Well dummy, when you have a 9 am wake up call, and you lay your body down at 6am, what the fuck do you expect? I spent most of the day sluggish, groggy, and irritable. I’m not really showing it, save for the two hours that I drooled into a pillow. The drive to Atlanta was completely unremarkable save for a stop off for gas in which we encountered some fellow travelers returning from a festival called Hulaween, a festival also in Florida, but with a more jam band element to it. One of the fellow road dogs was in a Winnie The Poo onesie and a knock off Grateful Dead drug rug featuring the dancing bear. This immediately makes me think of our friend Grace Ambrose and how much we all miss her.
When we woke up in the morning, Jarrett excitedly informed us all that Paul Manafort and Rick Grimes had been indicted and that was the main topic of the ride. Much speculation as to what happens next, or what we think would happen goes around the car, along with what we’d spend if we had 18 million dollars. Of the four of us, Jarrett seems like the most excited that this is all happening. He almost looked like a child on christmas day when he told us. It’s a good look.
The Masquerade is a giant mall like venue that has three or four different live spaces, so it’s not unlike the White Oak Music Hall in Houston; here though it’s more like a performance compound than the White Oak’s giant Box of a space. When we arrive, four or five men immediately haul out all of our gear, and run it down a seemingly long hallway to the live room, the aptly named “Purgatory.” There’s a bit of nervous energy, some slight tension, moving through the room as we have been informed that a band is playing across the courtyard (in “Heaven”) who’ve recently come under fire for being associated with The Proud Boys (the band was quick to deny any such association.) We as a unit are vehemently anti-fascist (big friggin shock) and while I don’t expect much action, there’s definitely some nervous tics moving through our crew. Us and Street Eaters vow to stay close though and we do. After load in and soundcheck, Marissa and I take a walk around the nearby park, the aptly named Hurt Park, and talk about our feelings on relationships and dating and love and distance and all the frustrating tangled wires around our hearts.
After a hearty meal, we adjourn back to Purgatory where long time friends of Screaming Females, The Rememberables kicked the night off. Their set was a booming display of solid mid tempo rock numbers with lots of flashy guitar work. Made me think of Soul Asylum or Screaming Trees. Plus they’re all total sweethearts. With that nervous energy from the aforementioned Proud Boys business, Street Eaters came out loud, strong and vicious. John gave a speech about the resistance of psychic death brought on by the impending presence of fascism that really got everyone going. It made them play harder, one of the harder sets I’ve seen them pull off.
Screaming Females did their thing, and it’s like, yeah there are four shows left, and they’re obviously tour tight. I haven’t heard any of them say anything critical of their own work for a minute now. That’s good because each night has been incredibly powerful and it resonates with the crowd. There was some solid dancing going on…two cool ladies stage left that definitely won in the best dressed and best footwork categories. The center was a mess of pogo’ing, pushing, and light moshing. I call this a “push pit” which could be comparable to the crowd shots in the Sonic Youth video “Dirty Boots.” My merch table is stationed to the back so I can only see so much, which is why I was surprised to see Marissa’s hand go flying into a crowd and a hat fly in the opposite direction. Without context the thought process is “Oh, crowd’s wild and Marissa is pulling a goof move by throwing a dudes hat.” However the reality was “Oh this guy in the front just ran his hands up Marissa’s legs while she was on the edge of the stage, and he’s about to get duffed.” Guys at shows, at any show, not just Screaming Females shows: please stop doing this. Please stop inserting your crummy behavior into a performance, especially if the performer you’re watching identifies as a woman. It’s a real shitty look, and it can ruin the night for some, if not all. Toxic masculine bullshit behavior is never a thing anyone wants. End of the night, Marissa didn’t seem shook, thankfully. We joke about “I wish a motherfucker would” and tonight a motherfucker did, and I was too far away to clap hands on this dude, but whatever…tense night.
An old friend of the band, Nick, who’s tall and lanky and attractive and an exceptionally smart professor brought us back to his house in Decatur where we posted up for the night on beds, floors and cots. Jarrett, Nick and I stayed up and talked about movies for a bit before the two of them went off to sleep and I took a shower and did my weekly hair treatment. I also have one of the best sleeps of the whole tour on tight and sturdy cot.