11/1/17: Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD: Screaming Females, Street Eaters, Outer Spaces, Purrer, Composite
Woke up comfortably enveloped in my sleeping bag and a soft couch; in the distance I can hear Jarrett’s dad strumming on a guitar—just some easy going Fahey type strumming. It’s a beautiful way to wake up. Jarrett’s mom is making breakfast. Typically a morning wake up call is like this on tour: Marissa’s alarm goes off first, then Jarrett’s alarm goes off ten minutes later. In between those two alarms you are bound to hear two sounds: 1) the air being let out of multiple sleeping pads and B) King Mike letting out a morning fart. “Ahhhhh the rooster has crowed this morning!”
A little coffee and some vegan breakfast tacos, while we listen recordings of Jarrett’s high school marching band covering Styx. Everyone is amused and trading stories of high school bands and teenage embarrassments. At one point, the Doughertys bring out their respective guitar and accordion and perform an Irish traditional they’ve been working on, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” It’s very beautiful and touching. I get slightly (and silently) choked up watching this couple perform a song together for us. It’s just so tender and intimate and makes me think about family and allowing creativity to flourish within a family. Screamales are a family—they’ve been at this since they were teenagers, and they show no signs of stopping. Processing that on the day of the last show of this tour is a heavy thing, but one that is nothing but sweet and positive.
The drive to Baltimore is long but steady—I read an interview with Mike Watt in the car, and it’s very amusing. Lots of talk about language, and communication and family and punk. We jam Allman Brothers, Geraldine Fibbers, Blue Oyster Cult and Portishead to name a few. Somewhere in Virginia we drive past the largest Confederate Flag I’ve ever seen. I wonder if people are embarrassed beyond belief by that (probably not) and I wonder if anyone has tried to drive their car into said flagpole to take it down (again, probably not.) We hit a WaWa where I score a dank BLT hoagie and then we hit traffic that takes us down to a snails crawl. DC traffic, like most cities, is the worst. Maybe it’s the additional stress of oppression that is the Nation’s Capital that makes it feel worse than say getting into Brooklyn or LA. Regardless, we trod on and arrive at Metro Gallery with half an hour to spare before doors. We do a quick load in, set the merch up and it’s showtime. It’s a stacked bill tonight as Street Eaters friends Composite got added at the last minute and the show does have an 11pm curfew. We make do though. One surprise is that my friend Jasmine plays guitar for Composite. I didn’t know it was her band on the bill and she didn’t know I was out with Screaming Females. In the blur of loading in we had our backs turned to one another on the stage, and then we turned around and both gasped with surprise and happiness. I met Jasmine when she was in the hardcore band Neo Cons, and she’s a sweet and positive angel; plus she fucking shreds on guitar with such confidence. A lot of friends turn out to the show tonight so there’s a lot of hugs and chit chat and quick change overs, and “how many drink tickets are there???” and “where’s the van, we need more shirts!” Honestly, the whole night was a blur and it’s probably better that way. If I had a moment to really think for myself I probably woulda started crying.
I don’t know why it’s like that, maybe it’s the pisces in me. The first tour I did with them, we capped the last night off at a block party in Chicago. We thought it’d be funny to cover “Zero” so I did the lead vocal, and tried to go into the crowd but missed my step on the railing. It was very silly and goofy and then I teared up during Rose Mountain. Last year, the tour ended in Philly; Moor Mother opened and they performed an incredibly intense set, which they are wont to do. I’d seen so many sets by them but this one sent me over and I was weeping. I found Camae after the set, hugged them and we both started crying. Jarrett and some point was like “jeesus why’s everyone weeping?!”
It was far too busy a night for waterworks though, between seeing so many buds, and chatting away and flippin shirts for cash and moving gear I didn’t really come up for air until we were back in the van. Composite played a soulful set of raging hardcore. They’re a new group, but they’re all so solid and strong you’d think they were at least five or six years into this group. They all looked mad cool and tough too. Purrer came through with pummeling set of hard rock that sounded like Neil Young and Crazy Horse playing “Loveless” or some shit. Wild. Outer Spaces were all rhythm and groove—keys, drums and guitar giving out some hooky and funky pop songs not unlike Young Marble Giants or the slinkier Yo La Tengo songs. Street Eaters gave us one more blast of True Wave calling for a massive resistance to the 45 looming mere miles away. What a powerful band. So grateful I got to experience their sound for so many days. Screaming Females came out strong with a rousing rendition of “Empty Head” which slammed into “Real Mothers” and then “Sheep.” The jam on “Rose Mountain” didn’t elicit tears, but I did do a little soft shoe in the merch area with Bad Canoes drummer Dawn Riddle. At some point Mike’s bass died out and while he sorted out his issue, Marissa opened up the floor to jokes. Here’s a good one
“What do you call a belt made of watches?”
“A waist of time.”
The band bounced back with thee solid sender of “Glass House” and “Step Outside” before closing with “Hopless” and “Boss.” Before “Boss” kicked off, Marissa called me out again, this time though I wasn’t embarrassed. I screamed back “I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH” and she asked people to bring me shots of tequila or Bath Bombs from Lush. I received the former, and gave out some hugs and daps from nice fans.
We piled into the van and drove back to Philadelphia with Dawn Riddle in tow who filled our hour and half drive with hilarious stories from her adventures over the past six months. It’s a great way to end the night, a perfect period to 35 days of travel over this great land.