October 1, 2017
Popular U.K.-based pop-punk group Moose Blood played at the Masquerade’s Purgatory stage in the Underground in Atlanta, Georgia. The Underground is the new home of the Masquerade; the popular concert spot moved in 2016. Purgatory is a particularly small space, the type of space in which I’m not sure there’s a bad “seat,” so to speak – there are only a few seats at the back of the bar, but my point stands.
I have to admit, I have a bit of bias towards Moose Blood – it’s my third time seeing them, my second time meeting them. Well, this time I didn’t meet them as much as gasp as they casually walked past me in the Underground pavilion – but the first time was legit. I shook their hands and everything. In all honesty, they’re some of the coolest, chillest guys, not to mention the friendliest. You’d 100% want to grab a beer with them.
Their fans are usually pretty cool, too (I’ll explain why I say “usually” later). I got to meet a handful of interesting people just standing in line waiting for doors to be called, including a girl who still owned knee-high Converse – the emo-wannabe 7th grader in me died a little.
Stay Here – or Maybe Don’t
Doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and the show started around 7:30 p.m. The first band, STAY HERE, began the concert. STAY HERE is a local Atlanta band, and ooh boy, did they get the concert started. I’d like to say that their music was great, that I had an incredible time, that they really pumped me up for the two upcoming bands. However, their friends were too busy beating up audience members for me to notice much about their sound.
Now I’ve been to my fair share of concerts and as such, I’ve been in my fair share of mosh pits. I don’t consider myself much of a mosh maniac, but I don’t mind one every once in a while. However, there is an unspoken code of behavior when it comes to pits – the main being: DON’T BEAT UP PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE IN THE PIT.
I don’t know how to stress this more, but these guys broke that main rule within the first five minutes of the show, and really, is anyone ready to mosh that early?
Moose Blood is a semi-new pop-punk band, having started in 2012 and come into greater popularity around 2015. As such, their following tends to be younger; I’d say the average age of the audience was somewhere around 16. So when this pit broke out with men I’d estimate to be in their early-to-mid twenties, some 15-year-old girls went down, and went down quick. It was something from nightmares; little kids were getting shoved, I personally got knocked in the head, and it was a chaos that no one asked for. By the end of STAY HERE’s set, I’d shoved at least two of the guys down, shielded a group of kids (adopting myself as the resident concert mom), and moved myself to the bar – the loss of view was definitely worth the lack of concussion.
I found out later on that these guys were friends of STAY HERE and were specifically brought as a messed-up kind of “hype men.” So honestly, I wouldn’t recommend them, if only for their blatant lack of professionalism.
All That Matters – Drumming Up a Storm
Next up was All That Matters, another Atlanta band formed in 2014. Their set was fine, nothing really to write home about in terms of music. Nothing particularly stuck out to me. But I will say, these boys have incredible energy. What they lacked in musicality they more than make up for with entertainment value. I was particularly entertained by their drummer – his ridiculous range of expressions was hilarious and made me feel the passion the they were expressing through their music.
It was clear that the crowd was feeling it, too. Kids were crowd-surfing, jumping off the stage, and just having an incredible time, despite how few of them actually knew All That Matters.
I felt like these were genuinely cool guys, guys that’d share a smoke and cut the crap with you. It was a great performance, despite their music being a bit lackluster. I’d definitely see them again.
The Big Moment
Finally. It. Was. Time. Moose Blood was coming up. Surprisingly the wait between bands didn’t feel too long, and there was enough liveliness between groups that conversation was never lacking.
The set started, and with it, the screams. “Pastel” was their first song, and it was a perfect choice to pump up a crowd. I was jamming, the crowd was jamming; it just created a great vibe to begin the set.
Then came other hits like “Bukowski,” “I Hope You’re Miserable,” and of course, Moose Blood’s signature slow-down “Cherry” piece. It’s just as beautiful and emotional as the last time I heard it live, as every time I hear it live. To this day it’s one of my favorite Moose Blood songs.
The atmosphere was calm but energized; you could tell how the band knew how to command a crowd and take control of a stage. Even from the sidelines, I got some amazing views and loved their performance.
The set ended about 45 minutes later with the track “Knuckles.” I’m not sure they could’ve picked another song that would’ve fit the conclusion to a concert quite as well. It’s got this great energy, yet at the same time a feeling of finality; it’s a satisfying song to end on. By the end setlists were being torn, picks were being thrown, and the crowd was rallying for an encore. One did not come, but needless to say, everyone left having a great experience – maybe except for that girl who I think got a concussion during the Stay Alive set.
If you ever get a chance to see Moose Blood, do it. If you ever get a chance to visit the Masquerade in Atlanta, do it. Pop-punk’s not dead; it’s definitely got a seed planted deep in the South.