EXCLUSIVE SALOME TOUR DIARY FROM “GRIM” KIM KELLY, DAY 1: YOU CAN’T BEAT A HOMETOWN HOUSE SHOW
Virginia doom crew Salome have been busting eardrums and making waves across the Eastern half of the US on their latest tour, with stops at NYU (with Shrinebuilder/Wolves in the Throne Room) and at the SXSW madhouse, where they decimated showcases from Profound Lore/20 Buck Spin and BrooklynVegan alongside Coffinworm, Yakuza, The Atlas Moth, Zoroaster, Landmine Marathon, and tons more. The next leg of the tour is taking them through the Dirty South, and they’ve brought their buddy “Grim” Kim Kelly along for the ride to sling merch and document the whole thing, Almost Famous-style. First stop: Baton Rouge, Louisiana…
Current time: 3:13 am
Current location: A Super 8 somewhere outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana is a pretty desolate state to drive through. For hours at a time, you’ll be cruising down battered highways lined with billboards for “adult super centers” and “Buy 1-Get-11” fireworks stands (talk about recession-proof – if not death-proof – pricing!), staring out into the scrub pines and swamps in the shadow of a thousand Waffle House signs. It’s also not what I’d call “cosmopolitan” by any stretch of the imagination, judging from the reactions we got whenever we stopped to refuel and grab munchies. [Salome vocalist] Kat and Rob [Moore, guitars] look pretty “normal” by anyone’s standards, but Aaron [Deal, drums] and I caused some waves – he with his massive septum ring, tattooed arms and Wolfman beard, and me for my piercings, neck tattoos, 1” lobes and, especially, the inverted cross gracing the back of my Dragged into Sunlight hoodie.
“Dude, they were totally talking shit about you in there,” Aaron chuckled as we pulled away. “Did you see all the religious shit in there? I heard one of them say, ‘That one girl had an upside-down crucifix on her shirt, I never seen something like that before in my life!’”
Clearly, the femulleted ladies at the Cajun Kwik Stop were not impressed with our body modifications, and neither were the biscuit slingers at the Cracker Barrel we ate at later that day, after exhausting every semi-vegetarian friendly option in the state.
The trip from Austin to Baton Rouge took about seven hours, with added time for cigarette breaks and the aforementioned interactions with the locals and a constantly shufflingting playlist (though Judas Priest, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth and Electric Wizard were our pretty constant companions). Aaron’s prowess at “suggesting” that other cars move faster (by tailgating the shit out of them) made the time go a little faster, and the downpour we encountered as soon as we passed the Austin city limits abated by the time we got into crawdad country. We rolled up to “Michelle’s House” (which was, in fact, Michelle’s house) around 8:30pm and caught some of local grinders 54R before hauling the three tons of gear that encompass Salome’s stage setup through a crowd of benevolent crusties into the tiny living room. The show was supposed to be over by ten, but, since “punk-tuality” is what it is, things shut down closer to eleven. During their shortened set, Salome ran through their side of 2009’s Our Enemy Civilization split (with Thou) and closed with the perpetually devastating “Black Tides,” which sent the roomful of dreadlocked patrons into paroxysms of delight. During the melee, Kat got smacked in the face by an overexcited fan but kept on keepin’ on as Rob and Aaron beat themselves bloody against strings and skins. Hometown homeboys Thou closed things out with a heaping helping of their monolithic, insanely intense doom dirges, dedicating a last song to their departing drummer. They seemed looser, more relaxed, and more into their set than other times I’ve seen them, surrounded as they were by friends instead of strangers and critics. You just can’t beat a hometown house show, especially when the weather’s warm, the bands are heavy, and the beer is cheap.
“Dude, you’ve gotta see this,” Aaron exclaims. It’s almost four in the morning, Venture Brothers are on the TV, and we’ve just discovered that Super 8 has wireless (living in the future rules). Christians do the darnedest things:
Tomorrow we’ll be meeting up with our friends Rob and Stevie from Dark Castle and laying waste to Birmingham, Alabama. The power of the riffs (and lots of Welch’s fruit snacks) propels us!
When Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) isn’t upsetting gas station attendants and hauling gear, she writes for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Hails & Horns, Metal Maniacs, Noisecreep, Metal Injection, and more), reps Amebix with Catharsis PR, and keeps it grim. Soak in her exploits and numerous band recommendations on Twitter.
Photo credit: Samantha Marble