Surrounded by spooky spider webs, skeleton chandeliers, and fans decked out with Day of the Dead make-up, Avenged Sevenfold played KROQ’s festive Fright Night at the Red Bull Sound Space with an energy and volume that could wake the dead. Their fans followed suit.
“That’s the loudest two hundred people I’ve ever f**king heard,” said M. Shadows. It’s been a long time since Avenged Sevenfold has played a tiny show to 300 people. Their fans appreciated the intimacy, pushing closer and closer until they were almost onstage. Avenged Sevenfold recalled times when they didn’t play to anyone, let alone 300 uber-fans who knew the lyrics better than them.
“When we first started, we used to go onstage when there was five people there. And they were our friends,” said Shadows. “And they hated us, but they were cool. We’d give them free shirts and they’d stand there. Chain Reaction. Chain Reaction was still big. I mean, we played at some youth centers where you just set up in the basketball, you’re in an arena and there’s five people. It’s f**king awesome.”
The first time they remembered being really floored by the amount of people at their show was a Warped Tour in Ventura where they had “at least a thousand kids watching us for the first time and we had to stop the set because kids were getting hurt and they were moshing.”
But after years of playing to kids like that, the only time Avenged Sevenfold gets nervous is if they haven’t been out for a while. Or while they were recording their newest album, Hail To The King.
“There’s definitely a bit of pressure but it’s for our own weird perfectionism and OCD that we just have to get everything right for ourselves,” said Shadows, saying they were all a little tough on each other. “Of course, we just can’t wait to get out there and play in front of the kids.”
“That’s the whole goal, is just to finish it up as fast as possible so we can go play it and hang out with these dudes,” continued Shadows, talking about how grateful he was for his fans. These same fans knew all the lyrics to their songs while they were performing, asked for the band to play some of their favorite old songs (“We will recycle all of the songs, don’t worry,” said Shadows.), and weren’t afraid to get physical to get closer to their favorite band.
Shadows is used to dealing with all these kids and has even more experience tempering personalities now that he’s a father. The friendly frontman told an audience member who asked about fatherhood that he’s “just a proud dad now.”
“I’ve got a little munchkin running around going crazy. We took him on tour last tour. ‘Hail To The King’ is his favorite song. He’s drumming. Arin’s teaching him drums; it’s fun. He walks around all day just playing drums. It’s pretty cool.”
“And yes, I do change diapers,” laughed Shadows. “Actually, Johnny when he’s drinking too much.”
–Nadia Noir, KROQ