During Bowie’s White Duke era, they say his diet consisted of only cocaine, red bell peppers, and milk. Frank Zappa was rumored to consume just salami, coffee, and beer. As I scanned the snack foods at our convenience store pit stop on our way to Charlotte, I made my choice. I’ll be the eccentric enigma that only ingests beef jerky and V8. Truth be told, this doesn’t sound that bad to me.
As our truck rolled over the border to North Carolina, Junior Astronomers bound, I could actually taste my breath, and realized I had made a terrible mistake. Luckily, my friend Daniel had a mint toothpick I could chew on, even without a jean jacket.
We walked up to the venue, Milestone, and I trudged through a mud parking lot swamp to get in, impressed by the sheer volume of stickers on every surface I could see. I ran into Terrence Richard of Junior Astronomers, and we had some dialogue resulting in a SceneSC exclusive- if Terrence were a 90’s cartoon character, he’d definitely be Skeeter from Doug.
While the first band set up, I meandered towards the bar, where I was side-swiped by the glow of a big screen TV.
That’s right, there was a N64 set up with pretty much every game you need- you got your Golden Eye, The Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, (which I played for an unnecessary amount of time.) After some rainbow road, I was ready to delve into the first band- Serfs. They were a bass-driven groove with reverb-laden vocals drifting over rising and falling power chord shreds, and the rhythm section was locked down tight. To give you a better picture of them, I went ahead and asked them for their spirit animals. I was able to ask the singer, Phillip, who was a chipmunk, frenetic and energized, while the bassist Patrick was a tortoise, steadfast and focused, and the drummer, Nicholas, was a sloth. Didn’t really get that last one. Sloths could only drum for Kenny G. Unfortunately, I missed David, but he amply contributed the missing piece to their garage gaze ensemble with his shredz.
Then there was The So So Glos. Updating a Tears for Fears sensibility with explosions and an electric presence, they disappeared after the show, so I wasn’t able to talk to them. Before they did, though, they hopped around stage amping people up for the next group, Diarrhea Planet . Hailing all the way from Nashville, TN, they were definitely in it to win it from the first chord struck. With a frenzy that even Andrew W.K. would have trouble keeping his head-banging in time with, they powered through several party-punk jams that got the entire audience uncomfortably excited. This would multiply when a guitarist (there were four) would deliver a stupid awesome guitar solo (just imagine whatever you think of when someone says “stupid awesome guitar solo.” That’s exactly how it sounded). When I asked the lead singer/guitarist, Jordan, which astral entity he would be, he told me he would be the White Cadillac in the movie Heavy Metal. Which pretty much says it all.
I walked back to the bar. Noticing the N64 that I had been returning to throughout the night was occupied, I decided to get a drink. I met a girl with curly hair who told me her name was “Whitney, like Houston but without the crack, Bobbi Brown, or the dead part. Oh, and I’m white.” I only looked at her funny and made an excuse to walk away immediately. Luckily for me, I could hear the Planet finishing their set in a grand fashion.
Junior Astronomers then took the stage. Their presence was mostly made clear by the excitement of the crowd. Dead Nostalgia, their newest album, was released July 23rd, and it seems like the audience had already memorized their new songs, because I swear, Junior Astronomers’ fans know every second of every song. As they should, their performance was chaotic and yet effective, with Terrence’s wails and the guitar-work acclimating very well with their need to respond to a hungry and feverous audience. They have a devoted fan following, but even people that I met who had never heard of them before were enraptured by this energy, even purchasing some of their uber neat merchandise.
Eventually, the dreaded moment arrived where they announced their last song. Terrence announced, “This song is about fucking,” which got the audience going crazy, followed by, “But it’s about fucking the same person again and again until you both die,” which didn’t get as big of a reaction, but I did notice a girl holding on to a boy throughout the show that chose to kiss him on the cheek when he said this. If only I had a picture of his resulting face of cringe while she was doing that. They then tore into their finale, and every member of my crew crowd-surfed at least once. At one point, Terrence even went into the crowd and had a conversation with a cute girl, before getting carried back to stage. It was a mad house.
After they played, the people dispersed, and we began our long journey back home. In the car, I noticed my breath had only gotten worst with the introduction of Pabst, and decided that I wasn’t going to try to be anyone other than myself. To be vomit-inducingly sincere here for a second, eccentricity is a lie if self-imposed. If you just remove your inner inhibitions, just do as you feel, jumping into crowds, shredding like a crazy person, whatever, you will end up actually pretty weird. Which is great. So just surf on your inner flow and let it carry you, and you’ll probably end up somewhere cool.