This band was so bad that people who had been drinking since noon left in droves to go downtown and escape the aural fisting being forced upon them. People were throwing themselves into the river. Jumping in front of trains. Converting to Mormonism. It was horrific.
I tried to take pictures and video, but my camera failed to work. The images wouldn't render. It's as though the band were made up of tone deaf vampires whose fingers were made of failure. They played barely recognizable covers using the unique method of skipping every other note. They downtuned their instruments to adjust for the limited vocal range of their singer, which makes perfect sense. But they weren't playing and singing in the same key. However, it wouldn't have made a difference if they were in key, since both singer and band changed keys mid-verse on several occasions. It's like they were playing a game of Follow The Leader where someone would randomly change keys and see how long it took everybody else to catch up.
And then there were the flat screens. The band had a couple of big flat screen monitors mounted on the stage to either side of them and a third, larger one mounted above the stage behind the drummer. I don't know if they found these lying on the side of the road or won them in some sort of contest or what, but they clearly didn't know what to do with them.
For the first couple of numbers, the screens just displayed some sort of meandering abstract art crawl that looked suspiciously like a Windows '95 screensaver. Later, during a rendition of a Cars tune that surely made Ric Ocasek shoot himself just so he could roll over in his grave, the screens showed a woman walking on a beach. It kind of looked like a Massengil commercial but we were laughing too hard to look for a logo. There was also a shot of a single white candle burning in front of a black background. Was this during a cover of Cheap Trick's The Flame? No, it was not. It was just a random shot. Come to think of it, I think it was a screensaver, the one where you point it to a directory of photos and it cycles through them. It was truly laughable, a painful blend of musical ineptitude, poor song choices and a 2nd grader's sense of stage production. I've expelled better entertainment from both ends of my body.
Eventually we joined the sensible masses and headed downtown to grab a drink and see if we could find better music, like some homeless people banging on garbage cans or a Sugarland concert. We eventually settled on a bar that had an open table and spent the next hour and a half pounding hard liquor (beer was not powerful enough to un-rape our eardrums) and talking about happier times, like when I was attacked by a pack of wolves.
As we left Friday night behind and welcomed Saturday morning, we started hitting different bars. I don't remember much after that, as my brain was so focused on maintaining my autonomic functions that it stopped imprinting engrams, but I do remember snapping this picture:
This would become a recurring theme. When that guy has to use the bathroom, he has to use it now. To the people of LaCrosse, whose fair city is a wee bit yellower today, I apologize.
Anyway, after that we headed back to the hotel, but Tim and I decided that we weren't really done drinking, so we found a dive bar about a block from the hotel. It was a hole in the wall and we distinctly heard someone at the bar ask the bartender if she knew who we were. That's always a good sign.
Anyway, my body at some point decided enough was enough. It always lets me know in novel ways when I'm standing on the precipice of irretrievably hammered. Tonight it simply hiccupped every time I tried to take a sip of my drink. I've learned to accept and heed these warnings so we called it a night.
When I'm this far into the happy zone I like to take pictures, so I snapped this one of the night clerk at the hotel desk on the way to the room:
After this Tim and I hit the hay and worked on using all the beer, meat and sauerkraut we had ingested over the last ten hours to convert the oxygen in our hotel room into methane.