Happy Birthday To Us: Photos From An Epic Evening of Metal

In case you have been on a spiritual pilgrimage or without an Internet connection in recent months a quick reminder that we had a big party last weekend to celebrate our 100th issue. A bunch of bands that have graced the cover, best of lists or Hall Of Fame (some of them multiple honorees) played. The lineup delivered and then some: Evoken, Tombs, Municipal Waste, Repulsion, Pig Destroyer and Converge. Attendees got a free record (Pig Destroyer flexi) just for showing up. Our editor did a gigantic beer bong and people flew in from around the United States. I took Amtrak train 665 to Philadelphia and train 666 back to New York City the following day after a requisite visit to the Rocky statue.
Our main man Raymond Ahner (check out his work or follow him on Twitter) flew all the way from California and documented the evening from the front row, dodging bodies and bodily excretions as he does in a photo pit every week in the Bay Area. Ray’s photos from the night follow, as well as a few words on his journey. Congrats to Albert, Andrew and our staff — many who made the trek to Philly — and see you in another 100 issues. And a special thanks to our readers, who make this all possible.

When Decibel announced that they would be putting on a show to celebrate their 100th issue, I knew that I had to photograph it, even it meant a weekend trip across the country and back. But as I walked into the Union Transfer and secured a spot in front of the stage, I must admit that I became somewhat torn as to what to do. As a fan, I wanted to put the gear away, go grab a beer (or three) and simply enjoy the bands from the crowd. But as a photographer, I wanted to be smashed up against the stage dead center, and while attempting to capture as much of the evening as possible. Needless to say, I chose option number two. And even as the stage diving kids relentlessly kicked, elbowed and pummeled me, my gear, and everyone in the front row, I just couldn’t leave. Sure it would have been easy to join the other photographers who sought safety while shooting from the back of the stage, but to me, it just wouldn’t have been the same. I hope that these photos somewhat covey just what a spectacular evening of Metal it was.