Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Stench of High Heaven

thanks to Shiloh for the photo

After finally emerging from the traffic-clogged rectum that is Los Angeles we made our way to the US border without incident. We met the tour bus in Calexico and offloaded the merchandise into a hotel room as we had no interest in paying massive tariffs or making sales in pesos. The border crossing itself was not a problem as we were guided in by the promoter, and we arrived plenty early to the venue in Mexicali. It was a small place not unlike the Jumping turtle in San Marcos, but it was also a well-appointed metal bar complete with a “Show No Mercy”-era Kerry King poster that we would have liked to steal. Speaking of stealing, Immolation were particularly vigilant regarding the trailer and gear as they had previous bad experiences with theft at Mexico shows. As people arrived and the show began it became apparent that we were at no worse risk than at any other show. Some kid managed to steal some Immolation shirts out of a merch bin in L.A., for instance. Fuck you, L.A., fuck you. The night became enjoyable early on when the manager of the adjacent taqueria came over and invited the bands to eat. The promoter footed the bill so all of us went over and feasted on homemade quesedillas and pork tacos. Afterwards the management invited us behind the grill to take photos that will be framed and put up on the wall. Add another notch towards our immortality.

The show itself turned out well; there was no opening band so it was the usual scenario where we had to take the stage and warm up the audience. It was sort of amusing because the start of the set looked more like a press conference with everyone standing there with cameras and video recorders as we played. Once we got to “The Nascent Ones” three songs in the audience moved from observation to participation and we finally got the room moving. “Battle's Clarion” caused the eruption we sought and since we had sailed through the set without intermission we unleashed “Plagabraha” for the first time on the tour. We hadn't played that in many months but we nailed it to the appreciation of the thrashing mavens up front.

Right as we stepped off the stage we took dozens of photos and signed many autographs so we felt plenty appreciated by the time we went to remove the paint. Belphegor was once again the band of the night and the bus was all but mobbed by fans after their set. Ras kept them waiting for quite a while. He operates on his own schedule and it would take a cattle prod to motivate him otherwise (though something tells me that the presence of a cattle prod would arouse him in some fashion).

This morning was rather unpleasant. We made it back through the border at 2am without any trouble and pulled over to sleep outside of Yuma. Once we resumed driving we came across a border patrol checkpoint and we were summarily pulled over. They did the full routine where we were made to get out and had to answer a bunch of leading and abrupt questions. The patrolmen were predictably accusatory and kept trying to get us to admit we were in possession of drugs. We of course were not and we simply answered their questions truthfully. The drug/wetback smelling dog found something in the van it did not like, so our bags were rummaged through and we sat in the stark Arizona sun for over half an hour while the van was all but rearranged. In the end the only thing they discovered was the grossness of three two-week old bananas that ended up trapped under the mattress we had in the back. I am guessing that this is what the dog found but it could have just been the odor of unwashed black metal personnel. We were free to go but it created a sullen atmosphere in the van until now. We are tired and the Flagstaff show does not feel very exciting at the moment, to say nothing of the fact that we are now very late to the show thanks to the delay and the loss of an hour in crossing over to mountain time. The Flagstaff venue has been moved and it is a Tuesday night so it seems like our only salvation is to presume the worst and hope for the best.