three songs. We split company and I move to section 118 to take in the show just off to the right of the stage.
The roadies for Hatebreed are removing equipment making way for the main attraction of the night. I look around and observe the crowd. It has thinned immensely as many have left for a cigarette, a piss, or bite to eat. With alcohol selling at $6.50 for a domestic bottle, and many of the crowd being under the age of 19, beer sales are not high. Another interesting phenomenon is the missing aroma of weed at the venue. It seems that with the smoking ban people partake in this age old tradition outdoors. The smell of weed and hash in a smoky indoor stadium has become a thing of the past in cities with a cigarette bylaw it seems.
As I look around, I see that the Corel Centre has been cut in half. A black curtain of a size which could cover a jet airplane has been draped across the middle section of the venue. All sections except the 100’s have also been closed off and the ice has been covered (or removed) with the floor opened up so fans can get close to the stage.
I continue my visual information gathering and watch the crowd slowly return to the guts of the arena. They are all young, in their teens or early twenties. They all, with the rare exception, are wearing t-shirts flogging their favourite bands. These shirts are all invariably black (black is the coolest of colours). If the apparel is any indication, Ottawa’s youth listens to: Slipknot, Hatebreed, Metallica, Slayer, Rob , Primus, Chimaria, Deftones, Quicksilver, Ozzie, Misfits, Sepultura, Iron Maiden, and Cannibal Corpse.
The Corel Centre continues to fill and I see the first fanatical Slipknot fan. She has painted her face white and is dressed in a faded blue jumpsuit. I scan the crowd more intensely but cannot see anyone else that fits a similar description. I see a plethora of mohawks, tattoos, shaved heads and even Rastafarian dregs, but I do not see any copies of the girl.
A sound of machine gun fire comes out of the speakers on stage. I see the full set up with’s (a.k.a. #1) drum set in the middle back of the stage. DJ Sid Wilson’s (a.k.a. #0) gear is to the right and Craig Jones’ (a.k.a. #5) to the left. Chris Fehn (a.k.a. #3) and Sean Crahan’s (a.k.a. #6) drum kits are front stage with the former’s on the left and the latter’s on the right. This gives plenty of room for guitarist Mick Thompson (a.k.a. #7), guitarist James Root (a.k.a. #4), bassist Paul Grey (a.k.a. #2) and singer Corey Taylor (a.k.a. #8) to move around on center stage.