Thursday, July 16 found Henry doing three things that he hates: going out of town on a work night, eating at a vegan restaurant, and going to a show. But he did all of these things because he’s a goddamn prince and also, I have broken him.
I mean, Cleveland (Lakewood, if you want to get technical) isn’t too far of a haul, but when a show ends around 10:30-11:00 and then you have to drive 2.5 hours home only to wake up in two hours and go to work, well….I guess I can see Henry’s (corned) beef (and cabbage) with these out-of-town work night shows. But this one was special, and you know this if you have already subjected yourself to the 1000s of words I finger-vomited on here last week.
I left work early that day and by 3:00ish, we were on our way to Ohio, after angering Chooch when he found out who we were going to see.
“And you’re not taking me!?” he cried. But he was fine with it once he learned that it was in Cleveland because he hates being in the car for more than 15 minutes.
The drive was pretty uneventful. I listened to a Spotify playlist that my friend Terri had recently made and it was perfect. Henry talked about
Normally when we go to Cleveland, we eat at Melt, but I was already feeling nauseous. Nerves, you know? So I found a vegan restaurant on dreaded Yelp (I honestly will never stop hating that site; it angers me so much) that was within a few miles of Mahall’s. Henry rolled his eyes as soon as I told him it was called Earth Bistro but at least my mortal enemy Yelp reviewer has never eaten there. Henry had taken a wrong turn, as usual, and deposited us smack in the middle of downtown Cleveland rush hour, so he was too busy screaming “Shut the fuck up” to the GPS, but definitely not to me because he knows better.
“They supposedly have really good cactus slaw,” I noted, trying to get Henry stoked on meals minus meat. Henry is very simple when it comes to restaurant pleasures, and a good cup of ‘slaw usually does the trick. (He especially loves it when I swipe forkfuls of his ‘slaw from across the table. “Order your own next time!” he growls and I just laugh because can you imagine Henry ever being intimidating?)
We were the only ones at Earth Bistro, which is never really a good sign, but I was relieved because my pre-show anxiety was going through the roof and I didn’t feel like sharing the air with a restaurant full of hipsters I’d be convinced were staring at me. This anxiety happens every time we’re about to see a band I REALLLLLY LOVE and I know that must seem like every band in the world sometimes, but really there are only three bands currently that get me sick (in good ways). Emarosa has always done that to me.
Anyway, this joint’s decor was like walking into the 1980s, like you could easily imagine Robert Palmer and his Addicted To Love girls occupying a back booth, drinking Tab. I wished our waitress was wearing a gold lamé dress with shoulder pads, but she was clothed in a normal, modern outfit. Like, a long black skirt or something, I can’t remember. Who cares. It’s been A Week and I have no idea what sense I’m even making anymore.
The waitress, who reminded me of our friend Jessi from Michigan, twisted our arms into ordering an appetizer, and then continued to twist until we settled on her suggestion of their homemade guacamole. “It’s even been featured on TV a few times,” she bragged with a slight midwestern accent.
I was trying to pretend that this child-free evening was a Real Life date, but Henry was too busy wasting his life scrolling through his Facebook feed. When you only have like 70 Facebook friends, how often do you really need to check it?!
I guess I’m just too boring for him.
The guacamole actually was pretty good. It came with FRIED PLANTAIN CHIPS and I love FRIED PLANTAIN CHIPS! They also put fresh pineapple in with the guac, which tasted great but god forbid the avocado sex jam purists find out and start a new heated Internet debate. Unfortunately, it was super filling and I didn’t even consider the fact that both Henry and I ordered dinners that came with smaller portions of the guac, so what a goddamn waste.
I order vegetable tacos and they were no bueno. Totally bland and similar to something Henry would have made me at home. I was really bummed out about it, and Henry derived such joy from my order remorse.
“It’s weird that they don’t use seitan in anything,” Henry mused, because even though Henry loves to rip animal flesh right off the bone, he actually enjoys some seitan every now and then. I thought it was weird too. I also thought it was weird that it was a vegan/vegetarian restaurant but they had an entire meat-side of the menu.
