I get a fairly patchy sleep in and wake up a bit before midday. Shower and a shave and I’m feeling good, we sort ourselves out and head for breakfast to this awesome little place called 821 Café that caters to the vegans aswell as the meaties. Yeap goes for the mac & cheese, which he seems to be developing a worrying addiction to. Eating that shit at least once a day. Sometimes twice. I go for the “Big Meaty” –with a name like that, how could I not? It’s a bed of rosemary potatoes covered in ham, sausage and bacon, all covered in cheddar and monterrey cheese: aw yeeeeeah. Not only that, but since I’m feeling pretty USA, I have to try the biscuits and gravy too. The amount of food I get could feed a whole family. It’s obscene. I barely make a dent in the Big Meaty, getting less than halfway through. I only manage a few pathetic bites of the biscuits and gravy, and so I’m forced to regress to a practice which I thought I’d left at my granny’s house a couple of decades ago: hiding food under other food.
Afterwards we head down to a record store, Vinyl Conflict, owned by Brandon from Government Warning/No Way Records/ex-Municipal Waste and his wife Laura. It’s an awesome shop but unfortunately they don’t have that Punk Is Everything book I’m looking for. We hear some great records and I pick up a copy of the Hjertestop LP on green vinyl for $10. Myself and Penke both need new shoes so we get Greg to drop us off at some huge mall while he gets himself a new phone; I get some black Converse for less than half the price I’d pay in Australia. We get back and set up the gear in Matt’s basement and jam on a new song we’ve been working on. Penke’s Hartke bass head has been giving us troubles through certain cabs too so we fuck around with that until it works.
Pretty soon it’s time to get down to the venue so we head there and get burgers. It’s a cool place called Strange Matter with loads of old arcade games and a scrappy kinda vibe about it. Nobody’s in too much of a hurry to start and it’s around 11pm by the time the first band goes on. First up are Black Age and it’s nothing to write home about, followed by Lost Tribe who I’ve been looking forward to hearing since they were described to me as 40% Discharge, 60% Joy Division. It’s more like The Fall or Bauhaus crossed with Murder City Devils. Not bad, but not Discharge meets Joy Division. They put on a good stage show, backlit with white lights and a smoke machine. Following them are Syndrome, who Brandon’s playing drums for. They’re decent, though hampered by some technical difficulties. Raw d-beat hardcore with energy and aggression. By this stage things are dragging on and I’m well on the way to being too pissed to play. Greg checks to see if we can go on before Aghast but the answer is no. It’s now past 1am and people are leaving…too many bands for this late a start on a Tuesday night. Aghast set up and play and it’s not what I expected; I saw them with Framtid in Copenhagen five years ago and they were great. Raw, jagged crasher crust d-beat. This time they were without the same impact and seemed pretty messy. We do a couple shots of Jaeger, set up quick and get going. This is it: after the first couple of gigs to warm up, we properly hit it yesterday and now we’re on form. The gig is awesome; best I’ve played with Kromosom. It’s rough and sweaty, people are killing each other on the floor and we’re doing the same onstage. At one point I shoulder Yeap hard and he spins around and shoves me off the stage. I feel my foot catch at the edge and for one terrifying second it seems I’m going to have to choose between my guitar and my teeth. As the six foot drop looms up I somehow get my leg out and land fine, continuing the song and staying down there for a couple more. Fuckin’ close one. The gig basically degenerates into Kromosom vs Richmond. Yeap throws the mic stand into the front row, they throw it back and it goes on like this. We finish up and I can’t talk, covered head-to-toe in sweat and breathing heavy. I grab a pitcher of water and go outside to cool down. After I’ve sat in a puddle of sweat for five minutes a cop car screeches up and this big officer dude gets out screaming at me that he’s gonna arrest me and all this shit. Turns out I’m sitting against the door of the police station. Duh. He lets me off. We head back in and do shots and drink beers before packing down and heading back to Matt’s place; we keep on with leisurely drinkin’, talkin’ and smokin’ until around 5am before hitting the sack.
