By all testimonies, Friday night's show was both smashing and a success: The venue Asshole Castle was said to be teeming with bodies and good spirits, and boasted a bill of bands all in the varied genus of punk. Attendees on Saturday night walked past or hung around the broken lions on the Gravyard's porch and drank beer. The Gravyard (read: Grav-yard) is an excellent place for a punk show because it is covered in filth, named for drug paraphernalia, and features exactly one barely operable bathroom (the sort our mothers would never enter). It’s the sort of place that should have a dude named Punch who lives in a closet, and which does, actually.
Five bands played in the mortally disgusting basement. Well over a hundred punks, weirdos, waste-oids, hardcore kids, train-hoppers, jailbait honeys, and some normal-looking people slithered down the narrow staircase and pressed against each other, illuminated only by the flashes of cameras, cigarette lighters, and a single bulb of light behind the drum throne. People who couldn't fit down in the basement stayed outside or in the kitchen, where a cat and a cat-sized dog ran around shoes and shins, sniffing or licking fallen chunks of dumpster-donuts that some gracious person had delivered. Smoking was allowed everywhere, or maybe just not prohibited; the carpeted walls and ceiling of the basement seemed to be the inner lining of a tomb.
Texas Instruments started the bill with their loud and spirited set of scream-alongs. The microphone kept cutting out, but the singer's voice carried still, synchronized and in harmony with the voices of a dozen fist-pumpers in the crowd. A straightforward and aggressive, and yes, harsh set of hardcore songs from Harsh Reality took the crowd into an appropriately dark and pissed off place. A man larger and balder and older and more bad-ass than most everyone else thrashed on the dance floor like in a PCP rage. People fell down, people picked up other people. Some dude relieved himself in the corner of the basement and we made a mental note to later Google "hepatitis." Benoist Troost, after whom the street and the fest are named, was, it turns out, the city's first doctor.
Another band played what sounded from the porch to be loud and muffled hardcore. Somewhere upwind, an armpit smoked a cheap cigarette.
The night's final band, White Slave, ripped it all up, everything, ribbons. Their set of hardcore blasters and chuggers can best be described not with words but with air guitar and grunting. Their set varied enough and featured a drummer sharp and relentless enough that the crowd, now in their 4th hour of this mess, had no real choice but to pay attention and dance around. The singer screamed and paced and thrashed about; something probably caught fire somewhere on the planet.
Meat Mist then began their set of maximum sludge damage. The basement and the basement steps were less choked in the beginning; someone found a lamp to clip on a piece of wall, so attendees could actually see what was happening, where they were in physical space, and so they filled up the basement once again, more and more, and bounced to the agnostically out-of-tune brutalities of Meat Mist’s short and sweet set. Ah, to be young and dissonant: to be unaware of suffering, to be impervious to hangovers, sore knees, communicable diseases.
Friday, Dec. 16th at Asshole Castle
Grizzly J Berry
Satuday, Dec. 17th at the Gravyard
Regret, the Informer
Sunday, Dec. 18th at Manheimen