Click through below to read Shapiro’s report and check out the photos.
I flew to Gainesville in Central Florida for the OFF! and Cerebral Ballzy show that Sailor Jerry was sponsoring at a venue called The Backyard — which is actually the backyard of a Mexican restaurant that’s owned by Warren, the drummer from Against Me! I took this picture of Warren standing near the outdoor bar at The Backyard in the late afternoon. He was setting up for the show.
I got there at around 3pm, but the bands weren’t scheduled to get in until 5:30, so I took a little nap in the sun while the venue got set up for the show. This is what it looked like from where I was standing, next to the picnic table.
At around 7:00, OFF! and Cerebral Ballzy finally rolled in for sound check. I went inside the pool hall that’s connected to the venue to check out the merch. This was my favorite piece of Cerebral Ballzy gear, and I would have bought it if it wasn’t for Bart’s tumescence. Where could I wear that? It would kill my mom if she even saw a picture of me in that.
I found Keith Morris, the lead singer of OFF! — also known as the founding vocalist of Black Flag and Circle Jerks — playing Ms. Pac-Man so intensely that his legs were twitching. When he finished, he shook his hands out. I learned that he both speaks and sings with that intensity too, but when I first saw him, I thought he maybe just reserved it for Ms. Pac-Man. Later, right after I talked to him, he went back to the game.
Before OFF!’s set started, Keith came over, put his backpack down, and started tying his dreads back so they wouldn’t get in his way when he performed. There are some people hugging in the background here, which is roughly what I felt like doing to Keith Morris — but I don’t know how he would have felt about that, so I didn’t.
Cerebral Ballzy went on after OFF!, because the cops came to the show earlier and threatened to shut it down, and the organizers felt like the longer it went on, the more likely it was to be shut down — so they put the headliner on before the opener to maximize the chance of the crowd getting to see them. After OFF! played, Honor, the lead singer of Cerebral Ballzy, was getting ready for his set, and he had to go to the bathroom, but the line for the men’s room was longer than the line for the women’s room (when does that happen?), so he just went into the women’s room.
Honor walked around in the crowd and used this small megaphone to get everyone psyched for the Cerebral Ballzy set. “You guys are about to see a fucking punk rock show!” he shouted. Eventually, someone who worked at the venue took the megaphone away from him, so he went to the bar to take some tequila shots.
Honor ran into Dimitiri, the guitarist for OFF!, at the bar, and gave him a hug. I think they hadn’t seen each other in a few days but it could have been just a few hours. They talked about how they missed each other.
Cerebral Ballzy played on the stage for about ten minutes, and then Honor started wandering around in the crowd. Eventually he pulled the mic cord so far and so hard that his sound cut out. Here, he gets up on a wobbly table with some help from Against Me!’s Warren, the owner of the venue. Dimitri from OFF! stands in the background smiling in approval.
While Honor walked around in the crowd and drew everyone’s attention, Mason, the guitarist, somehow got up onto the roof of the building next to the venue and started playing up there. He was on the roof for three songs, sometimes laying on his back.
After the show, I walked around outside, where I took this picture of the windshield/dashboard of the Cerebral Ballzy tour van. It was time to hit the road, for both the bands and me.
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