So let’s start by getting one thing straight, I love chaos. Whether it’s a basement full of people punching one another or taking ill advised jumps off bridges into a river, I vehemently believe that humanity is best served at it’s absolute wildest. As such, I found myself at crossroads when it came to how to best spend my Saturday night on March 25th. Do I head to Valley Bar for an evening of cinema themed powerviolence with Graf Orlock, or do I head over to The Pressroom for the Phx Am after party and scratch Denzel Curry off my Coachella to-do list early? Well I’m not one to do anything half-speed, so the only logical choice was clearly to just go to both shows and see if my mind could survive.
Thanks to an early start time of 6:30, I arrived in plenty of time to see Graf Orlock absolutely ravage the Valley Bar side room with their action movie sample heavy brand of grindcore. Unfortunately, due to the early start time and a considerable lack of promotion overall, the crowd for Graf was relatively thin and only featured moshing from a handful of dedicated fans who had shown up early for the occasion.
Thankfully, by the time headliners Horse The Band took the stage, the room had definitely filled up quite a bit with what looked to be a great deal of people who hadn’t left the house in quite some time, but had made the pilgrimage for one Horse’s infamously raucous live sets. It’s important to note that such a description is not intended as an insult. Horse The Band’s brand of post-modern humor mixed with nintendocore influenced metal is simply the sort of music that inspires a wide swath of people to venture out of their homes to drunkenly destroy everything in their sight.
From the moment the opening notes of “Heroes Die” rung out across the basement, to the closing mash up of “March Of The Pigs” by Nine Inch Nails with perennial favorite Cutsman, Valley Bar was turned into an absolute train wreck of spastic pushing and screaming reserved primarily for epilepsy and Horse The Band shows. Surprisingly, there was only one issue the entire evening, and that was the fault of a drunken fan who would not exit the stage when prompted.
As the bewildered venue staff struggled to collect their thoughts, as well as their hearing, I made my way up the stairs and set of to Pressroom to continue my evening of debauchery.
Now, it’s at this point in the night that so much wildness happened in such rapid succession that the only way to effectively encapsulate it is via bulleted list:
- So much weed that it looked like the inside of the venue was on fire.
- A crowd of mostly 16-19 year olds that literally moshed the entire time, including during a jazz set and multiple djs.
- At least two children who were likely not even 10 years old despite the show being 16+
- A rowdy patron who kept attempting to start fights get picked up by a group of 15-20 other concert goers who carried him out the front doors and literally threw him into the street.
- Possibly the absolute worst musical performer I have ever witnessed by the pink haired guy rapping with C-Roy.
- A fight between two 16 year olds so vicious that blood and teeth were flying before security had time to intervene.
- Playboy Manbaby getting two full venue circle pits going during their set.
Regarding the performances, Playboy Manbaby played a set more than worthy of the 15 dollar ticket price. While their blend of Primus vocal delivery meets mid 80’s surf funk may have seemed an odd domination to a trap/grime rap show, the sheer energy of their stage presence more than won over the crowd who turned the entire venue into a mass of dancing and thrashing bodies perfect for a skate competition after party.
However, once Denzel Curry took the stage, he easily eclipsed every aspect of the preceding evening. Standing confidently at center stage and letting out a Super Saiyan scream, he proceeded to eviscerate the entire building with his trademark staccato delivery. By the time he played his massive single “Ultimate”, what little was left of the building was reduced to rubble by the onslaught of stage dives that broke out the second the beat dropped.
Exhausted and facing a 3 mile walk back to my car, I made for the exit while I checked my phone and lamented the fact that by the time I got home, I’d have only 3 precious hours to sleep before I needed to wake up and jump off a waterfall the next morning.