I survived The Manowar concert.

“Hey nephew, I got an extra ticket to go see Manowar this weekend, wanna come?” “Sure uncle, sounds like fun.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I like rock. I even like metal. I grew up listening groups like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Rammstein, but Manowar was before my time. Be that as it may, I figured I’d find something interesting about the band. Metal is metal, right?

So the research prior to the concert started. I didn’t know what they looked like or what they sang (or who their audience was for that matter, but I’ll save that for later.) A few Google image searches and YouTube videos later I was clued in. Warriors? Check. Leather pants? Check. Biceps? Check. These guys made it a point to leave no heavy metal cliché untouched. Maybe their excessive flirtation with typical metal troupes was to a fault, but in true warrior fashion they were unapologetic about it in its execution. These guys are the real deal.

Pageantry aside, what did they sound like? The music was skillful and thoughtfully crafted albeit somewhat expected. Singer Eric Adams delivers an operatic vocal performance alongside galloping, metallic, guitars. Even their slower songs refuse to let go of their warrior spirit. Songs like The Ascension play far more like theatrical expression of a weathered war combatant then a soppy love song from the hair metal scene. Maybe Manowar’s swordplay wasn’t going to inspire me to form a band of thieves to call my own, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t sit back or enjoy the show.

Or at least I would have if I weren’t stuck underneath a sweaty metal-head armpit as my body undulated back and forth with a wave of “Manowarriors” throwing the sign of the horns towards the stage. “Uncle, where did you go?” I was submerged in the sudor of metal subculture. This concert was at the Starland Ballroom, which was too small a venue to hold the concert let alone Manowar. As the line proceeded to head inside my uncle casually mentioned “you know these fans are like an obsessive cult, right?” When the two of us finally found our positions inside, I saw a giant guy with a mohawk and riding boots grasping the rails at the front of the stage, snarling at the entering crowd. This wasn’t his first rodeo; he wasn’t getting pushed anywhere for the entirety of the concert. Me, I was just happy to say I made it out alive.