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All photo by Gary Ussery or Fargo.Live

Rap Fan in Metal Land


Over the weekend, in between driving Uber shifts, I had the amazing opportunity to photograph The New Direction Fest 7. I had only been to the New Direction once while it was open, way back when. Seriously, I can’t even remember the year or the band. What I do remember was it was early in my photo career, I was there for my little brother, and he was there for a friend.

Closet Witch on Night 2 of New Direction Fest. Photo by Gary Ussery of Fargo.Live

What I experienced this weekend throughout NDF7 makes me truly wish I would have done more to attend. The loyalty. The love. The f**king thrashing. Holy shit, the thrashing. The literal blood. The sweat. I saw people crying. Tears of pure joy at seeing these local legends just destroy The Aquarium stage.

The New Direction actually plays a role in me starting Fargo.Live and getting a hold of Fargo Underground. I absolutely love the local music scene in Fargo and I know I am not alone. However, it seems like we have a problem keeping venues alive. I know that is something that Fargo Underground never wants to see happen, and here at Fargo.Live, I agree.

I don’t think my literary arsenal is equipped to describe how I felt at NDF7. From the title, you will find that I am at home with tooth rattling bass. I’ve always considered myself open minded, and I listen to pretty much any kind of music. Even country (we will be forming a line so you can tell me how lame I am). Yet, I had primarily visited rap shows in the FM area.

I won’t be letting that happen any longer.

High Hopes on night three of NDF7! Photo by Gary Ussery of Fargo.Live

Not only did I cover the show, but I spent each night of the show talking with the band members, the fans, and the other photographers. I spent late evenings editing, and looking for the music of those bands. I found some new favorites, guys.

By far, what absolutely shocked me the most, was the near natural disastrous force I felt well up behind me while Swing Low not only tore the house down, but rebuilt it as an effigy of their downright brutal, faithful fans. What I felt, I thought stuff like that was reserved for $100 tickets to a band that passes through once every ten years. Not these local BAMFs.

Getting close to the drummer of Comrades. Photo by Gary Ussery of Fargo.Live

Side note, I brought my country music loving wife to night three. I was not aware that night three was metal night. I accidentally involved my wife in her very first mosh pit. She got kicked in the mouth, and was spitting blood. She said she loved it, and would definitely go again.

This dive during Swing Low’s set was tame compared to some of the others. Photo by Gary Ussery of Fargo.Live

That. That right there is what I want to happen with Fargo.Live. That is what I yearn for with Fargo Underground. Let’s get out of the damn house, get kicked in the head, spit blood, and tell the story of that one amazing show from so many years ago. We don’t remember the year. We might not even remember the band.

We remember the people we were there with.

We remember the venue.

And damn it, we remember feeling alive.


Editor’s Note: Gary Ussery’s new project, Fargo.Live, is just underway. He’s made it his mission to attend 2-3 shows local to Fargo-Moorhead per week. Visit his site and get involved in his quest to document the Fargo-Moorhead music scene!


Here are links to the bands featured in the blog’s Instagrams. Give it a click, then give them a follow. They deserve it.