I had a lot to do at home before I made the trek to Vegas, so for now you’re spared of my tedious, irrelevant stories and unrelated photos of the desert. I was rushing to the gig thinking I’d be late, but it turned out everyone else was late, too.
Something I’ve noticed since I started hanging around Las Vegas is that everyone is so nice. I’m a little shy at first and typically keep to myself when I don’t know anyone, but every show I’ve gone to so far, I’ve immediately met at least 3 new people upon walking in. This time, I made some new friends outside who were knowledgeable of all vegan options available within a 2-mile radius. I was famished and landed on Tacotarian in downtown.
While I was there, I saw a Deadguy shirt and another shirt with some type of exclamation about straight edge. I got the al pastor torta. I get back to the venue right on time. Local celeb and my longest Vegas friend, Albert, was behind the merch table for No Warning with some wild fur coat adorning window shoppers.
Scowl were up first with a flower laden mic stand. They started the set with their prettiest song, "Seeds to Sow," which in my mind has a punk Ronettes vibe on the record and shines through live. The song came to an abrupt end with Malachi storming to the front of the stage and demanding violence. The room erupted. Stagedives aplenty regardless of physical size.
I’m usually pretty good at anticipating mosh around me while taking a photo or even just standing enjoying the band, but someone caught me off guard pretty quick and I caught a full fist straight to the cheek. I’m certain I felt my brain shake. I don’t think I’ve been punched in the face since high school. I floated my way to the side of the stage and took a few moments to get myself back together. It was awesome.
Up next were style kings No Warning. More violence ensued. But, like, wholesome violence. It was cute. Smiles abound as bodies collided. Except one time I saw someone actually mad and it began to escalate. I watched from afar as Albert swooped in as a purveyor of peace on the altercation. As things were settling down on there, another person was being dragged out from the other side of the room.
I learned later on he had broken his femur while moshing? I was hyperaware of my surroundings at this point. I was no longer interested in getting punched and mostly avoiding the larger kid stagediving in a solid pair of Carhartt overalls.
I have met my quota of pain for the decade. Later on, I heard about more fights in the parking lot and just general havoc. I’m not typically a fan of people getting badly hurt, but I love the air of feeling unsafe and danger afoot around hardcore shows. It’s fun to do bad things.
After their set I rallied the fellas around and got my usual portrait. Ben told me about his other musical project Young Guv. I checked it out later on my drive home, and now I know for sure I don’t have any friends because nobody showed me his music. It’s so sick.
Zulu finally got to the venue a little after No Warning’s set and immediately jumped on stage. Their set was short, sweet and to the point. Maybe less than 10 minutes. No-bullshit power violence. I only got a few photos, I didn’t really care to pick up my camera.
Their set was raging. Their mosh call out during the song "Do Tha Right Thing (And Stop Frontin’)" is one of my favorites with newer bands.
“It’s up to you, and you alone. Make the change. Do it!” I hadn’t seen Dez in many years, but I’ve always admired his dedication to community within music. From hosting consistent shows in his living room at The Cabin in Garden Grove to Crimewave 5150, he works hard keeping the spirit of independent music thriving. He told me about his latest endeavor of buying Gilmore Music store in Long Beach just as they were closing down for good.
After the gig we headed over to Berlin Bar for some late-night food. I was still full from that torta earlier, but they’ve got a vegan corn dog I’ve got my sights set on next time I go.
Side note: I’m usually a whiskey guy, but recently I was reading about Gorilla Biscuits and found out there’s a recording of Walter singing all the songs and I never knew he actually wrote everything. This lead me down a Google rabbit hole where I found this blog post Javier Van Huss wrote in 2009 describing drinking a Tom Collins while watching Walter do an acoustic set after a GB show in San Diego.
I tried that and god damn was it satisfying. The Rapidshare link is unsurprisingly unavailable now, 12 years later. If you’re reading this and have the recording, please send it to me at [email protected].
I got Zulu and Scowl set up with my comp’d room at the Rio for the night. I quit gambling last month and got a real job. Gambling problems are no joke and now that I’m out of it, I recognize how bad I had gotten and feel like I got my head right again. But if anything good came out of it, I hit the highest level of Caesars Rewards and will be abusing comp’d hotel room deal as long as I can.
I met up with them the following morning and for the first time in this long running portrait project, I got a two-band photo. I set them all up in the giant jacuzzi bath tub and then they were off to Phoenix for their next show of the tour.
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