Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer tour 11, Day 4- Ashtabula, OH

"Everyone in this town looks like a Vietnam Vet."

We rolled into town, passing leathery grubby-faced bandana-wearing men driving dinged up vehicles from the '70s. Exclusively. I didn't see a single female or person under 30 until we got to The West End, where as we pulled up we heard, "...Dave?"

Outside, Bust It! from Connecticut sat around their sawed-off pickup truck trailer drinking beers. Dave knew some of them from growing up in MA. We all sat around talking while Ivan, our fairy god mother-created miracle fill in, listened to our songs on his iPod. Barnum, the promoter/venue d00d rolled up with a huge bowl of pasta for us and we descended like locusts. It should be noted that Barnum is an all star. He runs a DIY venue in his town, he plays in Homewrecker, and when I called him the night before in a dead panic asking if we could practice before the show AND borrow a drum set to do it, he was totally accommodating and understanding.

I sat outside watching one of the guys from Bust It! juggle while The Dudes practiced inside. They started "Real Crime", I braced myself to hear it massacred. Ivan was too good to be true, coming to our rescue, being such a good dude... there had to be catch. He definitely sucked at drums.

They played... and played the song almost perfectly. Within about 10 minutes it sounded like a recording.

After an hour it was time for the show to start. Dead Words, who'd only been together for something like 2 months, was awesome. I'd describe them, if asked, as "Brain tickling heaviness". Their music was complex, full of unexpected twists and turns. Watching them felt like doing a brain teaser. Sudokucore. Crosspuzzletry. They're playing Philly shortly after we get home, I will be in attendance, getting my brain musically massaged.

Bust It! totally took me by surprise by being really punk and really catchy (not to mention really tight and really good.) I figured they'd be a Righteous Jams-type slow n' low band that would inspire floor-grazing mosh moves but instead they made me want to ride bikes with my friends on a carefree summer day. So awesome! If their record doesn't melt in the van before we get home it's gonna stay on the old turn table for awhile.

Between bands Ivan sat outside listening to our songs, air drumming, stressing. When it came time to play, he was wild-eyed and smiling. "Fuck it, let's do it!" We played 3 songs and it was awesome. The crowd smiled along with us, forgiving our mistakes.

There's a craziness with Ivan being here, we've become like people after a near-death experience, throwing ourselves full force into what we're doing. Where mistakes used to eat at me (see 3 entries ago- Philly), now I just laugh at them. If ever there was a time I took playing too seriously, it's over. We're here to have fun, play punk rock, and share a few ideas. We're not fucking Pantera. Shit ain't gotta be so serious. Sometimes you can show up, practice before your set, and play 3 songs. At the end there's still basketball outside, hot pasta, and a friend to crash with. Fuck it, you know?

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