8/3/09 @ Charm City Art Space, Baltimore MD
Us & Us Only
Andrew Jackson Jihad
This show was the full realization that we were witnessing a phenomenon. It doesn’t matter where or if they’ve been there before. When Andrew Jackson Jihad plays, kids come out. Too many kids, especially for the Charm City Art Space. It was hot. A thick hot that you could feel on your skin like bike chain grease. It was crowded with a constant invasion of your personal space by multiple people’s entire body. Is it because of the jump from Plan-it-X to Asian Man Records? The Asian Man tour with The Queers? The Article in AP (Alternative Press)? Because they are easily found on the internet? They have a ridiculous and edgy band name? I think those are all factors.
But I would credit it mostly to the attractiveness of their dark humor immortalized in good song writing. Their self loathing and world loathing lyrics wrapped in poisoned hope, feel good rolling off the tongue. Its suburban kid’s pent up angst. It is a broken home anthem. Just liking them and knowing the songs feels like something. Something more than numbness from an overwhelming pop culture. It is a tangible purchasable rebellion. You can buy a shirt you may be asked about by your parents or have to turn inside out at school. So they do very well on merch. One has Michael Jackson in red pointing and looking possessed during a dance move. The shirt says, “Michael Jackson Jihad, See You in Hell.” Overpriced, yeah. A clever combo? Yes of course. Rebellion is mostly bought.
They have standards for what shows they will and won’t play, which I admire and which we also do. They want everyone who wants to see them to be able to see them comfortably. They also want to make money on tour. So it ends up that they like DIY spaces, but not cat filled (Sean’s deathly allergic) too small basements with shitty PA’s and weak donations, which is often the case. So they lean more toward a venue that is organized and well run. There is a paradox in the music of this band. They present a concern for humans and for the state of the world that matches up with a lot of the left and pseudo-radical culture. They look and fit the part. Then they are blasting that with sarcasm and an almost anti-political FTW mentality. It is a bipolar band. The ‘I care’ punx like them, the ‘I don’t give a fuck about anything’ punx like them, and the kids with a mild interest in anything below the carpet like them. I am bipolar about how I feel about them. But I tried to get in to watch them yet again and every time we hang out I think, these are genuinely good guys doing what they love. What else is there to immediately think about beyond that ? Nothing, immediatley.
The Delay set was a wet, heat throbbing blur.
Locals Beast Infection’s set was full of genius costumes like a WWF freak show. They played fun, inside joke filled, hardcore punk. Aside from technical difficulties, their set was a circus of good times. They had an exceptional mix video of strangers insulting Greg Mazer, one of their best friends.
After the show, we went out to Alex from Beast Infection’s parents house. We played capture the flag next to a corn field on hilly wet grass. It was the perfect summer night activity. Then we walked back and played a rough housing game called “Table Top.” There is a soft object in the center of the room; in this case, a sleeping mat on a standing up sleeping bag. The object is to NOT knock over the “table.” The object is to make others do so. It is a physically demanding game that should be played as close to gorging one’s self with snacks as possible. Bepstein (Max Levine Ensemble) made us all stay up all night. We had to live the night until the sun was up. We had a slumber party hangover the next two days.