Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shellac at The Bellhouse

I obviously had my camera out too, but the Andy Rooney in me hates how people nowadays watch shows through the screen of thier phones. Fuckin' nowadays.

 "We're  not going to play Heartbeat. That record is 25 years old! Stop yelling! It's really annoying! Stop doing it! STOP IT!"

 Steve Albini

 Todd Trainer
 Bob Weston
 The stack

My freshman year of college I learned through “the web” that Shellac would be playing a series of shows at the First Ave club in Minneapolis. The lineup was Thrones, Blonde Redhead, and Shellac.  There were going to be shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and then an all ages show on Sunday morning at 8 am. I was only 18 so the morning show was my only option. Growing up in Des Moines, driving long distances for shows is a ritual, just part of the deal. I floated the idea to some friends and we all agreed the logic was sound. We would leave at midnight.

That Saturday night the house where I lived was having a big party, and in my excitement I invited more people to join us, expecting they would decline. They did not decline. Around 11:30 the five of us (Myself, Raphe, Dominic, Bryan, and a totally random girl none of us had ever met but who was at the party) crammed into the car and set out for a 5 hour drive with no tickets, no maps, and no clue if the show as even still 100% happening.

15 miles later, while driving at 85 mph on the interstate, Dominic’s car lost all power. The alternator was shot. We pulled over and got out and pushed the Pontiac for about 3 miles in the dark before another car finally stopped and offered assistance. None of us had a cell phone, so they drove two of the people in our group back to Iowa City. The rest of us waited at the car and discussed potential alien encounters. An hour later the crew returned in a different, significantly smaller, car. We grabbed our gear, abandoned the first car on the roadside, and continued on.

When we arrived in Minneapolis we dropped the random girl off at her house and went downtown. We joined a line of about 15 other people outside of the club and sat on the sidewalk and waited. When the doors finally opened an hour later, we found dozens of toasters scattered throughout the venue along with free pop tarts, juice, and coffee. We binged.

All three bands played amazing sets. Or anyway they had to be amazing to us because if they weren’t amazing then we were huge idiots. After the show we hung around and talked to the bands and said thanks. I remember Bryan telling one of the Blond Redhead twins that they should come to Iowa and “We’ll get you some corn!” A couple minutes later when the guy politely excused himself Bryan began freaking out “WHY DID I SAY THAT?!?! IDIOT!” Around noon we set out to find lunch.

After some complications we were able to meet up with random girl, who was in a teary state of sleep-deprived mental breakdown. None of us had slept in at least 24 hours, and I was personally at the 36 hour mark. After a lunch full of arguing and bitching and short nerves we set out for Iowa City at about 2pm. I drove while most of the group slept. Raphe stayed awake to make delirious banter. The car had a broken speedometer so I would try to gauge how fast I was going by other cars.  If I had to guess I would say the we were oscillating back and forth between 30 and 90mph. After what seemed like forever, we finally arrived home around 8pm. We dropped off a still-teary random girl, who I would never speak to again. The rest of us parted company with shrugs and satisfied grunts.

Considering all that, I was shocked at my own reaction when a friend called and said he had a spare ticket to this show and that it was a 15 minute WALK away. My first instinct was to stay in, but then I remembered that little opportunities like this are exactly why I live here. On the way over to the Bell House, one of the friends-of-my-friend was talking about how long the walk was and I smiled.