On the Road — Twice in One Weekend

Please, have a gander at where I went last night:

Skinny Puppy ticket
…and it was so nice…

If not for my friend Ernie alerting me, I wouldn’t have known about the show. Hell, I really didn’t know Skinny Puppy was still around. I had thought that the band dissolved after the release of 1996’s “The Process” (one of their best albums to date, imho). But, as I learned, Ogre left following a label struggle, and did his own solo and collaborative work with other bands. He and keyboardist cEvin Key later made amends and revived the dead Puppy. And you-know-who got to see them. Heh.

Suckers.

Needless to say, it was the loudest show I’ve ever been to. Some of the set was an exercise in ear-splitting white noise. An aural and visual treat. Ogre is a crazy maniac on stage, dancing, jumping, twisting and contorting in a way that would make Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland look tame. He had various props and things to keep himself occupied – one of them being a gas mask filled with a clear, viscous goop that he’d slurp and spit out at the throngs at the front of the stage. Also in his arsenal, being the man-with-a-message that he is, was a bucket of stage blood that he grabbed by the fistful. He’d hold out his arms in a cross-like stance and let the blood drip down his arms before he slung the blood from his hands. Totally tripped out.

I don’t know every song they played, but I do know that they played: “God’s Gift (maggots)”, “Worlock”, and “Sleeping Beast”. After their hour and a half audiovisual sledgehammer, they came out for a double encore and did two songs, including “Smothered Hope” for the second encore. I say “audiovisual” because of the video screen behind Ogre which played a ton of eyecandy, flashes of religious symbols, shots of mutilation, graphics of things obscene, computer images, footage of war, politics, Bush, Iraq, and so on. Seriously thought-provoking stuff. The screen polished off the show.

The first band was Tweaker. They are a good band, in their own right, but they’re not for “tweakers”; they’re obviously named after something like “knob tweaker”. The guitarist also played keyboards and lap steel, lending to a brooding, moody sound. The lead singer was good, but reeked too much of Clay Aiken in vocal style, singing stance, and clothing. The bassist was strong and used effects in a well-fattening way, and the drummer was a badass. Interesting stuff.

Ernie and I left Austin around 4pm and made it to Houston in decent time. Luckily the maps that I had drawn from Yahoo maps were accurate and clear; we made the right exits and found the right spots. The entire “Theater District” of downtown Houston has a two-level parking garage underneath; we drove around looking for the venue, couldn’t pinpoint it, so we ducked into a nearby garage entrance to park and walk around. After paying our $5, we walked up the nearest stairwell to the topside above ground and voila we were right at the venue steps. We basically parked underneath the front door.

We walked around in search of dinner before the 9pm show, and settled on the nearby Hard Rock Cafe for lack of anything else (that was my first time to eat at HRC, and I have to confess something: no club sandwich is worth $10. That is all). When dinner was done, we walked straight over to the show, stood in a very short and moving line, got searched, handed over our $35 ticket, and made our way inside to enjoy the show. We left the venue hot, sweaty, and tired, at 11:45, lazilly made our way for the car, and headed out for home.

So, outside of the brief slow-the-hell-down downpour we got halfway to Houston, the whole trip, every bit of it, went without a hitch. It was kinda nice to be walking around a new city, just looking at everything with new eyes and getting caught in the buzz of a set of good bands. The energy there in that show was something else, and we were there. The drive back was smooth and easy, and he dropped me and my tired ass off at my apartment at 3am where I went to bed a mere 30 minutes later.

Ernie stated as much, and I agree with him: we need to travel to more cities and do things. Random things. Things we’ve wanted to do for a while. Hell, get a group and rent a hotel suite or something. I dunno. Got to make life interesting, and this weekend, with the two trips to two different cities to see two different shows with two different people is the injection of life I really like.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?