Punk Shows Happen In Churches

It’s Monday, May 3rd. Yesterday I turned 33. On my last day of being 32, Saturday, May 1st, International Workers Rights Day incidentally, I went to a punk rock show. I did this after working on my house, a domicile I own in preparation to relinquish it to someone else who might want to live here.

Today I went to work, and what I really wanted to do was write this piece about the awesome bands I saw on International Workers Rights Day. But I can’t concentrate, and I fear and fret for another post that lacks the quality and insight that I might otherwise release upon you, my loving, adoring public. I may have a lost a lot between the hours when I was 32 and my first days of being 33. This is not really how I wanted to start 33 as I have a good feeling about 33. But this is usually how things go these days. Without further ramblings, lets just get into it.

St Stephens church has been holding punk rock shows for quite some time. I may or may not have seen Fugazi here once. I can’t remember if it was this church or the other church on 16th in that neighborhood. I don’t know, the decongestant I took is kicking in. I am slow moving on the keys and I am thinking about that Fugazi show. Amanda MacKaye went tribal in the middle of the floor while Fugazi played. It was a little unsettling. A week later I ran into Joe Lally, while I was drunk, and told him I thought the show was awesome and that the new songs reminded me of arena rock. He looked a little scared and I don’t blame him. I also saw the Dismemberment Plan at the Wilson Center that night I ran into Mr. Lally. I’ve lived a strange life, mapped out mostly by the shows I have seen. I wish I could remember them all. But I can’t. Which is why I am writing about a show, that actually, so far I haven’t revealed one detail about. Lets get into this. Again.

The Fordists are, like all the band that played this night, a local group. As I watched them, I could not help but think of another band that sounds like Fordists, also had three people in it, and were from the suburbs of DC. Yes, Frodus would be who I am talking about. It’s not like The Fordists played manic, screaming, screeching hardcore inspired, “post-punk”. They did have a tight locked rhythm section that more and more reminded me of the lock step that FCI had especially during the Cinca/Burke/Hammacher days. The singer of The Fordists even sang where the top part of his head moved instead of his jaw. It was a bit of a time warp moment where the present mirrored the past, allowing nostalgia to seep in. I’m not sure how I feel about that, waxing on the past while some band rallies on in front of you. But I did appreciate the memories that came rushing at me. The Fordists have something going for them. I hope they stick around long enough to rock the kids.

Hugh McElroy is at it again. I’ve seen a lot of the bands he’s been in over the last ten or so years and I probably haven’t seen half of them. For my money, I still wish The No-Gos had stuck it out longer before morphing into Black Eyes. Also, I can’t remember if Hugh was in Trooper or not, but that pre-Black Eyes band was fucking awesome too. The thing about Black Eyes that I really liked was that it was five people working against each other trying to make music and it turned out brilliantly. The thing I hated about it was it was uncontainable, had no common ground, and was too loud in a way that was difficult to put together while the five guys smashed about together. Cephalopods is Hugh’s new band, and it fucking rules. I think this was like their third show but at the time they were playing I couldn’t tell. Hugh delivers his vocals so clearly and with such a fantastic enunciation, it’s its own quasi-rhythmic instrument. The interesting thing is that it’s classic Hugh delivery on the bass and vocals but their drummer is fucking BOMBASTIC with crazy facial expressions and flailing arm movements. Then their guitarist, a subtle, non imposing young lady, plays this very intricate, weirdo guitar part. I don’t mean to get all gender specific, but it’s a style I’ve noticed over the years that other women have employed in bands whose names I can’t remember at the moment. The notes were precise, the chords held with determination and it set it’s own tone. On paper, this band would not seem like it would work out, but somehow, they did. Either way Cephalopods were impressive as fuck and I wish they had a record out already and hope one is coming soon. Also, as I was writing and thinking about bands made of ladies from DC I was reminded of the Stigmatics who only put out one 7″ before they faded into obscurity, but I saw them a bunch of times and they were awesome.

BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP BODY COP

Body Cop are fucking INTENSE. They formed specifically to sound like Swans and well they sounds like getting punched in the face, having your eyes pushed in, someone pulling out your teeth with pliers, having your fingers busted in a car door, drinking battery acid and then having to go to work for some middle aged prick who doesn’t respect you, listen to you or consider you as a person. Turboslut was something unseen before in DC, making music that this town is not known for and Body Cop is the direct successor of the musical ideas and aesthetic set forth by that coven. I can not get the images of this band out of my head, I can’t get the sounds out of my ears, I can’t get the rumbling out of my heart, I can’t escape the images of them dancing frantically in my eyes. As great as all the bands were this night, Body Cop stepped it up a notch, and that is what good bands do, continue to take the given and make something so unexpected that it pulverizes your senses and makes everything destroyed in it’s path look pedestrian.

Have I not told you already about Birds and Wires? I believe I have just a few moths ago. Are you fucking sleeping? Where the hell are you? Seriously, you weren’t at the show and that’s total bullshit. You are a failure, your life is a failure, your kids, your job, your prior commitments, your dance parties and drinking at stupid clubs or watching bullshit sporting events, it means nothing. What the fuck have you done with your life? Apparently, nothing. Just thinking about that miserable existence makes me sick to my stomach. Here’s the deal. I’m not even gonna talk about Birds and Wires like you would understand it. I’m not going to say that they are a melodic explosion of shimmering vibrations that rock your cerebral cortex, vibrate yr lifeless heart, tickle your feet and then slam your face in with a rock. Basically, they played seven songs with mighty ferocity, streamlined precision, and gunning brilliance. John Seager, drummer extraordinaire slammed down his stick to the floor after the last drum hit with such a satisfaction that the ending seemed almost unexpected. It was like being awoken from a dream. I will bitch and moan about the fact that this band does not get to play enough, does not release new music fast enough and aren’t bridging the gap the way Dead City so desperately needs.

I’m older now then when I started writing this. My memories of a show, a day I am trying so desperately trying to hold on to in the wake of under appreciated office work, long dreadful hours where I don’t care about what I do. This bookend reminder of why life is worth living, these moments so few and far between. Everyday of all our lives should be like the moments that move us. Maybe one day I will find the focus, get all my shit together and wax long and poetically about these experiences. Maybe I won’t feel like a fool and actually add something to the discussion instead of recounting my visceral responses in repetitive language. I’m currently dreading going in to work tomorrow, wishing for a massive stock market crash or the hostile take over that never seems to happen. I’ll settle for my boss calling in sick or generally just leaving me to my work without interruption. I’m looking for the next show, the next experience, the next wonderful surprises, reverberating with electricity through a bare church hall.

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