Cincinnati was rad. We played with Trapped Under Ice and Have Heart. Ryan moshed (I saw it), our merch table was destroyed by stage divers, and the venue was a fucking wrestling ring. Imagine a show wrapping in a semi circle around a big, soft stage and kids jumping from every possible angle and moshing in every open space. It was mayhem. After the show all us always-on-tourers came together and stories were traded till the night was becoming morning. Aint nuthin funnier than hanging out with other people who have had the same insane and flatulent Hungarian drivers as us, and have their own hilarious imitations of them.
After the show we stayed with friends of a friend, these two dudes and their 5 cats who were the most amazing little creatures I've met in a long time. This Darrell. He's twice the size of a normal cat, and has tusks.
We awoke to Andreas and his roommate making hash browns and walnut banana muffins for us (!), marveled at their glow in the dark bubble bath, then headed off to Burlington, Iowa, which, unbeknownst to us and probably most of the rest of the world, is, in fact, a place. A dude with the word "WAR" tattooed on his throat greeted us and led us to the show space, which was a huge echoey room with old Italian men frowning at the kids from the back. The crowd was mostly high-school age. Ryan asked me how it felt to be the oldest person in the room. I couldn't answer that though, because we were playing with a band called THIEVES from Chicago, and some of them are older than me.
During one of the opening bands I saw a kid beat his own chest. It was during a lull in his mosh routine. And not done in like a "I'm feeling this beat" sort of way, or a single pound like us east coasters are prone to doing, but like, straight up ape. I couldn't even LOL, I was so depressed.
Our set echoed like a black metal recording and at the end of show we realized that we did not know a soul in Burlington, Iowa. After some asking around, we were told by a 17 year old dude that his parents were out of town so we could crash there. Sweet. His house was filled with his friends who were all wearing Kingdom shirts they purchased that night, and we dragged miniature mattresses down from his little sisters' rooms and laid our sleeping bags on top on the heart-patterned sheets. Pierce woke up first and was told by the (pacing, worried) kid that he had no clue when his parents were coming home and that they would freak out if they saw us there, so we hopped in the van and headed to Des Moines lest he get grounded and we get arrested.
Des Moines, oh, Des Moines. You never disappoint us. The show was set up by Sir Danthrax at a rad punk house/venue called The Haunted Basement. Drunk punx and broken skate ramps, half eaten bagels and bottles of ketchup on every surface, and freezing cold air pouring in from... everywhere? I shivered my way through this night, but I am lizard and need a heat lamp to stay alive in non-tropical climates, so maybe it wasn't as cold as I remember it. KNUCKLED DOWN (who I loved) played and between them and the next band I shivered in the hang out room, where I witnessed a most triumphant fight.
Dude A was a tall, ironically-mustachioed punk rocker. Dude B was a short thrasher dude with long snarled hair and skate shoes. Story goes that dude B stole dude A's car keys. At different points in the night I heard things like, "dude B is totally bragging about having dude A's car keys", and (from dude A) "Has anyone seen my car keys?" and "Dude, I think dude B took my keys!" When dude A and dude B found themselves in the hang out room at the same time, shit got real.
SMACK SMACK SLAP SLAP SLAP "dude B you stole my fucking keys!!!"" BAM SLAP SMACK
It was a bizarre and unrefined mix of a cat fight and a human fight. Batting/slapping motions were mixed with what appeared to be a few actually punches. At first, I thought I was a joke and started laughing. Then I realized it wasn't a joke, and laughed harder.
Dude A tired quickly of smacking and pulled out the big guns. And by that I mean scissors. He pulled out a pair of scissors and started cutting motherfucking dude B's hair right off. Dude B promptly lost it, grabbed the scissors and held them back threateningly at dude A, screaming, "I'LL CUT YOUUUUU!", but was quickly tackled by other people at the show and the 2 took it outside, where rumor has it, they left in dude A's car together.
Our friend Ace showed up with two (cheeseless) pizzas for us that featured garlic and banana peppers and basil and artichoke hearts . Our set was SO much fun. We left happy, full, and thrilled to skip the punk house floor for some cozy couches in Kansas. As usual, we said our "See ya when I see ya"s and drove off into the night.