It was a Sunday night and I was standing on a chair in a bookstore. A quick scan through the shelves below me provided my bearings as somewhere between the ‘humor’ and ‘teen’ section – about mid-store. I browsed through Dr. Denis Leary’s “Why We Suck” before discarding it in favor of The Onion’s “Our Dumb World”. When I periodically tore my eyes from the pages of satire, the view from my perch provided me access to the entire establishment — comic books, novels, vinyl, old record players, velvet paintings, espresso machines, and a gathering of figures in patched-up black jackets. The windows were coated in condensation, obscuring the happenings on South Broadway. Nothing outside the building equated to more than mere shadows in the night. The streets were frozen and covered with a fresh dusting of spring snow. But we were warm inside the walls of the Mutiny Information Cafe — with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and slight body order.
DIY spaces, record store performances and house concerts were nothing new to me, but there was something remarkable about witnessing insanely aggressive bands perform a place as unorthodox as Mutiny. From the obscene blackend blasts of Denver’s own Primitive Man, to the grinding violence of Cloud Rat, to the ‘tear-it-all-down-and-don’t-build-it-back-up-again’ sounds of Thou, I felt like we were pissing on every coffeeshop commandment ever written. And it felt good! Almost like screaming “FIRE!” in a crowded library.
Primitive Man finished their set before 11:00pm. Then the waiting began. Nothing about their music put me in a literary mood, so I found my way across a deserted Broadway for a drink, and to enjoy shelter from the elements while Cloud Rat and Thou suffered through the last stretch of a fourteen hour drive from Nebraska. It was about an hour later when their van arrived and filled E. Ellsworth with the flashing orange glow of hazard lights – beckoning me back to my perch.
ELM and company were kind enough to lend their gear to the road-weary arrivals, allowing Cloud Rat to speed through a handful of songs like a swarm of quick, yet powerful earthquakes – and although they left the crowd wanting more, they were respectful of the fact that Thou needed time to perform before the 1:00am curfew.
“Fuck it!” Bryan Funck decided that the sound was as good as it was likely to get at half past midnight. “Please calm down with all the violent rhetoric!” – the place exploded. Thou tore through “Smoke Pigs”, a couple highlights from Heathen, “The Mystery of Contradictions” and a Green Day cover over the next thirty minutes… taking us to the brink of Mutiny’s noise curfew. This was Thou though, and it was a Thou crowd that had been waiting all night, so there were no qualms about breaking the law just a little bit. “Skinwalker” and “Get Me Out” provided us with more than just “one more second, one more minute”, but “one more hour” would have put Mutiny at risk and that wasn’t an option. So at just past 1:00am the procession began — one-by-one, the patched-up black jackets joined the shadows of the night — every one just a little more wrecked than they were an hour before.
In Defiance of the Sages
Into the Marshlands
The Mystery of Contradictions
Blank (partial Eyehategod cover)
Having a Blast (Green Day cover)