Never did I think I would ever be able to confidently and angrily declare that a show I have seen was “the worst concert of my life.” I have been fortunate enough to see plenty of concerts so far, and to varying degrees, I have enjoyed myself. But about a week ago, I had the single worst concert experience of my life, and it was a band that I really liked before their show — Miss May I.
Before I dive into the disturbing and disheartening details, it is important that I note how uncomfortable I felt when we first got to the venue. The fans we encountered were rude, and we only spoke to them for a few seconds. Already I was standoffish about how the night would go but tried my best to remain optimistic. Up until that point, I had never been to the venue, Gamechanger World, in Howell, New Jersey. Anyone from that area please do yourself a favor and NEVER go to this venue. The security was essentially nonexistent, and the inside of the place was rundown, dark and uninviting.
There were two stages set up inside. We had to wait more than 3 hours to see the headliner perform as about six or so bands played short sets. Bluntly speaking, I hated all of the bands that went before the headliner, and even as Miss May I’s set drew closer, the venue was still fairly empty. I still get a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I remember the negative energy about the place and the people inside.
Despite my gut feelings, I pushed aside any concerns as Miss May I took the stage later in the evening. Because of the venue’s size, we were able to get extremely close to the stage, and if it were any other band at any other place I would have taken loads of pictures since I had clear views of the members, especially the lead singer Levi Benton. For such a gentle, nice guy like Levi Benton, his band sure attracts mean-spirited, hateful and absurdly angry fans. Of course, not everyone was like this, but a good enough portion of people adopted such an attitude and demeanor that it would have been impossible to not take notice.
Miss May I opened with the title track from their new album, Shadows Inside, which I believed to be a solid choice. The crowd started moving and I maintained my optimism for the next few songs: “Deathless,” “Masses of a Dying Breed,” “Forgive and Forget” and “Hey Mister.” Those were some of my favorite Miss May I songs, and having them played one right after the other was really intense and exciting. But despite the intensity of the lyrics and sound, both mics seemed faulty – it was incredibly difficult to hear him and clean vocalist Ryan Neff’s voices throughout the entire night. The only reason we had a good time in the beginning was because everyone knew those songs by heart so we didn’t necessarily need to hear Levi and Ryan.
From that point on the night just got progressively worse as both the sound quality declined and the hostility of the crowd increased. My one friend by my right side the entire night, helping to fend off wild moshers from pummeling into me and potentially hurting me as they ridiculously flailed their arms and legs every which. During the middle of the show, some fights nearly broke out between several men for what were most likely immature and completely avoidable reasons.
During what I assume to be the last two songs of the set, a few guys were harassing my one friend to the point where I was growing worried and even scared. They continuously hit into my friend and actually maliciously punched him as they moshed for no valid reason. These losers even got into his face and began threatening and yelling. Thankfully, my friend kept his cool and did not fight or yell back – he, unlike the harassers, has a brain and the willpower to understand that violence of any kind was not warranted. The security guards were too clueless during this fiasco to step in or diffuse the situation, and when they noticed something was off they did nothing. It was pathetic.
As soon as the last song ended, we bolted out of the venue, but that tactic did not turn out as fruitful as I anticipated. The angriest of the fools followed us out of the venue, screaming absurdities, clearly wanting a physical altercation of some sort. This delusional clown’s reasoning for arguing with my friend was that he was “disrespecting women,” which was the most outrageous and untrue accusation I have ever heard said in my presence. My friend did absolutely nothing to disrespect women — the roles were actually reversed because the only one disrespecting women was that man who scared the living hell out of me. I have never felt so unsafe before, and the entire night permanently ruined Miss May I for me. It was the most disgusting display of humanity I have ever seen in person, and even now as I write this I feel shaken up and disturbed to the core.
Not too long ago I wrote another article expressing how the metal scene is misunderstood and full of very gentle, kind-hearted people. For example, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Tool fans are some of the nicest people around, and I have only been met with peace and love at these shows. This was the first time I ever felt uncomfortable and in danger at a metal show before, and it has affected my perspective on the scene. I still stand by what I wrote and advocate for, but this encounter severely tested my beliefs.
Miss May I lost a fan tonight, which is a real shame. If these are the type of people that Miss May I attracts, then I want absolutely nothing to do with the band ever again. I cannot imagine being able to shake this nauseous feeling ever, and listening to Miss May I would only bring back painful and terrifying memories of their concert.
I am done with them forever all thanks to the worst concert of my life. Goodbye Miss May I.