Coincidence is defined as a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance. While my trip to the Horseshoe Casino was far from coincidental, I had a purpose to be there. The travel from the "great" State of Illinois to Council Bluffs was to simply see a band in a venue I had never been to before, so you may ask what is the coincidence? Well...
Directly across the river from Council Bluffs, IA is the City of Omaha, NE which once was the largest stockyards in the world. For the uninitiated (or the vegetarian element that might read this), the stockyards were used as a large storage facility for livestock to be processed for the manufacture of meat-related industries. Once again "what is the coincidence"? The coincidence is the fact that to process the livestock meant that the meat-related products had to be killed first. So? Well you see that the process of killing is called "slaughtering" and so the coincidence would be the fact that "Slaughter" was performing across the river from the former home of the worlds largest stockyard. See what I mean? Okay its a stretch but...
On April 29th, 2012 I attended the Slaughter concert at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, IA (but you pretty much knew that by now). The fact that I had seen Slaughter March 5th, 2011 (at the Mississippi Moon Bar) allowed me to know what I could expect from the band. Yet again I must confess, I was incorrect.
Its an interesting phenomena live music is as the ability to make music unrecognizable and the ability to render the fan confused by what they are seeing and most importantly, hearing. All to often a live show never seems to elevate ones impression of an artist and frequently we are left with a "what in the hell was that" moment. The impression we are left with is a band that is living within its previous shell and their growth seems to have been stunted as time passed. I suppose that is true for most of us, we probably all have tried to do something that we could do when we were younger and then realized that time (and the expanding pants sizes) have rendered us unable to do so. The aforementioned issues don't seem to have been a problem for Mark Slaughter and his band.
What his fans are accustomed to is exactly what he provides when playing live. Its really interesting to watch one of the "hair" legends and succeed in bringing the same quality of entertainment as he did previously. Consistency is probably the term to best describe the group and Mark Slaughter himself. While many bands attempt to be something that they once were, it appears that its not an issue for the denizens of the band Slaughter.
What I find so fascinating is that any semblance of egocentricity is absent and while the band has played in arenas worldwide the band still provides a great show to smaller crowds. This could be the part of the story that is a pity party for the previous success of the band and Slaughter himself but nothing could be further from the truth. Popularity isn't only proven through record sales, and one of the best signs of success is their fan base. As I watched the fans enter the Whiskey Roadhouse I marveled at the fact that Slaughter could bring this many people out... on a Sunday night.
It seems obvious that fans of that genre of music and of the "hair bands" themselves still revel in the joy of experiencing the bands live performances. Although it was a 21+ crowd fans ranging from the early twenties to the late '70's - early '80's (I'm not kidding about that range) each of them seemed like they were still in their teens. For an example of the drawing power of the band, I watched as a man in his late 70's - early '80's bounced, gyrated, headbanged and make moves that only very young strippers could pull off. I sincerely hope someone in the band recognized this fine gentleman and took note of his enthusiasm.
As those people in the General Admission in which we sat watched this man, it became apparent to each of us that we could only hope we would be able to maintain even a tenth of this mans energy. As I talked to the geriatric Energizer Bunny he told me that he had no idea what was going on or what he should be doing during the show. What was apparent that this man had FUN and that he enjoyed himself to the nth degree. Isn't that what makes a band popular? How many people his age would enjoy a Justin Bieber nightma... I mean concert? The proof is in the pudding as to the success of a band when they can literally make a man of such experience party like it was 1949.
Slaughter is a band that has stayed true to its roots, to its fans (old and new) and to their music. Its through the seasoned eyes of the fans that Slaughter can shine but as they continue to tour that fan base will continue to expand. Hopefully I can be the geriatric Energizer Bunny one day but until then we all can catch a glimpse of bands and music that can help us along that path.
Slaughter is still a band that bares it all and a band that almost demands that you have fun. If you are given a chance to see this band live DO IT. You deserve it and so do they.