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JFH Concert Review

Photos by John DiBiase

Norma Jean; The Chariot; The Plague, The Plague, The Plague
6/22/05, Rcktwn, Nashville, TN

Iím not much of a hardcore kidÖat all. The girl pants, the hardcore dancingÖ I just never really got into it. And there was a time when I didnít appreciate the music at all, but I have too many friends that listen to it to entirely hate it. In fact, in the last year, Iíve found myself listening to it of my own accord more and more.

But the opportunity to see Norma Jean and The Chariot for a mere five bucks, as well as watch the filming of Norma Jeanís "Absentimental" video, was not something I was going to pass up. I love filmmaking. Itís one of my only true passions besides music. So on June 22nd, fellow staff member Jessica Vander Loop and I went over to Rcktwn to see the heavy rock show.

The first band to play was The Plague, The Plague, The Plague. There were two lead singers, one of which must have bitten his tongue at the beginning of their show, because his mouth was bleeding the entire set. The other was actually a female. It was kind of scary seeing a girl do that kind of guttural screaming, but I was alone in my opinion. The rest of the crowd drank her in. The Plagueís entire set seemed like one continuous song, and they were absolute havoc while they lasted. Guitarist Andy Atkins told me the band finds the hardcore scene somewhat comical, so there stage presence reflected that. But they made clear their Christian beliefs and invited anyone that didnít know Jesus Christ to come talk to them after their set.

Next up was The Chariot. The intro to their set was actually the opening from a movie called Primer, which I am going to shamelessly plug because it is an incredible movie which no one seems to have seen. After the intro, the chaos ensued. Frontman Josh Scogin has such a stage presence about him. Heís just a joy to watch on stage. The way he can get the audience moving is absolutely amazing. They played such songs as "Die Interviewer (I Only Speak in German)," "The Company, the Comfort, the Grave," "Dialogue with a Question Mark," as well as others. They ended their set with "Before There Was Atlanta, There was Douglasville."

And finally, the "Almighty Norma Jean," as Scogin put it. Lead singer Cory Brandan announced early on that they would be playing their song "Absentimental" about four times throughout their set. They spread it out so that every third song was "Absentimental." The funny things was, the song got more exciting and energetic with every take. By the end of Norma Jeanís set, the entire place was one huge mosh pit. Slam dancing, shoving, punching, stage divingÖ you name it. It was getting so bad that Brandan stopped to announce the lack of "fun" when people get hurt. "Weíre here to have fun and people getting hurt isnít fun," he said. They played many songs from their new release O God, the Aftermath and ended their set with "Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste." The helpless masses screamed for one more songÖ and they got it. Honestly I donít know what song it was. Nonetheless, Brandan said we were one of the best crowds they had ever played for, and I would have to agree. The energy was insane. Everybody was moving. And Norma Jean played a set to remember.

-- Josh Taylor, 6/23/05



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