The entire purpose of our trip to Louisville last weekend was to see Artifex Pereo at their hometown CD release show. I know, seems like a long way to go to see one band, but Pittsburgh was once again not on their tour route, and they’re on the short list of bands I adore enough travel for. This is one of the few bands I like that Henry also likes, so I only had to beg him a little bit to take me.
And also Chooch, because he pretty much just goes to all the shows now.
The doors weren’t open yet when our boring Lyft driver deposited us along the curb, so we had to wait a bit outside. This is usually the time I start to feel like a bad parent for bringing a 10-year-old to a bar/club. People kept looking at him and I was like DON’T JUDGE US but then some of the guys from Artifex walked past and high-fived Chooch, so everyone in line was like, “Aw.” And then we suddenly became cool.
There were no advanced tickets, so I panicked about this and posted on the Facebook event page, asking if they anticipated it to sell out, because if we were driving all that way from Pittsburgh, I wanted to make sure we were getting in! Cory, the drummer, messaged me his phone number and told me that if we had any problems, to give him a call and he’d make sure we got in. As if I didn’t already love them enough!
Luckily, we got there early enough that we didn’t have any problems, but that place filled up FAST so who knows if we would have been turned away had we arrived late. People came out in droves to support their friends in all the bands playing that night (3 out of 4 were from Louisville) and it was really beautiful to see! This was one of the main reasons I wanted to be there that night – hometown shows are just so exciting, intimate, and full of energy. I wanted in on that.
It was $5 to get in, but Highroller Henry only had a hundred dollar bill on him (“I would have had the exact amount if some asshole hadn’t made me tour a castle today,” he mumbled) and I was so embarrassed/annoyed that now he was going to hold up the line while the doorman checked to make sure that the bill was legit and then slowly counted Henry’s change. But what took even longer was the doorman’s suspended disbelief that I was over 21. BLESS YOU, SIR. (To be fair, it was dark in there so the circles under my eyes were camouflaged and my gray hairs blended into the shadows; also I always look much younger when Henry’s at my side, lol-forever).
We found a bar table in a corner, perfect for Chooch, whose weary bones can’t handle long periods of standing. It’s tough being 10 years old in the year 2016. And since we took a Lyft there, Henry was giddy that he could drink beer. Which is exactly what he did and he was in the greatest mood ever, it was amazing. Let’s feed Henry beer more often.
Chooch was happy with his plastic cup of OJ.
Cory was over at the merch table, so Henry went over to say hello. I guess they’re like bros now since they talked at Bled Fest, so many ughs. Ughs for days. Ughs coming out the ass. When Henry came back, he was like, “You should go say hello to him. He’s so nice! He knows who you are, just do it.” And then he had to give me a literal push because I am SO WEIRD about talking to people in bands. I made Chooch go with me and of course it was all, “Riley is here! Good to see you!” LIVE IT UP NOW WHILE YOU CAN, CHOOCH. Pretty soon you will be old and average like the rest of us. Play that cute kid card as much as possible because time is waning!
(Whatever. Chooch will never be old and average.)
Anyway, Cory was super nice and I gladly gave him Henry’s money for merch. Holding their new CD in my hands a week before it was officially released was such a goddamn gift!
The room was really starting to fill up by the first band, Concealer, started to play. They’re also from Louisville so the crowd was super stoked on them and I liked them a lot too—the perfect Slushee of rock and emo. These guys were definitely in my wheelhouse.
It was really getting extremely hot in there. Henry and Chooch kept going outside, but I had to stay there and protect Chooch’s stupid seat because god forbid he might have to stand on those weak little legs of his. I could honestly feel layers of my face sluicing off. I started to crave a razor so I could shear my hair. Get it off of me! IT WAS THAT HOT.
The next band was also local to Louisville, Ol’ Girl. “Is this like, the new thing now or something?” Henry yelled in my ear, because they’re an instrumental/prog rock-type band and he just doesn’t understand this genre.
(I just learned today that Wendy hates the word “genre” so now I’m going to use it as much as possible around her. Like next time I’m working on something here at the Law Firm, maybe I’ll ask her, “Hey Wendy, what GENRE OF LAW is this?”)
It’s not a “new thing” at all, but I think that there are just some really incredible up-and-coming ambassadors for this movement, which is why this type of music is getting more exposure lately, from Chon to Polyphia, Strawberry Girls, and even our local Pittsburghers in Save Us From the Archon. If your music is good, it’s good, you know? You don’t always need a vocalist to entertain a crowd.
Anyway, I really liked these guys, even though I couldn’t figure out their name was until much later when Lucas from Artifex Pereo said it on stage.