AND THEY DON’T HAVE CACTUS SLAW ANYMORE!
“People either loved it or hated it,” the waitress said apologetically. “We were wasting so much of it, so the owner finally just took it off the menu.”
“GOOD ONE, ERIN,” Henry sneered after the waitress left the room. He loves it when my restaurant choices turn out poorly.
It doesn’t matter though, because we split a piece of raw cheesecake and it completely made up for the bland, boring cactus slaw-less dinner. I wish that I had just skipped dinner altogether so that I could have ordered two desserts, because that is apparently Earth Bistro’s secret weapon. GOOD LORD, THAT CHEESECAKE!
For a brief second I considered going on a raw diet, but then Henry said I would have to find someone else to make my food then, because he wasn’t trying to get involved in that shit. And then I panicked because does Cream of Wheat fall into a raw diet? THAT IS WHAT I EAT FOR LUNCH EVERY DAY! (Mostly because that’s all I can manage to make for myself without feeling exhausted or confused.)
After I was finished interrogating the waitress about how they made the raw cheesecake, we left for Mahall’s, which is on its way to becoming one of my favorite venues. The first time we went there was last July to see Artifex Pereo and it was just a really chill vibe. It’s also a bowling alley. This particular show was in the Locker Room, which turns out is in the basement of Mahall’s. Henry thought this was hilarious since I was just at a show in a literal, actual, real life basement less than a week before this.
As soon as we descended the dark steps and I saw just how small this room was, I knew it was going to be a magical night. Emarosa, unplugged, on the floor.
And then I felt sicker when it occurred to me how close I was going to be to them.
The first band was I Fight Fail, and I ended up really liking them a lot. Several people standing behind me were heckling them and basically shouting over the music to each other the whole time, and it was really pissing me off. Why is it so hard for people to shut their idiot faces when bands are playing? Anyway, the singer of I Fight Fail handed out CD-R copies of their album after their set.
The second band was The Whiskey Hollow, the side project of two members of Cleveland’s Envoi. They weren’t originally listed and I guess were added last minute, because from what I’m beginning to understand, they seem to worm their way onto the bill a lot, since they apparently have a pretty big local following. When we went to see Artifex Pereo last year, Envoi managed to usurp the headlining spot and it seemed like most of the people there were there for them, which was annoying because it had a super clique-ish vibe.
That being said, I thought Whiskey Hollow was decent, but the singer annoys me on a personal level and I just wanted to scream, “Please. Stop talking.” But a bunch of their groupie friends were there and I didn’t want to get beaten up. Also, she sang “Me and Bobby McGee” and I cannot stress how much I dislike that song and Janis Joplin—-YES, I WENT THERE. It was actually painful to my ears.
By this point, the tallest man in the room was standing in front of me, so I said fuck it and squeezed in between him and some broad who was there by herself. It was a good spot, but I kept trying to get Henry to stand in front of me so I could hide behind him when Emarosa came out, but he was like, “WHAT IF BRADLEY SHOVES THE MIC IN MY FACE AND I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS OMG SING-ALONG FOUL!”
We still had to get through Little Envy though. The singer made a big production of lighting incense and was just adorably awkward and shy. I’ll admit that my initial reaction was one of, “Whaaaaat am I watching right now?” but they grew on me. The singer reminded me of a young Christofer Drew trying to sing like Vic Fuentes.
This really spoke to 2005 Erin.
And then Emarosa. Heart-eyes for days. I know I already wrote about the Emarosa portion of the night, but someone posted a video from one of the shows after ours, and it’s too good not to share. I never thought I would be OK with someone else singing the old Jonny Craig songs, but Bradley totally owns this.
I’m going to go ahead and say that this one of the best nights I have had with Henry in quite awhile. Once he was done berating the GPS and yelling at me for taking pictures of him and being annoyed that this was a work night and sweating his balls off in the basement of a bowling alley and fantasizing about eating elk with Ted Nugent, he actually admitted that he had a decent time and that EMAROSA IS HIS FAVORITE BAND.