Words & Deeds

Rescue the flowers, Grandma! Heavy metal bands to terrorize Idaho Botanical Garden.

It’s tough to know how the pansies will react when Hatebreed starts blasting at the Idaho Botanical Garden.

I’m talking about the flowers, not the neighbors. (Let’s assume that like rose bushes, a few residents in the vicinity could be prickly.)

Either way, the garden’s outdoor concert venue, Outlaw Field, is turning over a crunchy new leaf. Growling metalcore music is part of a four-act concert bill guaranteed to wake up anyone meditating at the koi pond.

Celtic-punk band Dropkick Murphys and heavy rock/metal group Clutch will co-headline the event on Monday, Oct. 14. Along with Hatebreed, singer Russ Rankin of punk quartet Good Riddance will open the show. Tickets go on sale for $44.50 at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 18, at Ticketmaster. Or charge by phone at 208-426-1766.

Don’t worry, Gramps. The din won’t go too far past bedtime. Music will end by 10 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the sonic onslaught begins at 5:45.

This marks the first time that a crowd of card-carrying headbangers will descend upon Outlaw Field during its dozen seasons of outdoor shows.

The garden hasn’t had a formal ban on heavy metal, punk rock or rap. But traditionally, the committee in charge of Outlaw Field has steered clear of certain aggressive music styles — including the type that incites sweaty men to hurl their bodies at each other in mosh pits.

That has changed. Executive Director Erin Anderson said the garden is expanding its horizons in order to appeal to more diverse Boise visitors.

“We’re operating to serve everybody in the Treasure Valley,” she said. “It’s not just one demographic of individuals. We’ve had a little bit of push back in the past for concerts that have focused on one specific demographic.”

Outlaw Field has drawn criticism from younger music fans for seemingly focusing on baby boomer acts such as Tony Bennett, Neil Young, Paul Simon and John Mellencamp.

Whether or not that perception is fair, a Hatebreed song or two such as “Smash Your Enemies” or “Everyone Bleeds Now” should help change it.

Anderson hopes that punk and metal fans will appreciate and respect the area’s normally tranquil environment.

“... We are the Botanical Garden, and people generally make their behaviors at concerts based on the venue as well,” Anderson said. “So we’ll see.”

Nick West of promoter CMoore Concerts, which books the bands, said organizers will work with performers to “deliver the best possible experience for our patrons as well as the neighborhood.”

The maximum volume at this concert will not be different from any other show.

And let’s not forget: Some gardeners believe that music stimulates plant growth.

“I’ve heard that flowers actually really enjoy heavy metal,” Anderson quipped.

Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Garden is located at 2355 N. Old Penitentiary Road in Boise. Online: idahobotanicalgarden.org.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
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