I watched footage of the bands that appeared at the Download Festival 2005 on television this weekend. I have more than a passing interest in this genre of music so I recorded the shows. I was particularly impressed with the antics of Matt Zane the singer in Society 1. I’d read in the past that he had done ‘Suspension Shows’ in the States. For those who don’t know, and why should you, this involves Matt having six hooks pushed through his skin, across his shoulder blades, the hooks are then threaded with rope and he is suspended above the stage.
I had seen this been done before in a video that I purchased a few years ago now called Physical Graffiti. The video was narrated by Jim Rose and contained extreme sport footage, body modification, piercing, tattooing, implants, DIY stitching and 2 men doing, what I thought at the time was a Sun Dance. With the traditional North American Indian version the skin on the chest is pierced and will, eventually, rip clean through. In the modern version the skin on the back is obviously punctured, but isn’t allowed to rip. The men in the video said that the act of suspension induced altered states of mind and feelings of great calm, similar to meditation.
According an article on the Download 2005 web-site Matt broke the record for the longest suspension in front of the largest number of people after playing the entire half hour set suspended. The chaps in the video just hung from hooks on someone’s porch in the sun. Afterwards they seemed very relaxed and quite sleepy. Matt on the other hand had a member of the road-crew standing at the side of the drum kit pushing him out, more or less out over the audience and generally swinging him around. That’s gotta hurt somewhere.