EDITORIAL: This is a Celebration – Some Parting Thoughts on a Band Called The Chariot

The Chariot 2013 Feature

Call it weird, but there was always this part of me that had known deep down inside that One Wing would be The Chariot’s final album. Yes, this Douglasville-based act had already released four prior albums as well as a label-released demo EP [talk about an oxymoron], but it wasn’t until that summer in 2012 that it felt like they had come out of the studio with something that sounded complete.

“Complete” doesn’t exactly have to mean polished, and complete doesn’t have to mean perfect. I mean, what does “perfect” mean in the world of music anyway? I’m talking about a band whose sound has been metaphorically compared to sandpaper, but it’s in the midst of that rough and abrasive sound that I’ve heard something more genuine and artistically expressive than most of the music that I’ve listened to in my life.

You’re only on the first line of what’s going to take a little while.

Music fans usually have that one band that they’ve connected to over the years as they’ve grown up. This doesn’t need to be in the same way of having that favorite band which has consistently put out your favorite track that becomes your anthem for your _____ year of high school or college, but instead, a band that’s just been present for a long period of time, but in ways that have changed, and that’s what The Chariot has been for me.

One of the first bands that I’ve worked with while I was making my initial steps into the industry as a one-day Warped Tour street team volunteer for Tooth & Nail/Solid State was Haste The Day. So when the Indiana metalcore act had decided to put an end to their career, I knew I just had to be at the St. Pete date of their final tour. It was there that I stumbled into one of the opening acts that had completely blown my mind.

This ain’t my first rodeo…

I don’t know what it was that captured my attention at that show. It could’ve been the hilarious mic check lines that I heard screamed out by Josh Scogin and the rest of the band, the chaotic guitar swings and tosses, the bizarre outfits worn by some of the moshers that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere just for their set, or even the fact that I’ve never seen so many stage dives done come from musicians mid-performance. Whatever it was, it had ultimately won me over by the end of the night.

The madness didn’t stop there — since then, I’ve gone to five more shows (excluding the 10 minutes that I spent catching them at Warped Tour 2013), with each one going one step further than the last. The second of these shows was on one of the biggest scales of them all, the final encore set at Underground Stage of Cornerstone 2011 [might I add that this was the last fully-operating year of the festival’s existence?], complete with a mid-set intermission of Listener’s 1,000th show, free donuts, friends of the band tossing an insane amount of toilet paper into the crowd, and the biggest beach ball I’ve ever seen.

In the craziest turn of events, I was given the incredible opportunity of being able to watch this set from backstage, only to end up being turned away by the festival security because of how packed out the backstage area was. I still clearly remember that when Scogin had apologized to me for the goof on the festival’s end of the deal, I made a spur of the moment joke which had since become my motto for all that was to come:

“Don’t worry about it! The way I see it is, why stand behind the DJ when you could be on the dance floor? Why watch it when you could live it?”

If no one hears you, will you still want to sing?

There is creativity, and then there is freedom. After having been continually pegged with so many nonsensical genre labels which feature popular buzzwords that have been relied upon by every single local band trying to make it in today’s scene (“southern,” “math,” and our favorite, “-core,”), The Chariot have managed to continually reinvent themselves for the better part of 10 years.

Counterbalancing the instrumental predominance of The Chariot’s music comes what most people would remember: the lyrics. Upon revisiting the band’s discography for the duration of my time spent writing this editorial, I couldn’t help but recognize some of the intricacies that I’ve repeatedly looked over in the past. Lines like “My point is, salt is on the ground, the cast are on their way, and the audience is set. Now that we have painted faith, shout, ‘Victory is ours!'” have never felt so inspiring and thought-provoking as they do now.

This is the last chance you got…

Two days before college moving day, I came across the news which makes for the reason of the existence of this editorial; The Chariot have decided to call it a day, but not without announcing and embarking on one final tour. So in a matter of days, I threw caution to the wind and scooped up a ticket for what looked to be undoubtedly one of the most memorable shows that I would go to in 2013, the band’s final Atlanta show.

Anybody that was at The Masquerade on November 16 will tell you that there wasn’t one single moment that lacked emotion during the entirety of the set. In between the first two songs played, there may have been a solid two minutes of feedback and hesitation. It was just one of those shows that nobody wanted to see come to an end, but as we all knew, it had to. Every song had its own twist, and every moment that The Chariot’s used in their live show arsenal (such as hanging from the venue’s rafters and having David Kennedy perform on his drumset in the middle of the crowd for the closing of “The Deaf Policeman”) was all there.

But really, what made this show so conclusive to the tour (and semi-conclusive to the band’s career, seeing as how the band had decided to make this Saturday’s Douglasville show at The Seven Venue their actual final show) was the human aspect of it all. Considering the fact that this is a band which has at times been relatively quiet when it came to dialogue with the audience, never before had I heard so much come from Scogin during breaks in the set. Even further, never had I seen so much unity between strangers at a show of this size. As the set was starting, it fully hit me how blessed I am to have so many amazing people I’ve met and have bonded with, because of The Chariot; some of which had traveled hours (just like me) for the same show.

If I leave this earth tonight may it be said that I spoke my peace, I spoke with the wrath of His grace.

November 24 will mark the end of an era in heavy music, and just like most of the other things that I’ve learned to leave behind during these crazy (and probably awkward) years in college, I’m all right with that. Everything that had to be said has now been said, everything that’s had to be played has now been played, and all that we’ll be left with will be five full-length albums of chaos and YouTube videos involving stage dives, smashed guitars, pears, and passion.

To all of the past and current members of The Chariot, thank you.

 

Editorial written by: Adrian Garza — (Follow him on Twitter)

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