We head back to Café 821 and I get a large coke to help with the hangover…the waitress goes to take it before I’m finished and there’s a face on me like a child who’s been told there’s no Santa Clause. Then she brings it back full and I realise that you get free refills: once again, America FUCK YEAH. Having learnt my lesson yesterday, I just go for two eggs. It’s still humungous, but I don’t leave an embarrassingly full plate behind. Granny’d be proud. Yeap gets mac & cheese. We stop in at Vinyl Conflict again to pick up a demo of Brandon’s one-man death/thrash band Obsessor and then hit the road since it’s a six hour trip. En route we drive through the most intense storm I’ve ever experienced. Lightning, thunder, hail the size of my fist, trees coming down at the side of the road, zero visibility, every car with their hazard lights on, half of them pulled up at the side of the highway…it’s fuckin scary. Seriously fucking intense. We stop at a little convenience store somewhere in North Carolina and this crazy tweaker gets out of a pickup and walks up to us shouting and gesturing ‘I wanna join the club! Let me in!’. He’s about 6’4” with long red hair, a baseball cap, a pimply face with plasters all over it and hugely dilated pupils. I tell him he’s already in the club and he seems happy and wanders off hooting.
Tonight’s show is in a little bar called The Get Down with Autarch and Megahurtz. We get there and load in and it seems like a cool place, someone’s made us a chilli and it’s a good one. We make a start on some PBRs and chat to the locals, who are real friendly. I meet a couple of dudes with Irish relatives who turn out to know some friends of mine from back home and pretty soon we get to the whiskey shots. Autarch start and it’s something like Kylesa and Red Sparrows with a His Hero Is Gone influence. Not my thing really but done well. We play next and it’s decent, a good sound and people are into it but my ears are hurting like hell. Nevertheless it’s enjoyable, and next up are Megahurtz. They’re awesome: two girls and three dudes playing crazy crust thrash with wild guitar solos and tons of energy. Like early Megadeth with a Sacrilege edge. We continue with the whiskey and beer and start living up to the D-Beat Hooligans moniker. Someone’s taking pictures and we’re doing a lot of football chanting, Kirk gets overexcited and starts throwing beer around, and then gets handed a mop. The mop quickly becomes a weapon and somehow myself and Penke end up wrestling violently about whether or not AC/DC are really that good (they’re not). It all gets pretty lairy but luckily enough sense remains that we give up before sustaining any serious injury…though there is a scary moment after we crash into the jukebox when it stops working for a second and it seems we may have to do a runner.
We go back to Justin from Autarch/Kakistocracy’s place and hang out getting drunk on awesome ales from this brewery called Highland Brewing Company. Vague memories of going to another house down the street, something involving bongs, and eventual oblivion.
I wake up feeling pretty decent, so I’m clearly still drunk. Apparently I’d tried to bro down with poor old Greg during the night. He was having none of it so I seem to have wandered around until I found somewhere soft to lay my head. Turns out that a girl tried to do sex on Penke last night at the other house we went to…she’d been after him the whole night and eventually lured him back her room on the pretence of listening to a conspiracy radio show he quite likes called Coast To Coast. Hah! As soon as he was sitting comfortably on the edge of her bed, she stood up, turned off the light and jumped on him. He pushed her off and literally ran out the door and all the way back to Justin’s place –amazing!