The third band was the Funeral Portrait. There wasn’t much of a crowd for them, I guess because they’re from Atlanta and most of the people there that night were out in support of Louisville’s best, so I was able to stand near the stage without the risk of passing out. Seriously, it was SO HOT up in that piece! I wasn’t even about to try to elbow my way closer to the stage during the first two bands. It was a solid wall of steaming hot humans in that room.
The Funeral Portrait was a bit heavier than the other bands, more screamier, and if you’re someone who abides by Alternative Press’s classifications of bands, then you can call them Theatricore I guess. They reminded me a bit of old My Chemical Romance. OLD My Chemical Romance, like pre-MTV Darlings MCR. Specifically the MCR song “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.” I remember hearing that song, and then seeing the video, for the first time somewhere around 2003 and being smitten.
So maybe the Funeral Portrait didn’t have quite that same effect on me, but they at least got my attention and made me want to buy a shirt (they have some really great designs and all about that funeral life).
He’s wearing the shirt of my people!
Meanwhile, Chooch was falling asleep in his chair. It was a pretty late show, and I’m sure the mugginess in that room didn’t help keep his eyelids from crashing down.
“Some of the guys came over and asked him if he was going to make it,” Henry laughed, like he knows them so well now. Shut up, Henry.
We let him doze for a while and then Henry took him outside for a few minutes after Artifex started playing. I couldn’t stand there in the back any longer though, so I gathered up my purse and moved closer to the stage because I wanted to be all up in it, you know? I didn’t drive (Henry crazy in the car) for six hours just to stand in the back.
By this time though, every single person was pretty much in that room and I swear the air felt like it could be sliced and served on a plate. So thick, so m o i s t. My eyes were starting to sting from the sweat dripping off my forehead, but man — who cares. Even the lens on my phone was fogging up.
I need to just make up my own non-English words to explain the genuine feels that this band gives me when I see them live, because ye ol’ Webster’s is failing me here. Nothing is good enough! They make me feel like cotton candy is being churned inside my heart. Like tiny Andy Gibbs are stroking my ear drums with tiny velvet gloves. (Purple velvet, obviously.)
All three times I’ve seen them, the first thing I’ve said to Henry is, “I just can’t believe how GOOD they sound live!” Not that I go in expecting any band to sound terrible, or way off from the sound of their albums, but man — these guys are just masters at their craft. Their music is pure art. The first song of theirs I ever heard was “Hands of Penance” after their producer Kris Crummet posted a clip of it on Instagram — my kneejerk reaction was, “Who the hell is this band and when are they going on tour?!”
Making that drive was such a great decision because this show was was just brimming with good vibes and high energy—just the kind of environment I needed to be in. And Henry was in such a great mood, and Chooch was content, and it was just a really great night all around. No fighting!
The last song they played was Tied to the Sunset and the room just went apeshit:
As soon as the show ended, I was dying to get outside into the cool evening air. My hair was drenched, all stuck to my neck and disgusting, but I had to go back to the merch area to get the screenprint that I bought before the show started; Cory said we could keep it there so it wouldn’t get destroyed during the show. I was excited because I got to meet Lucas finally but could barely muster anything greater than “I love you guys.” He thanked us for driving all that way and then we turned to leave. Right before we got to the door, Henry asked, “Why didn’t you ask him to sign this?” and I was like BECAUSE MY BRAIN IS MELTING IN THIS SAUNA, SORRY I DIDN’T THINK TO ASK.
So he and Chooch went back in to get it signed while I stumbled outside to the sidewalk, where it practically felt like December out there, that’s how shocking the temperature difference was from inside New Vintage. I stood out there by myself for what seemed like 30 minutes until the finally came back out, screenprint successfully full of Artifex Pereo signatures. Oh, Henry couldn’t wait to tell me about all the encounters Chooch had, how one of their girlfriends came up to him and asked, “Are you Riley? I’ve heard about you!”
ENJOY THESE MOMENTS, OH SON OF MINE.
Then some girl walked by, smiled at Henry and said, “Pretty cool dad!”
Ugh, whatever. I guess he is a pretty cool dad for driving us there. But I’m the one who likes the band more, lest anyone forget it!
Real talk, though: Henry is kind of the best for continuously catering to my insatiable concert appetite. And to be able to share these moments with my kid is a parenting dream.
And on that note, their new album was released today and everyone should go buy it because it’s such a gift for the ears, and they’re really sweet, genuine guys who deserve all the support they can get. Their art needs to be enjoyed by all, so spread the word!