I found out about this show only 2 days before it was to happen. Luckily Vince had room in his car so Vanessa and I joined him and Justin at 2pm on a Thursday for the trip over (I told work I had a Doctor's appointment).
I-70E is just about home for me. I have seen that stretch of highway between Kansas City and St. Louis so many times when going to shows there, Chicago, Lousiville or driving back "home" to Indianapolis. Justin however hadn't been out that way or actually any further east than Memphis he revealed, shocking. But he is from Oklahoma.
About 45 miles outside of St. Louis we called Vince's friend Beth from a payphone. She gave us rough directions to her house in St. Charles (a white western suburb) where we called again from a gas station. She pulled up a few minutes later and we abandoned Vince's Civic for her car and headed into the city.
It was about 7:15 when we arrived in a somewhat deserted (but on the rise) section of St. Louis and took our place in line in front of the club. I immediately started counting the number of bondage pants I would see that night but suprisingly, the count didn't go that high. The doors didn't open for another 1:15 so after checking to make sure the show wasn't going to sell out we headed out to find some food.
Since that area of the city had no handy diner we headed off in the car towards St. Louis University thinking we'd find something friendly there near campus. Well we didn't, but we found a Del Taco which was round and that made all parties involved very happy. I didn't think it was that good but Nessa simply raved. I think it may have just been the roundness. I have never liked crinkle cut fries with my burritos.
A quick scarf and we headed back to the show to back into line. Oddly enough, we didn't lose more than 10 or so spots in line. I thought this show would be huge, however I'd guess under 300 people showed up. I know it would have been bigger in Indy.
Beth must have connections because as soon as the door man saw her, he stopped letting people in and called her (and all of us) up, checked our IDs (under 21 had a $2 surcharge making it a $10 ticket for the kids), took our money and lets us in. It was actually kinda embarrassing. I felt like "Hello there egalitarian punks, stay out of my way as the rich white indie rocker enters." Oh well I got over it.
The Galaxy is a nice little club. Long and narrow wedged between other old office buildings and warehouses on Washington St in downtown St. Louis. There was a bar, a few video games and pool tables, a good sized stage and some backstage area I didn't visit.
Right at 8:30 the first band started. They area a three-peice, three-chord punk rock band called the Grumpies from Mississippi. They have a 7" out on Shredder and a split 7" with F.Y.P. on Recess. The band has a a duel vocal thing going with Amy on bass and Jayson on guitar. They drums were very simple and pretty uninteresting actually. What was interesting however is Jayson looks just like Greg Brady. He had a high pitched whiney voice and reminded me of Johnny Puke from Cleetus actually. The sound was really bad in the pit but I hear from in back they sounded pretty good despite all the songs sounding the same. They played a short set and although the crowd didn't dance around much, every seemed to like them and the band seemed to have a really good time. I understand they got added to the bill late and just picked up this show on their way back from a tour of Canada. Can you imagine just picking up a date opening for the Subhumans? Bizarro.
Local band El Gordo's Revenge [translation: El Gordo = The Fan Man] played next. They were a four piece punk rock outfit that mixes in 60s garage and 80s metal. I thought they sounded a little like the Zero Boys but not nearly that catchy. Unfortunately they played a long, disaster ridden set. Vince and Justin seemed to actually despise the band, I didn't go that far - they just weren't my thing. The highlight of the show was the final song when they brought up a friend to sing, the normal singer (Kevin) went to 2nd guitar, and the did band did Grim Reaper's 1984 hit, "See You in Hell". Kevin was doing some pimp finger taps during the solo and Trashdog (normal guitar) was a hell of a guitar player wasting his time with silly punk rock as well. Vince agreed they should have just been a metal band but later I realized that wouldn't work - they were all too cute and all wore low-top Converse allstars. I don't think you can do that if you're metal. They have a 10" out on Normal Records.
At 10pm The Subhumans took the stage. I hadn't seen them in the club but Vanessa assured me they had been walking around. Dick started out by telling the audience about a bag that was stolen from the club earlier in the evening and tried to shame the thief into tossing at least the ids back up on stage. If a bunch of peace punks and anarchists can't even get along that doesn't say much for our struggle towards autonomy I'm afraid.
I suppose my reviews are never reviews but simply journal entries so this wont be any different. The band was great. Dick put out more energy than I have seen any performer do in the last 7 or 8 years. He ran around, jumped, DANCED and screamed his head off for over an hour. His cut up shirt (arm and neck holes widened) was covered in sweat. I wonder who is skinnier and older, Dick or Rev Norb? Anyway, the band was very tight and actually they played faster then they used to. I stood in back and the mix sounded great. I never realized how much the bass really controlled things in their songs and everything was right on.
They played a smattering of songs from all the albums but focused on Time Flies and Rats it seems. Highlights were "Rats", "Labels", "Peroxide", and the closer "Religious Wars". Although they played about 6 songs from the EPs they did skip "Evolution" and "Cancer" which I would have loved to hear. I certainly didn't feel cheated though.
I was however bothered by the encore. I think it is great if a band pulls down their equipment and the sound man shuts stuff down and the crowd claps and hoots until a band returns and plays some more. That is spontaneous and shows a real appreciation for their fans. However when a band says "Thank you Goodnight" and walks off the stage, lets the audience clap for 4 minutes and then returns to play more songs that are on a set list it pisses me off. To me that says "stroke my ego for 5 minutes and hurt your hands please." So Dick, and I know your reading, next time just say "Hey let me relax for a second, get a drink of water and we'll be back in 5 minutes to play another 7 songs." Okay?
After the encore the crowed cleared out fairly quickly. I guess if you were 17+ you could have stayed and danced to a live DJ but obviously we all needed to get back to Kansas City. Smelly, we all hoped back in Beth's car and headed out to the 'burbs. She dropped us off at the gas station where Vince's car was (luckily) still there. After numerous bathroom breaks and beverage breaks we headed back to KC with Vanessa at the wheel.
The ride home was okay. We discussed politics and societies at 85mph in the 2am fog between Columbia MO and KC, MO while Avail's "Dixie" played on the low-fi tape deck. I met a new kid, and I got to see the Subhumans and I could still catch 4 hours of sleep before work the next morning. It's hard to beat that.
Vince has video of the show, if you'd like a copy e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.