Today, I learned about “feather footing.” Y’see, I’ve never driven a 15-passenger van before, let alone one with a trailer the size of my dining room towed behind it. During my quick tutorial, I learned that in order to prevent the engine from overheating, you’re supposed to not depress too hard on the gas and ease up with you hear the engine straining in any way at all. Also, keep it under 70mph and turn the A/C off when going up a hill. I don’t think I’ve ever concentrated so much while driving since my driving exam. Did I mention Club Cephalic has A/C?! As the band’s new guitarist, Brian said, “We wouldn’t be doing this tour without A/C.” Good thing to hear as it was already 111-degrees at 8am.
After setting up at the venue, the Marquee, the question I posed to every local, especially those decked out in the unofficial Summer Slaughter uniform consisting mostly of black material: how the fuck do you people live in this heat? One of the best responses came from a woman who claimed that the bowels of Hell opened up and Phoenix is what’s causing Hell’s constipated blockage. Of course, she’s complaining about the heat while wearing super-tight jeans, a denim top and sky-high heels. “Yeah, I’m fucking roasting,” she exclaimed. “But hell makes you do dumb things.”
The show in Phoenix was originally supposed to be an off-day and got booked in at the last minute, which probably accounted for the lower numbers in terms of turnout. Still, I was looking to get our asses near the merch sales average of the tour, despite the lack of traffic and those popular glass pipes that disappeared on the first night of the tour. I figured pushing the custom-made Cephalic Carnage thongs to the local talent with the spiel that the less clothing in this unbearable heat, the better. That one didn’t go over as well as I thought. However, I still don’t know how the fuck I pulled it off, but I managed to unload the one-of-a-kind extra-large weed grinder and a vaporizer to a couple of Cephalic’s legion of Arizona potheads. This is made even more ironically funny when you consider that marijuana possession in this state is still considered a felony. Or so I was told. However – and this is pretty indicative of the mental lapses I’ve witnessed from my sober perch on this tour so far – the dudes in the band gathered ‘round the purchaser to sign the grinder and take photos. As it turns out, all the photos that were supposed to go…
Once again, the position of the merch area meant that I didn’t get an opportunity to see any bands play. But because of the lower number of people hanging around, I did get a chance to catch 30 to 60 second snippets of Animals as Leaders, Cephalic Carnage, The Faceless and Decapitated. The stats department is doing some hometown scoring and are going to count that as one. Thus far, one set witnessed out of 31 (there was a local opener last night called Darkened Skies) sets played which translates to a Baltimore Orioles team-leading average of .032.
DAY 4 – LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO
It’s still hot as fuck, but not as bad as Phoenix which was hot as fucking fuck. The show in Las Cruces was originally supposed to be a driving day and was held in a weird venue that’s kinda in the middle of nowhere and a cross between a high school gym, a VFW hall and the sort of place they rent out for Mexican weddings. Later this week after Summer’s Laughter leaves town, they’ll have a boxing card followed by a Mariachi concert.
The story goes like this: the original show was supposed to be at a venue right across the state line in El Paso, TX. But, the promoter there got a better offer. That better offer involved him taking a Buckcherry show because he figured he’d sell more beer with that show instead of a 10-band metal fest. So, he outright cancelled the show in El Paso and it ended up getting moved to Las Cruces. The kicker is that said promoter didn’t really bother to promoting that change, something I found out in talking to a dude who bought a ticket for El Paso and literally found out that day about the move. No worries. Despite the venue being half-empty, the kids and not-so-kids – the Las Cruces crowd consisted of a surprising number of fellas in their 40s and 50s – were enthusiastic. Merch is in the same room as the show (with local openers who played a two song set) so I finally got the opportunity to witness all of Summer Slaughter in all its rage-hitting-the-stage glory, so my show-watching average gets juiced to seeing 11 bands out of 42 sets equaling a very respectable .262 which would probably put me in the clean-up spot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Next up: a report of Cephalic Carnage’s four days in Texas.