On Thursday, I went to the Transgression, Ilsa, Sick Fix, Lemuria and Torche show at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park, DC. The show was advertised as starting at 7 pm. I'm used to "punk time," in which everything starts at least an hour late. In fact, the opening band is usually still in route when the show is supposed to start. For once, the show started on schedule. My housemate Zack's band, Transgression, opened and I missed them. I also missed my friend Sharad's band, Ilsa, which are a popular, doom metal band.
Parking was a chore. As I circled the block, I noticed groupings of police officers at the 7-11 across the street from the venue. A line of police officers kept moving kids away from the sidewalk in front of the venue and into an abandoned lot next door. I parked and passed four police officers standing by the crosswalk as I headed to the Electric Maid. I found Pat. In DC, we usually don't see a police presence at shows. Nothing out of the ordinary, such as fights or people blocking traffic, summoned the police. A girl told me that she saw an older man in a straw hat, Bermuda shorts and knee high, black socks talking to the police and pointing at the club when the police first arrived. She blamed this unknown and absent man for everything that happened relating to the police.
The show went on and Lemuria pleased the crowd. Lemuria's songs are melodic in the vein of 90s alt rock. Sheena has a sweet, clear voice. Fans sing and hum along. Sheena told me that her mom sometimes sits at the merch table for the band when they are playing close to home. Lemuria hopes to promote community and the idea of Sheena's mom helping the band out seems appropriate to me.
Sick Fix played next. I saw them play on Sunday night at the Corpse Fortress and they were stronger at the Electric Maid. The sound system and acoustics are better at the Electric Maid. Anyway, they tore into their set of hardcore songs. Michelle's face turned red as she screamed and stepped off of the stage and into the crowd. Pat's hair tossed around as he shook with his guitar and Chris furiously hit his drums with machine-gun speed.
I was talking with my friend Sharad after Sick Fix played and we noticed fire marshalls taking pictures. Sharad asked one of the fire marshalls whether anything was wrong. The fire marshall ominously answered in a monotone that it "soon won't be." I told Sharad that, with only one exit and a ton of people in the building, I bet that the fire marshall would be writing up code violations.
Instead of taking the stage, some guy associated with the Electric Maid announced that everyone needed to leave the Electric Maid due to a fire code violation. People kept standing in confused clusters. The guy with the microphone started berating the crowd for not offering up a place to relocate the show. People suggested the Corpse Fortress. Then, the guy with the microphone broadcast the address of the Corpse Fortress as some people within the crowd called for more subtlety given the platoon of police officers and fire marshalls swarming by the door. All flyers for the Corpse Fortress give its address, so the top secret attitude is, I'm sure, short lived. Anyway, at least on that night, DC officers didn't follow kids into Maryland or contact any neighboring officers.
I joined a caravan of cars to the Corpse Fortress. After parking, I walked with Pat over to 7-11 to get a drink before descending into the Corpse Fortress basement to see Torche. The Corpse Fortress basement was dank after a recent rain and the smell of mold combined with that of sweat. The PA wasn't working too well for Torche and I could only hear the bass and drums. The lights went out after Torche started and people held up cell phones to add some light. Torche was unperturbed and played a long set, maybe as a thanks to the people who switched venues and stayed up late just to hear them.