Concerts are my safe haven. No matter what’s going on in the world or in my life, I know I can go to a concert and everything will be okay. I always feel comfortable at concerts. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a Satanic black metal show all alone… a concert is a concert and I always feel safe and at home.
Until last night.
The show started off strong. Daigoro, the sole local band on the bill, warmed up the crowd with their homegrown death metal. It wasn’t a perfect set and it was all too quick. I started to wonder if it was even worth their time to set up and play, but all in all, it was a great way to start off a night of music that was sure to melt my face off.
Abigail Williams was the second band and first band of the tour package to play. These guys were great. The reverb on Ken’s (the vocalist) voice added a little something to help these guys stand out in a sea of black metal purists. The songs were brutal and powerful and got the crowd banging their heads. Much like Daigoro, Abigail William’s set felt all too short. I wish they had kept on playing because, out of all of the bands that played last night, I definitely liked them the most.
What happened next was nothing short of a nightmare and something I never wish to experience EVER again.
I knew nothing about Shining, the next band to take the stage. Being me, I hate to research bands. I think it’s fun to go to a concert without knowing what’s about to happen. I don’t want to judge a band until I have to and am typically pleasantly surprised by what I find. Last night this whole idea of being surprised backfired and it backfired hard.
Shining took the stage and, instantly, something felt off. I couldn’t explain it but I did not have a good feeling at all. The music started and I tried to shake the feeling. At first I didn’t mind the music or the show. The sound had heavy doom metal influences but singer Niklas Kvarforth (a.k.a. “Ghoul”) had a voice that made the music much more interesting than other doom/ black metal bands I had heard. Even though I didn’t mind the music, something still didn’t feel right. There was something about Niklas that just rubbed me the wrong way but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
That’s when I noticed exactly what I was watching and that feeling in my gut was validated.
Before I go into detail about what happened last night please note the following:
- I am not naive, I know that the international black metal work is much darker than your typical metal scene. I get that it’s supposed to be dramatic and am all for it. I love watching the theatrics of bands like 1349 and Behemoth. I find it interesting but there is a line between theatrics and complete inappropriateness.
- I know that not many females attend these shows but if you’ve been following this blog you may be able to tell that I’m okay with being one of the few females at shows. It doesn’t intimidate or scare me. I can easily hold my own in a mosh pit of metal heads and have never once felt threatened or scared.
- What I saw last night was disturbing so what I am about to write is also disturbing. You have been warned.
There was blood dripping down Niklas’ arms and onto the crowd that was in the front row throughout the set. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen blood on stage before. I’ve seen band members get nailed by the head of a guitar or bass creating a nice big gash and the subsequent blood that comes from said gash. Accidents happen and there’s nothing you can do. But this was no accident. It was clear that Niklas had slashed up and down his arms very recently letting the blood flow down his arms.
Being someone who went through a nasty bout with self-harm, this made me feel super uncomfortable. I am super proud that I no longer have the urge to self harm and consider myself a “recovering cutter”. Seeing Niklas scratch at the fresh cuts to make them bleed more disgusted me. He was glorifying something that has taken me years to try and recover from.
Niklas was grabbing members of the audience with his arms in a chokehold of sorts leaving a trail of blood behind. At one point, he allowed audience members to rub up and down his bloodied arms. The members of the audience seemed to take this as an honor of sorts. They had giant smiles on their faces as they played in Niklas’ blood. I didn’t understand how I seemed to be the only one utterly disgusted and sick from watching all of this happen.
As if that wasn’t enough, at one point Niklas grabbed a female that was standing in the front row and slammed her face into his crotch. I’m not a gung-ho feminist in any way shape or form but this made me irate. This blatant display of sexism made me want to get up on that stage and punch Niklas square in the face. The worst part of this? The woman encouraged the act as she wrapped her arms around his legs to get even closer to his crotch. Again, I’m no feminist but I have far more self-respect than to let a man do that to me. If anyone tried to do that to me they wouldn’t succeed in anything other than broken bones and bruises.
Throughout the set Niklas would grab drinks from people in the crowd, have a sip without permission, and then give them back. All I could think was, thank God I drove tonight so I wasn’t drinking and if he tried to that to me I would have splashed the remaining drink right in this prick’s face. He also seemed to have a habit of grabbing people’s phones if they were out so I avoided taking my phone out of my bag except to grab a couple pictures.
At one point, Niklas jumped into the crowd to slow dance with the woman who was standing directly in front of me during an instrumental portion of a song. I stumbled backwards to avoid getting his blood all over the front of me. I tried to blend into the small group of guys that was behind me but it didn’t work as I fumbled with my footing. My eyes met Nicklas’ and my hands instantly formed a fist. I realized that I was the only female near the stage that he had yet to get his nasty, blood soaked hands on. I was ready.
I’m not one to fight. Sure, I know how to throw a punch and throw it well but it’s a skill I pride myself on never having to use. Last night was the closest I have ever gotten to throwing a punch at a concert. I can deal with people being obnoxious in the pit and I can deal with the drunk chick spilling her drink all over me. Hell, I can deal with someone puking on me feet… I won’t throw a punch. Last night, after witnessing everything that had gone down with Niklas I about lost my cool. My fists were clenched and as soon as he was within arms length it took every ounce of me to resist throwing that first punch.
After the set, Niklas took off his shirt only to reveal a giant Reichsadler (fancy word for the Nazi eagle emblem) tattoo (minus the swastika). I wanted to throw up. I quickly pulled my sleeve down on my sweater to hide my star of David tattoo. I felt threatened. Was this really happening? How did I find myself here?
I wanted to cry. I wanted to curl up into a ball in the corner and just cry. I wanted to rush out the door but at this point I was too scared to really do much of anything. I had already posted something online about my opinion of this band but that was before I saw the tattoos. What if someone had seen my post… were they going to follow me to the car? I know the door guy, but he was too busy to walk me to my car at that moment.
I stood there. Stunned. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I couldn’t believe I stood there through the whole set. I couldn’t believe anything. I felt like I was having a nightmare… I was stuck in a horror movie dream only this was real life.
The show went on. Origin played and they sounded great. Same with Belphegor with their scary face paint, incense, and everything else but I didn’t pay attention. I had been super excited to see both Origin and Belphegor but after witnessing Shining, I really just wanted to go home and cry.
I should have done my research before the show last night. Feel free to google “Niklas “Ghoul” Kvarforth” for yourself but be warned that what I just described to you is really nothing new for this guy.
Dear Belphegor, Origin, and Abigail Williams– Shame on you for letting this band tour with you. I have lost all respect for you guys because you didn’t take a stand against Niklas’ behavior and let him continue on this tour.
Dear Triple Rock Social Club– I love your building and your staff but shame on you for not stopping the show. I have put so much trust into you guys and you blew it last night.
Dear Swordlord (the promoter)– Thank you for bringing such amazing international bands to Minneapolis but shame on you for not screening them first.
I go to a concert damn near every night. I’ve seen hundreds of international black metal bands and, sure, they’re creepy and give me nightmares but I have never felt unsafe at one of their shows.
I was scared for my safety last night.
I don’t feel right today. I’m irritated and crabby and it’s because my safe haven was ambushed last night.
Fuck you Shining.
Venue: Triple Rock
Sausage Fest Meter- 99 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 26
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None Noticed
Overall Score- 0 out of 10
Show on Deck- Dread Crew of Oddwood