Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dead City Flashback: Chemlab

Oh, my, this: 1990?, maybe '91: a cheap anniversary party at the (OLD) 9:30 Club, free admission, with a performance by this band. I knew them solely by reputation, and for some reason it was easy enough for me to swing by, grab a drink, hear the band, then split. Not a huge affair at all. I learned later that some local scenesters refused to take the band seriously: it was an inhouse band of sorts, funded heavily by the owners of Fifth Colvmn, better known for their famous "FUCK ART LET'S KILL" t-shirts than for having anything resembling musical talent. But everything seemed to align on that particular evening. It was at a time when I was taking Clubland (and my trips to its various regions) very seriously, and at this moment my adolescent, illformed apocalyptic aesthetic matched perfectly with the adolescent, illformed apocalyptic aesthetic of the band I was watching. Jared was visibly, completely smashed out of his mind, and he nailed every single second. People I would come to know later who saw it said it was nothing special. But to this day I number it among the five-or-so best shows I have ever seen.

I picked up 10 TON PRESSURE on cassette at Smash! in Georgetown (where else?) for maybe five dollars. I would often listen to it while driving. The tape deck in my Dad's Olds (my usual ride, when I was home) would play things a mite faster than it should have; it pitched everything a note too high, a beat too fast, and it would be noticeably off. True, perhaps, to the particular energy of the band that made it, 10 TON PRESSURE sounded FANTASTIC on this wayward sound system.

Why this ongoing nostalgia? The usual longing to escape a difficult present into an idealized past? Or trying to recapture an energy when I was younger and angrier, an energy I need now, in this chaotic moment, more than ever? to be continued.