A long time ago, before Grim was born, Milkman (Brutal Postman) mentioned a monthly heavy metal happy hour at Record Archive we should check out, Metal Meltdown. I am not sure why it took us so long to go (likely our lack of social skills) but after our first time, we could not wait for the next one. The only 2nd Tuesday of the month we missed over the course of a couple of years was because of Iron Maiden in Buffalo, NY. Solid reason (unless you are Jay Leone or Thor Shafer).
We had no clue what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised seeing Barrett (Sevared Records) there (he also never misses a Metal Meltdown). We really did not know anyone else at the time, but everyone was so welcoming and engaging, we continued to go. Every month we chatted with recently made friends from the previous month(s) while making new friends along the way.
The concept of Metal Meltdown is simple – Seth Voorhees (yes, the news guy – we have to say that a lot) and Mark Rapone spin heavy metal records while the rest of us socialize, shop, and sip. Over time, it really became a ‘thing’. We packed the Backroom Lounge every month; Metal Meltdown is the metal rendition of Cheers. Everyone knows each other, and if we see an unfamiliar someone, we will say hello and welcome them.
Speaking of sipping, I would be remiss if I did not also mention Record Archive’s fantastic selection of craft brews and hometown favorites. We were amazed at the vast selection of beer and wine (especially if you like Post Malone) they offer.
Unfortunately, when we first started attending Metal Meltdown, Seth was living in Texas, so he was MIA for quite a while. Then, much to our surprise, he moved back to Rochester and picked up right where he left off with Metal Meltdown. We did not know each other upon his return, but of course over time we developed a friendship – just like everyone else who shows up at the Backroom Lounge for Metal Meltdown.
Metal, records, friends, more friends, great beer selection, early evening, what more can we ask for?
Record Archive decided to evolve happy hour and have local metal bands play, which was/is cool and a ton of fun. Such a unique experience from our typical venues; people are seated, the lights are on, we get to watch passer-byers look on in awe, and the floors aren’t sticky. We have a lot of great memories watching bands perform, even some that have since disbanded (RIP Blurring). I do not know for sure, but I suspect the amazing Stormy Storms might have had something to do with the live music. I credit Metal Meltdown for a ton of great friendships, Stormy is definitely one of them. I remember watching her put sparkles on a metalhead from behind the bar (she often serves up brews) and I knew I needed her in my life.
Those who know me, know I am excellent at making things awkward. I have already mentioned (in a previous blog) how Barrett introduced us to Ross (Immolation), and I was a nervous wreck. Let me back up just a little more to when I thought I was being super charming and personable by referring to the bartender by his name – Brian. Brian and I had many, many conversations for months. Ken and I would go in on a random Saturday and sit at the bar and chat with Brian (in addition to Metal Meltdown). We learned all kinds of things about Brian. Brian learned our beer preferences and would make great recommendations on new beers to try. One day, he just could not take it anymore. Brian finally said it. “I am sorry, this is awkward, but my name is actually Ryan.” If you know Ken, you know he went into his uncontrollable giggle I have grown so very fond of (it serves as a gauge for knowing when I should shut up). I am pretty sure he was hoping we would stop coming around so he did not have to confront it, but here I STILL am. Sadly (for us, not him), he moved down-state for a couple of years, but he is back and I am hoping I get to see him at the first Metal Meltdown since pre-covid this upcoming Tuesday (along with all of our other friends!).
Metal Meltdown is where I had the opportunity to formally introduce myself to Gutted Alive for the first time. I was really nervous, which is weird and funny because I went to school with two of the guys in the band. Thankfully, neither one of them remember me - I was an asshole in high school. I still feel very strongly that Gutted Alive is one of the most underrated death metal bands out there right now. They are working on a new release and I just cannot wait to unwrap that gift!
Just like everything else, Metal Meltdown was halted due to Covid. We were crushed but we totally understood. We tried producing creative ways to get together after we realized covid was around for the long haul. We missed each other so much. Seth tried putting together a couple online events, and although we got together online and chatted, it just was not the same. Finally, we decided to be covid commanders after several months without Metal Meltdown and began meeting at Linear Park. Some wore masks, some did not, but we all kept a good distance. Not quite as many people came to the bootleg Metal Meltdown, but it was still great seeing each other, and it brought a tad bit of normalcy to everyone’s life.
I met Amy, Seth’s wife, maybe once before hanging with her at the park for Metal Meltdown. We ended up chatting (of course) and by the end of the night, we made loose vacation plans. Yes, that is how impressive our community is. We go on vacation after the second date. Admittedly, I did not think it would really happen, but it did. She sent me a link to an Airbnb in the Southern Tier, and before we knew it, we were spending an awesome fall weekend together drinking, grilling, fishing, and laughing, all while a Trump garage sale was happening right down the street (it doesn’t matter who you vote for, that shit is funny). In isolation, because covid was very much still a thing and all of us have/had compromised family, we bonded over booze, food, games, fires, fishing, and of course listening to music for hours and hours. It is an experience I will never forget, and I hope we get the opportunity to recreate it soon.
I have gone completely off topic, but my point is, if I met you at Metal Meltdown, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to meet you in such a cool atmosphere. If you have not been to Metal Meltdown, please consider checking it out. I know social anxiety is a thing, perhaps it is outside of your comfort zone, life is busy, but it really is one of the most welcoming environments and you will walk away with new friends.
Sharing my love and fondness of Metal Meltdown this week is rather calculated. For the first time in years, Metal Meltdown is happening this coming Tuesday, September 13th, at Record Archive, in the Backroom Lounge, and I hope to see all you locals there!
I have included some snapshots of bands that have played. I recognize this is not everyone, I am extremely unorganized with my photos and videos, so here are a few I had readily available.
Gates of Paradox: