SHOWS #8 and #9

1/16/09 @ Seth’s House, Columbus OH

In the precarious house show world, there are times when a show is confused for a party with bands at it. This was a party with bands at it… I am certain of that. There were red plastic cups and a “Big Lebowski” theme honored by about 37% of those in attendance. The hosts of the party were more than generous. In line with the movie, bottles of Kahula White Russians, like brown bowling pins, graced the counter top to the delight of a drinking crowd. It was free so I had some. For folks who are fans of a spiked melted chocolate shake that has sat out for a day, this drink is for you. If you are turned off by thickness in a beverage or dairy and alcohol in a strange marriage, you may want to pass this one up. For my careless flirtation with the dairy devil, I was punished with a stomach full of gas. People at the party were nice, which isn’t always the case in the college culture cluster fuck that can happen at a lot of parties complete with football Gestapo, homophobes, and macho morons.

Seth, the host of the party and he who invited me, played in an alt rock band. They occasionally ventured into more punk energy. Cold White North I think they were called and it was fitting for the sub zero weekend we were enduring. It was their first show I guess and they actually sounded like a well-rehearsed band. It was great for them. Maybe I am secretly a fan of train wreck first shows that are awkward and almost unbearably bad. I was distracted though catching up with some Cleveland area friends who came for the show. I wasn’t listening thoroughly.

Next was The Ghost of Asa Phelps from Athens, OH. That’s where they go to college at least, I don’t know anyone who is actually from there. They are the type of band to list Dillinger Four and Jawbreaker, in that order, as influences in a “sounds like” category of a social networking page for bands. Florida style, throaty punk. They pulled it off pretty well I thought and had some good things going on.

My good friends No Target Audience from Kent, OH got the floor moving. They play a brand of up-beat, bouncy punk that is fun to dance too and therapeutic to sing along too. At times they show off Lucero like melodies and Defiance Ohio esque sing alongs. A great spirit uplifting band. I danced with Sam Bucky. Our moves were so on.

I was ready to leave right after the bands but then I got into a conversation about why a band’s influences on their myspace page shouldn’t be “Boobs.” I was aided in courage by the free drinks. As a DIY punk enthusiast, one of the things I love about DIY punk is the challenging of the rock star mentality, which often perpetuates the objectification of our bodies. Rock star thinking sometimes supports the idea of playing music to “get some.” I explained my feelings and my conversation partner was very receptive and didn’t take what I said as a personal attack. It was an ideal exchange of thoughts.

On the way out the door, I heard a brutal homophobic slur slime out of someone’s loose jaw. Maybe my reaction wasn’t very effective as a tool to combat it. I ended up kissing the hand of the kid who said it and telling him to call me. I said that I was gay (not my identity, I am somewhere in between but at this time I figured I could maybe make him feel a little immediate connection to the cruelness of his words) and he shouldn’t say that (I think I did not say it like that. I think I called him a dick, which is a strange word to choose). I will give it a little more thought next time. The Dude would have been way more relaxed about this situation.

1/17/09 THE COLUMBUS ALIVE 5 bands to watch in 2009 @ Skully’s, Columbus OH.

The Crimson Armada
Couch Forts
Tin Armor (then I left)

I have been to Skully’s one other time in around five years of living in Columbus. The first time was to see Anti-Flag play unplugged in ’04. They were horrible. Underpracticed, timid, and suffering from the lack of cool lights and a loud PA to fire up 15 year olds over burning flags and bad mouthing Bush. But they were also very human and very real and raw. I enjoyed it and still respect that band for giving some funds to Pittsburgh radical projects (so I hear).

On this night I was VIP for Tin Armor (Monkee, my roomie is the drummer). I got a wristband for food and booze. I decided to go heavy on the food. I took a very selfish portion of onion rings and fried mushrooms. I hadn’t eaten dinner.

A trite metal core band played first. Boring. Their friends tried to tough guy dance and I hate that shit. Monkee was bouncing around with his hands clenching his crotch, traversing the meathead fest of swinging arms and karate kicks. I decided to cross the pit with my pants at my knees, bearing my testes and winter white ass to those trying to flex their muscles. It shut the “dancing” down.

Couch Forts excited the crowd with their unique blend of banjo, fiddle, electric guitar, and bass drum. Sometimes food stomping, sometimes strange jazz, and sometimes-mellow indie. Cool kids who are all genuinely nice. I like them.

Tin Armor made me proud. They were soaring over the crowd with their fuzzy indie-pop. They played with confidence. So catchy. A very drunk Jesse stole the almost life sized Tin Armor poster from the balcony. He then appeared behind the stage and was dancing with the poster. Then he was ripping it. Then he stage dove directly to the ground, no hands to catch him appeared. I left in a hurry after that with a good sized bottle of vinegar in my pocket for French fries. I owe it to Skully’s condiment surplus on the tables. I tore down posters in the bar that had a naked lady on them looking scared with a gun pointed at her. I ran home and hopped on a bike and pedaled like a mad man too make it to a dance party before midnight for Lindsey’s birthday! 21! We danced all night. Butt shakin’ Lauren Hill singing, Brian Deller in delicious Jazzercise 80’s looking tights. Magic.

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