We rolled up to DFW last week in the midst of a two-week bout of summer storms.
Rain is never desirable when you are driving and loading a van full of gear, but it’s been a hot summer and personally I was grateful for the drink.
I was also grateful for the down-home practical wisdom of my Greyhound driver:
“. . . one more word about the rest stop and then I’ll be quiet. If for some reason you don’t follow my instructions and you get left behind at the rest stop, don’t worry- there’s all kinds of buses going through every 5 or 10 minutes and they’re all going to Dallas, so just get on one of those and pretend you’re supposed to be there, because the drivers don’t check tickets. *This is not a joke,* it’s what I would do in your situation.”
Good lookin’ out, my man.
Saturday, September 8: The Sunshine Bar (Arlington, TX) with Fantom Limb and Mountain of Smoke
This was our second time at the Sunshine Bar- the first was almost a year ago, just before A Ruined Oak came out, and this is where we sold our first copy of the LP (Which you can totally still buy!) to a guy named Bill, who was also at this show and bought a T-shirt! #1 DFW Fan Bill! Yay!
We met Sunshine booker Matthew Day at that show and he was great to us. As the Fort Worth Weekly reports, he’s turning over booking duties to some other folks, including our buddy Aaron Bartz of Tame Tame and Quiet, but he was nice enough to set this one up for us as his swan song.
Before the show I noticed that the TV above the “stage” (i.e. floor) was showing Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (tagline: “It’s not a good movie but it’s fun to look at and Rihanna is in it for some reason”) and Matt and I ended up rapping about science fiction for quite a while. I know you’re all riveted.
Fantom Limb started the show with, as one might have guessed from their name, a set of heavily Pig-Destroyer-influenced grindcore.
That’s kind of a reductive description and a more than a little unfair, because they absolutely nailed what they were going for. And it was their first show! Turns out all of these guys are veterans of the DFW hardcore scene from bands like William Bonnie, Syrens and others so it’s no real surprise.
I was especially impressed with their vocalist, Terry.
He brought a satisfying amount of range to their music and even managed to quote Twin Peaks during a hardcore breakdown.
Can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for the future (and hopefully play with them again).
We played second. There was a little bit of a kick-the-dust-off feeling from our set- it didn’t help that both Jamie and Sam were under the weather, and I had been up since about 6:30. But we did well enough. We even broke out “Leglifter” from Fresh Hell for the first time in more than three years!
The Savage Sky
Last of the Green Vial
A Cruel Weight, Thy Wound
Arms That Flood
This was the second or third time we’ve closed the set with Arms That Flood. It’s perhaps not the most obvious choice because it’s a bit subdued, but I think everyone agrees it’s one of our best, and it kind of has to go at the end of the set because it’s in an alternate tuning (I wanna say dropped B flat? That doesn’t sound right but what do I know). So there you have it.
We have sold a lot of merch when we’ve played that song last so maybe it’s a good luck charm.
Speaking of selling merch: I was too busy with this part of my duties to take any pics of Mountain of Smoke! 🙁 I’m sorry guys. Fortunately they’ve been playing a lot so you can see some approximations on their Facebook page. Spoiler: Brooks cut his hair since the last time we played with them, which was in. . . February 2015?!? That can’t be right.
Anyway they recently added a pedal steel guitar to their setup, courtesy of Alex Johnson, also of the excellent death/thrash band Steel Bearing Hand (whose drummer, incidentally, is a young buck named Anthony Vallejo). In MoS Alex uses the pedal steel for long tones like a keyboard, and the end result is something like a mashup of stoner doom and a John Carpenter score. If that sounds awesome, well, it is. They have a new record and it’s great. Just an incredibly thick-sounding and satisfying doom rock record with songs that are efficient and catchy. Go buy it.
A million thanks to Matt and the Sunshine Club, who have treated us really well. Can’t wait to come back.
After the show we once again decamped to the domicile of James “Tha” Gruder, guitarist and cat wrangler for Dead to a Dying World and all around capable dude.
The next day he happened to be driving to Austin for band business, so while everyone else hightailed it back to Houston at the crack of dawn, I gave the Greyhound and miss and James and I spent a pleasant morning on I-35 brunching on kolaches to the sounds of Kate Bush, swapping band gossip and bonding over our mutual opinion that Alien 4 gets a bad rap. Thanks for the ride buddy.