HT ENTRY 3
Apologies for my late reply, but I have lost track of the days. Has the tour just started, or is it nearly ending? Time on the road seems to bleed into each other. It’s one giant amalgamation of color, screeching, and endless driving. It’s been said that time flies when you’re having fun, so if I am being the least bit honest with myself, I am having one of the best times of my life, and time is irrelevant at this point.
The show at the Knockout in San Francisco was amazing, but I knew that the moment the first band took the stage. The forever leather-clad members of Mommy Mommy reminded me why I love music, and the drummer, Chard, even allowed me to use his drum kit after he had blessed with an epic performance. It’s moments like these that are hard to come by in Los Angeles. Here in San Francisco, I can sense a strong respect for the craftsmanship of music, and all the bands that played the show exemplified that wholeheartedly.
This was also the first time I saw the giant American perform. It was evident from the start that he was traveling on tour with us, but how? And at what capacity? As the large American took the stage, I waited anxiously. But when the backing track started and Hurt Hawks (as he goes by onstage) took the mic and lifted it to his gray beard, I knew any prior reservations were about to be dashed. The giant stalked the bar, howling into the mic with a mix of guttural yells and high-pitched screams. The reverberations of his melodies shook me to my core, and I was quite literally frozen in place. At one point he even stepped directly to me, hooking and jiving, singing and screaming. Hurt Hawks was playing for the room, of course, but in that moment he was playing to me. There’s something to be said for moments like this. What it is exactly, I don’t know…but if I have to spend the rest my life trying to find out, I will.
By the time I took the stage, liquored up to reflect my high tolerance (as instructed by the group), I was in a trance state. Every motion thereafter was controlled by a higher power. I was only a vessel sitting on a drum throne, waiting to be vaulted into the soundscape that is French mouth. With the introductory track finished, the moment to engage had arrived, and I knew in my heart that there was no other place I’d rather be.
I understand that all of this may sound strange to you, mother. Maybe even psychotic. I can’t blame you, because even I’ve considered that lunacy of my decision making along the way to Portland, Oregon. I must’ve done something well last show, because I was elected to drive with Mr. James Parras, lead guitarist, riding shotgun. They gave me the keys and an open road…and while this would have been the perfect chance to high tail it home, I refused to do so.
The rest of the group was stuffed into the back of the van for the long drive. Eleven hours of driving is a hell of a time, and after a while the mind caves in on itself. Between scanning the road for black ice, and thinking about all my obligations back home, it was clear the more important thought - especially while driving through Grant’s Pass in Oregon – was the black ice. The obligations at home, they’ll be waiting for me when I return. The moment - the here and now - is always the most important thing.
James was kind enough to swap driving roles every few hours, and between the two of us we made it to downtown Portland safe and sound. They say Portland is strange, and the show we played at Casa Weon the next night personified that very strangeness. Casa Weon is traditionally known as an art space, but as quickly (de)evolved into a haven for misfits, goons, and all the unwanted children that the city spits out. Located on the third floor of an industrial building, walls covered with graffiti and dirty jokes, I was taken aback. For the first time since the original abduction only a few days ago, I thought to myself, “ Where the hell am I, and what the hell did I get myself into…”
The first three groups were all local PDX hardcore/trash bands with a solid following. These groups were the cornerstone of the evening, no lie, bringing along their fans, and all the unbridled energy that comes along with it. It should be noted that none of the first three bands had a bass player, but none of that seemed to matter. Within the confines of Casa Weon there was an unseen force that connectred the audience with whoever was onstage. It was a synergy that I hadn’t felt at the Knockout. Dare I say some type of magic…
The singer of one group would scream, and the crowd would scream, right back. A guitar would chug into a breakdown, and the audience would slam dance accordingly. It was amazing energy the continued into Hurt Hawks set.
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was a different audience then the night before. They were far younger, and judging by the response to the hardcore/thrash bands, they had clearly come to see heavy music. However, all was made well as soon as the opening Hurt Hawk’s opening track ended, and he bashed two beers together over his head in an effort to make his intentions known. This set the tone for the rest of the evening. What followed was a ritualistic experience that saw Hurt Hawks as the ordained minister for said ceremony. In pagan fashion, complete with painted faces and gyrating limbs, the audience swarmed the giant that is Hurt Hawks, and for the first time this tour I feared for his safety. The young crowd was ravenous for what the Hawk emitting. The pawed at him with open hands, and dance alongside him, and all around him. The performance was so intense, even I was drawn into the frenzy. I screamed, danced, and finally joined the mandatory conga line that formed during Hurt Hawks epic rendition of Margaritaville.
I was having so much fun I nearly forgot I was about to play myself. French mouth was up next, and the audience was prepped for a final searing. This is no doubt heavier show, so, Dee, the lead singer, prepped an extra saucy set that would placate the crowd’s hunger for angst. Mother, I’ll tell you without an ounce of dishonesty in my body: I forgot who I was and what I was doing that night. Again, the spirit of music took over, and my body acted on its own. The crowd erupted as soon as we started playing. The DIY spot was truly a nesting place for French mouth. The band’s attitude is all about taking care of each other, and creating art no matter the cost (hence my kidnapping, I suppose). Between the fast-paced leads, pumping bass and drums, and Dee’s finely tuned choruses, we had the audience by the balls. When it was all over, and the beer-stained floor had been wiped clean, I was sad that I had to go. Casa Weon, though strange by nature, is a haven for the young folk here. I’m blessed to have been a part of it, even for just a little while.
Tomorrow, we head south to Eugene, Oregon for another show that promises to be even heavier than the last one… I don’t think I’ll be coming home until this is over.