EXCLUSIVE SALOME TOUR DIARY FROM “GRIM” KIM KELLY, DAY 4: THE FINAL DAY! WITH EXCLUSIVE TOUR VIDEO AND PICS!!!
“With Hell for a Mouth,” live in Raleigh, NC
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. You can read the first day’s report here, the second day’s report here, and the third day’s report here… and now we come to the bittersweet end…
Well, holy shit, Raleigh. Tonight was absurd, in about a million and a half different ways. We got to Slim’s and loaded in, then settled in for a longer than anticipated wait. The opening band, Gringo, kept pushing the start time back from 10, to 10:30, to 11pm; they finally hopped onstage at about 11:15. During the interim I sold a few record, took a walk about the block, and, alongside Kat , Rob and Aaron, made the acquaintance of a fellow named John. John was very drunk, and very talkative. During the space of a few minutes, we learned that not only was John an Iraq war veteran, he’d been blown up three times, sustained skull fractures and brain damage, smoked weed “to keep from killing himself,” and, just that morning, had been acquitted of a handful of drug charges (misdemeanors/felonies) “because,” he said as he tapped on his Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran baseball cap, “of this.” God bless America, I s’pose. He stuck around for a couple more hours, arguing with Kat and I about vegetarianism, extolling the merits of drunk driving, and talking weed with Aaron, then disappeared a few minutes before Gringo’s set. He was still drunk as a skunk, and with a 45 minute drive ahead of him, we could only hope that luck was once more on his side and he’d gotten home safe.
Talking to John was nothing compared to our interactions with Sheldon. Dude was, for all intents and purposes, an African shaman, who just happened to be hanging out in front of Slim’s selling jewelry and dispensing wisdom to anyone who’d listen. He and Aaron bonded immediately, and, once I got past my initial pouting reaction to his telling me I “look like a Klingon” (because of my bridge piercing…I guess?), I warmed up to him as well. He was definitely a far-out character, who was fond of spouting mystical and philosophical remarks and arguing with me over various aspects of human nature. Some of the things he said had Kat and I rolling our eyes, but a lot of it, when you really listened to what he was saying, made sense. Sheldon may have looked weird with his buttoned-up shirt, dangling assortment of necklaces, and the shards of bone woken through his hair, but he was one of the most perceptive characters I’ve ever met. He was particularly impressed with Aaron’s skills on the kit; he told him that he thought he was going to be “the next Buddy Rich,” and told us about how he plays djembe in African ritual ceremonies. He walked away with a new Salome shirt and Aaron’s email address; here’s hoping we hear back from him!
Local heavyweights Gringo had some nice, fat stoner sludge riffs working for them, but their singer was clearly top of his class in the School of Phil Anselmo, and his stage presence was a little much. On a six-by-six foot stage, you don’t really need to be climbing on the monitors, dude. They were super sweet guys though, and Scott is a gnarly bassist – they just need a little help shedding the Panteraisms.
The bar had been pretty full before Gringo played, but once shit got loud, they started trickling out. By the time Salome had set up and started playing, there was only a handful of drunken/diehard fans left to soak in the riffs, but nearly everyone who stayed through their set spent a good amount at the merch table and crowded around the band members to offer handshakes and cries of “dude, you were awesome!” afterwards. It’s a shame the crowd wasn’t bigger, ‘cause Salome were on fire that night – catching up on sleep and indulging in veggie grease earlier had given them just enough energy to end this tour on a sky-high note. We loaded out, said goodbye to Sheldon, and headed back to our temporary home to grab a few hours of sleep before the long drive back. The Salome crew were bound for their DC-area homes, while my own adventures will be keeping me away from my Philadelphia stomping grounds for a little while longer. Spending these last five days with them has been an absolutely amazing experience, and after hearing rumblings of things to come, I’m even more excited to see what they’ve got planned for the future. Stay tuned, dudes and ladies; Salome have only begun to rage!
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.