When people think of gaming and music it’s easiest to think of 8-bit beats and EDM. While DreamHack Dallas 2019 featured an EDM night with some great talent, it was Saturday’s music selection that not only stole the show but created a unique once in a lifetime experience for both con-goers and existing fans of metal. Yes, you read that right, metal. Thrashing, crashing, moshing metal with the one and only Trivium headling.
The band from Orlando, Florida debuted in 1999 and became the soundtrack to my middle school and teenage years. Defined as metalcore, thrash metal, progressive metal, or any other subgenre you want to assign them, Trivium has been screaming into our hearts for 20 years now and DreamHack Dallas brought that experience to an audience of gamers. Headlined by Matt Heafy, Trivium electrified the crowd in a way I haven’t seen before.
Not only did Heafy step down into the crowd and stir up the mosh pit, but he also opened up about his time playing games and how much it meant to him to be in that venue, with those people, at that moment.
Heafy said while addressing the audience mid-set, “I’ve always seen metal and gaming there for the underdog, there for the outcasts. And I’ve found solace in finding other people who felt that same thing through gaming, through metal. So, my friends, I’ve always thought [that] games and metal make perfect sense together,” accentuating his statement as he pointed to the crowd, “This is proof that it truly fucking does…I never in a million years dreamed I could play Fortnite and on the same day play with Trivium in the same fucking venue.”
And in the crowd, we ate it up. We screamed with excitement and cheered him on as we realized that the man on stage who was the voice behind some of our favorite songs was just like us. While some in the crowd probably knew, Heafy even streams on Twitch, under matthewkheafy, and for those of us who didn’t his mention of sending him a Twitch Prime sub at the end of his talk let us know.
There was something magical about being in a space where we had all been cheering on our favorite esports teams or competing in our own LANs coming together to guitar riffs and trashing around in a pit. It was a once in a lifetime experience that in and of itself was worth the price of a three-day pass. If you’ve never been in a mosh pit, then it may come as a surprise that they are one of the most caring spaces at venues. Sure people slam into each other, throw their arms, and leave with a few bumps and bruises along the way, but it’s also space where everyone in it is looking out for the person next to them.
It’s much of the same feeling of moving through a packed convention. While jerks exist, time on the convention floor often feels like there is a thread connecting you to everyone around you, to those waiting in line with you, to those fans who get the same feeling from pop culture as you. Here, cosplayers matched, guys in esports jerseys, even a guy in compression shorts and nothing else, we were all gamers and metalheads and we were all welcomed.
I jumped into my first pit when I was 15 at a Misfits show in a small cramped venue in San Antonio and for the first time in seven years, I jumped into another one at DreamHack. When I fell, the guys around me quickly helped me up, continuing the circular movement the moment I got back up. While there are some pit horror stories, I don’t have any and at DreamHack Dallas, it was nothing but love, crashing bodies, and excitement as Trivium raged on stage. The ground felt like it was vibrating from the sheer movement of the pit and the music coming from the speakers. While EDM Night was loud, Metal Night was louder, humming out past the convention hall floor and into the panel room where a meetup was being held,
In addition to pulling off a show that had the floor shaking, DreamHack Dallas is the only stop in the United States in Trivium’s tour schedule for this year. While the band is a regular in Europe it’s rare to see them stateside, making Metal Night in the middle of the convention that more epic. After this concert, I’m excited to see who DreamHack books next, and ultimately how connected to the crowd and band I’ll feel next year.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.