We sort ourselves out and I drink another Highland ale to stave off the potentially monstrous hangover looming on the horizon. Justin takes us down to Rosetta Café where they do great vegan/veggie food and also have a good range of local ales on tap. Naturally, Yeap gets mac & cheese. I go for chilli cheese fries. They’re fantastic. I’m gonna be so frickin’ fat by the end of this tour. We get back in the van and I get a couple of hours sleep on the way to Atlanta. The highlight of the journey is when Kirk discovers the Playboy I’d stashed under a seat in the van and promptly gets blamed for it…heheh! We’ve got a couple of hours to kill before the show so Greg takes us to this legendary little joint called the Claremont. It’s a strip club GG Allin used to live over, and it’s got a reputation as a place where you can see, shall we say, “alternative” ladies dancing. We walk in and get a few cans of Miller. It’s dark, dingy and neon, with a smell of old sex wafting around. This 60-year-old lady in a skimpy costume gets up on a little stage which is inside the circular bar. I know what’s about to happen but I really don’t want it to. Shit gets a little bit too real a little bit too quick. Basically, if you ever feel like seeing a stripper with her jugs around her ankles dance to New Order while shouting at the barmaid to order her a couple of cheeseburgers, now you know where to find it. We have a couple of beers and end up chatting away to the oldest stripper this side of the Mason-Dixie line for a bit before heading down to the gig.
It’s on in the basement of some kind of art space, and there’s a touring band who’d jumped on the bill just finishing up as we get there. Greg and Yeap head to the liquor store and pick up a crate of Miller and we get our drink on. Tons of people start turning up, loads of kids from Florida who’ve travelled five hours for the show, at least half of them girls, which is a nice change from the usual hardcore sausage fest. It was the same in Asheville actually. Bukakke Boys are first on and rip out some blazing negative hardcore, good shit. Disfigure follow with some U.S. tinged d-beat chaos and next up are Disable with their Disclose-influenced hardcore assault. Dis, dis, dis! We go next and it’s a good show; people go fucking nuts, beating the crap out of each other and singing along, but the set-up means that I can’t hear shit from my guitar so it’s hard to get into it. People seem to have loved it and assure me it sounds great out on front but if I can’t hear it properly I just don’t enjoy myself. Can’t win ‘em all.
Next up are Mauser who we’ve been looking forward to seeing based on reports from friends and their excellent 7” EP. In a word, they fucking KILL. Best band I’ve seen this year, hands down. It’s fucking rare that I’ll feel like braving the pit but this shit is so fucking intense that I can’t not. Raw, loud, charging crasher crust, white hot raging d-beat madness. Their drummer’s incredible, hitting hard and somehow fitting double the hits into every roll, the bass is like a nuclear holocaust, the guitar raw and cutting and the vocals pure shrieking wrath. Hell yes.
Afterwards we hang out and drink more, talk to the Mauser boys about getting them over for a week in Australia after their Japan tour. We’ll be staying with Jesse from Bukakke Boys, who just happens to live around the corner from the Claremont…guess where we’re going. We get there and it’s crazy; from being the only customers at 8pm it’s now packed full of punters and loose as fuck. There’s a band playing jazzy blues hits, elderly ladies dancing their tits off (literally), all kinds of weirdoes sloshing around and a bunch of scary bikers at the bar. Naturally Yeap goes up to the smelliest, hairiest, ugliest one of them and goes ‘hey mate, nice jacket’! The dude just kind of growls and looks him up and down. We slowly back away and head to the dancefloor. Most of the kids from the show who’re old enough to get in have come, so there’s a lot of silly dancing going on. Yeap stagedives and the maracas lady runs and hides behind the drums. Half the blues band look terrified, the other half are loving it. There’s this old black dude wailing on a saxophone so all the punks end up chanting “saxophone, saxophone, saxophone!” and he takes it up a notch. We drink on and eventually take the party back to Ruby from Bukkake Boys, via the supermarket –an extremely messy and drunken affair. I realise that we haven’t eaten since breakfast and that’s why we’re already steaming drunk. We get back to the party and I’m barely hanging in there. The doobie whacker consumed with Mauser’s bassist Larson right before their show doesn’t help matters either, but either way, by the time we start shotgunning beers I’m already out of it…
NEXT: TEXAS CHAOS: STREET RIOT IN HOUSTON, BOAT SHOW IN AUSTIN…
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