Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer tour '11, Day 2- NYC

Our NYC show could have easily been a joke. A screamo band, a European thrash band, an '80s punk band, and a vegan straight edge hardcore band walk into a bar. The joke could have then easily been a dream. I'm at ABC No Rio and my band is playing... but there are these huge punk guys from Basque country wearing their own band's shirt and my DAD is there. The dream could have easily become a dark comedy a la Little Miss Sunshine, when the antihero family featuring the quirky Dad and the punk rock daughter almost get in a fist fight on the street over a stranger's hay fever while her bandmates, unaware, innocently lap vegan ice cream cones a few blocks away.

ABC No Rio is the east coast's Gilman Street. Since 1980 this punk rock relic has stayed relevant, making hc history on the lower east side of Manhattan, an area I can't even hear the name of without moshing in honor of Warzone. Outside the venue street punx and political punx and hc kids of various ages and ethnicities milled around. I met up with my Dad and his girlfriend (who'd gotten up at 5 am to catch a bus to be there in time) and brought them to the club.

(My Dad in the backyard of ABC No Rio! He's the best!!!)

Inside, it was exciting to find a stencil done by one of my favorite artists, NYC native Seth Tobocman. I actually gave my Dad Seth's book You Don't Have To Fuck People Over To Survive for his birthday this year!

The show began. The opening band took me back to a shoeless Saetia-influenced time. Screamo is back in a big way. This was to be the first of many screamo bands we encountered on this tour (as I write this we're about a week in and have played with at least 1 "emotive hardcore" band a night) A whole new generation of screamsters are pouring their feelings out in venues nationwide, knocking over their equipment in fits of passion, writing deep, heartfelt lyrics. It's not my favorite thing, but it's better than a lot of things... like... recreational butchering... or Nickelback. Despite it not being my thing the guys in the screamo band were very nice dudes, and my Dad (who had never seen a screamo passion-fit before) was very impressed by them.

Humilitate from Basque country was next. It was their first day of tour, their first time in America, and word was they were a bit culture shocked. Shock aside, they thrashed and burned for at least a solid 45 minutes. That is a long time to thrash, especially jet lagged. The singer was a black-clad egg-shaped dude of at least 30 with long, thinning hair and a relentless scream. After their set I complimented him and he laughed, shrugged, and said in fractured English that he'd personally thought they sounded like shit. I found his post-set blues endearing.

I'll post video from our show at some point. After us was the event of the night. Bugout Society's reunion. These guys broke up over a decade ago. On this night they were literally insane. Clinically mental. Known for throwing White Castle burgers at the crowd back in the day, they modernized for 2011 and threw tofu burgers... made special for them by White Castle. WHAT?! The guitarist wore a sailor hat, the singer boogied down while they played, the banter was lunacy and I seriously felt like a total fucking square, struck dumb by 4 old punk dudes who were on a total other level, some old school freak-out shit that I have never been privy to prior to this. On Kingdom Bugout's singer said, "I've had some encounters with vegans before... mostly physical..." (I was later told a story by their bassist about them throwing burgers at Earth Crisis....) then continued on to tell us that it is dumb to name oneself after a restaurant and dumber yet to sing about food (which of course we don't, but you know...) which probably sounds shitty now, but was pretty funny then.

After the show burger-smeared kids hung out in front of the venue and I got talking to Mike (who I'd met at our last NYC show) and a dude named Eric, who back in the 90's did a zine called Rumpshaker that he's now resurrecting. As we talked, I realized I'd gotten an issue of Rumpshaker when I was 15 or 16 (it was amazing- it had an interview with Rick Ta Life and his Mom) aaaaaand 2 records that Mike put out (Ire and Jihad.) Small world!

Dave, Dustin, and Pames went with some kids from the show to a vegan ice cream shop called Lula's which apparently was amazing. I split to get dinner with my Dad and his lady love and on the way back to the venue, through the genetic "flapping gum syndrome" we both suffer from, we created a cherished family memory.

A puffy, clammy faced man walked by us propelled by sneezes so violent and wet that it seemed that his face was the lighting point of ground igniting fireworks. BAM! Mucal explosion. His splotchy mug spewed slime like a hydrant just pried open. Phlegm flew in all directions while his body shook from the aftershock. Goo flung from his nose like doves escaping a magic show. His hands, limp at his sides, flapped back and forth like two old gym socks whipped up in a hurricane. It was the single most vile fucking thing I have ever seen in my life, and my Dad, his girlfriend, and I all stared at the man in stunned disgust. No attempt to cover his mouth! Hands at his sides! People all around! What a fucking peasant!

As he passed us my mouth still hadn't closed from the shock, which in retrospect is pretty gross. As he passed our eyes followed him, all glued in disbelief, waiting for him to say it was a stunt, an act, something for TV. But no. As that germbag passed, my Dad, unable to handle such a breach of civilized behavior and common decency sneered, "COVER YOUR MOUTH!"

Now, If you live in a city (which my Dad does not), you know exactly what kind of words those are. They are not polite suggestions. Thems fightin' words.

"TAKE OFF YOUR BACKPACK." Sneezy spoke to my Dad with a dueler's calm, but before my Dad could react or Sneezy could take a single step I was on him, pushing him backwards and saying shit that I will not post here because it would make me sound like an idiot. He threw a few more fighting words at my Dad, then when it became apparent that there would be no fighting my Dad he shouted in his defense, "I have allergies! I have hay fever!". When that failed to draw sympathy (or loosen my grip) he played the victim. ("Get your hands off me! Don't touch me!") And when that didn't work he tried to punk me out. ("What are you gonna do, huh?!") Then, with some encouragement, he left.

As he backed away from us, my Dad the tourist in his backpack, and me, the loving and devoted daughter, Sneezy started calling us names. Just one name actually. Nazi. He called us nazis and sieg heiled as he backed away, a martyr to his cause (germ spreading and the right to fight my father in case you forgot.) To my Dad he screamed, "Sieg heil you Nazi! Tell me how to live MY life! You NAZI!" Then to me, "You nazi BITCH! Sieg heil. Ohhhhhh sieg heil! You're so typical, fucking nazi, with your fucking TATTOOS! FUCK YOU!!!" My Dad and I stood on the sidewalk, two baffled Jews getting sieg heiled at on the streets of New York by a criminal sneezer.

When Sneezy was at a safe distance, I went over to my Dad and his girlfriend. We all looked at each other, eyebrows wiggling around to express our befuddlement. Nazis? Us? How... inaccurate. Assholes? Yes. Jerks? Sure. But Nazis? Nein! Of all the names in this world to call us... NAZIS?

And then I looked down at my shirt.

We howled with laughter. We laughed all the way back to the van, giggling wildly as we retold the story to each other over and over, reliving each surreal moment to the hilarious punchline where my shirt made us nazis. At the van we relived the story again for the dudes, said our goodbyes, and then me, my swazi-covered (anti-fascist- if you somehow, like Sneezy, missed that part) shirt, Dave, Pames, and Dustin hit the road.

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