We’re sitting on a grassy ridge overlooking a village on the German-Czech border. Directly below us is a steep, dusty path down to the rest stop parking lot. A gentle breeze foretelling rain, for now feels refreshing. A car pulls in and stops perfectly between two spaces, straddling the line. A man stands on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette furiously. Probably on the high side of 50, he sports skinny jeans and white dress shoes. A far-too-tight sleeveless shirt betrays any notion of hiding a massive beer gut. Ryan looks at me, cigarette hanging out of his mouth. “Ya’ know it seems this place has the case of the Fuck-its. It’s so cool.”
Total rager in Leipzig last night. We were cared for from soup to nuts by Laura and Frank. Overwhelming as hell for the author as it constituted multiple reunions with various friends. Step out of the van and there’s Robert Refuse with his friendly smile. Climb the dirty Zoro stairs up to the merch table to drop off a box and Government Flu is standing there ready with hugs. Descend the same steps and New Jersey’s own Jeff Bastard comes around the corner. Deep down, I know tonight is gonna’ rule.
Described aptly as a “crust caslte,” Zoro is a compound of sorts boasting multiple stages, bars, a band dorm, kitchen, record store, and a bar booth made from the cab of a truck. I was able to savor catching up with old friends over incredible food provided by the Zoro crew– veggie patties over mashed potatoes and gravy and cherry-topped chocolate cake to boot. Irish Handcuffs and No Weather Talks, our buddies from the night before in Hamburg, rock the basement stage. Government Flu (a personal fav of the author’s) kicks off things upstairs. They let me do a number with them, redeeming myself after wreaking havoc and destroying an amp in New Jersey last spring. Read that tale here.
Sweden’s Beyond Pink go next. This is the last night of a tour beset with problems for the group, including having the contents of their van liquidated in the middle of the night at one show. Despite the spirit-breaking incidents, they didn’t reveal any hint of despair, instead greeted us all jovially with enthusiasm and friendship. Any demons were exorcised from the stage with a heavier-than-their-LPs set. Ya’ just couldn’t help but mosh.
During Gov Flu’s trio of Negative Approach covers fronted by Robert fuckin’ Refuse on a rampage, the top of a mosher’s head connected with the drummer of Beyond Pink’s nose crushing it. When they hit the stage, I was stuck standing slack-jawed watching her destroy the drums with broken bloody nose, a snarl and looks that kill. One of the most intense drummer’s I have ever seen.
Night Birds topped the bill with a sweaty set. A collective sense of enjoyment amongst the crowd meant moshing was cathartic punk rock fun. Brian exclaiming Zoro as his absolute favorite venue in the world. As I ran back and forth and in a circle and slid across the pit on the slick concrete floor with the kids, I couldn’t agree more. Top off the night with Polish home brew for PJ and Ryan, DIY tattoos (Gov Flu’s Liepec got a bird leg busting out of his knee cap and fuckin’ ET on his arm), the author polishing off a 40 of thick Banana juice, and bonding with old and new friends alike was perfection at its sloppy best. Laying on a mattress in the dorm between Joe and Robert Refuse, hearing “Oh Bondage Up Yours” bleed into the quiet night from a still goin’ strong bar below, I felt the tension of life’s bullshit fade and the singular existence of tour truly take hold. A case of the Fuck-its is at hand.
Tonight: Brno! Tomorrow: Budapest!