On the morning of June 6th, 2011, I woke up in an unfamiliar place. Like a scene from “Memento,” I got up and surveyed my foreign surroundings (although I didn’t have any tattoos for guidance). Beside the bed laid my pants in a disheveled pile; next to them sat a couple crumpled balls of one dollar bills and a pair of florescent orange ear buds. I stood up only to discover a pain coursing from my neck, up my brain stem, and into my cranium. I brought my hands to my head and rubbed my temples to try and alleviate what was certainly one of the worst headaches ever. As I tried easing the pain, I noticed one of my shoes by the door and the other on the opposite side of the room by the nightstand.
With my wits slowly shaking off my lethargy, I began to remember I was in a hotel room (the generic paintings of flowers on the wall gave it away). But why? Noticing a rolled up document sitting on the kitchenette counter, I stumbled over to it, pain coursing through my spine with each step. Once at my destination, I unraveled the piece of tag board, hoping to unleash answers as to why I was in a mystery hotel room and, more importantly, why I didn’t remember a thing.
A concert poster for Baroness? Had I seen Baroness the night before? I had no memory. Not an image of the band in my head; not a song; not a note. But how could that be? As I inspected the poster closer, I spotted the text “Chaos in Tejas” at the top. Chaos in Tejas…Chaos in Tejas…CHAOS IN TEJAS! In an instant, I knew where I was, why I was there…yet I still had no clue as to how I got to the hotel room or how I got the poster. I had to retrace my steps starting with the afternoon before…
I arrived in Austin around four on that beautiful Saturday afternoon to attend shows at the weekend long hardcore/metal music festival Chaos in Tejas. I had gone by myself, although my friend Duhner was planning to meet me later. I started off at Beerland where I saw several small punk bands, none of which I remember much of. From there I remember heading to Lovejoy’s to imbibe some high quality beers before hitting the night shows. I’ve since talked to Duhn about this hazy night, and he informed me that he met me at Lovejoy’s. I guess we then went to Casino El Camino where we grabbed some burgers and beers.
Although the afternoon was a bit of a muddled recollection, I distinctly remember going to the Fucked Up show at the Mohawk that night. It goes without saying that I did quite a bit of drinking that afternoon, so I was primed and ready for the ruckus that Pink Eye and his band of merry guitarists had in store. Within the first minute of the first song, the lead singer was down in the crowd where he remained for the entirety of the show, leading us around like a pied-piper of hardcore. I was one of his rats, caught up in the madness and po-going around like I was still a crazy teenager. The beer had washed away any pretense, and the music had filled me with a mixture of adrenaline and primal energy that couldn’t be denied. I would later discover this video of the show that indeed supports my memory of being there (I’m the tall, bald, goofy looking dude in a green shirt):
So if I was at the Fucked Up show, and clearly recall the events of the performance, why didn’t I remember the Baroness show that I had a poster from? Once again, Duhn would later give me some hints as to what might have caused all the confusion. After the Fucked Up show, Duhn had to leave because he made the mistake of wearing flip-flops to a Fucked Up show (note to reader: never wear flip-flops to a Fucked Up show), and as a result, he got the toe nail on his big right toe ripped off clean. After standing in the back with me during the Dillinger Four show, nursing his injury, he informed me that he was going to head home due to his wound.
As he retold me this part of the night, which I had no recollection of, he remembered us discussing one other major piece of evidence – after Fucked Up, I kept telling him how my neck hurt from a crowd surfer cannon-balling into the back of my head. Had this been the cause of my memory loss? Had I received a hardcore concert concussion (the best kind)? Or was it all the beer I’d been gulping down the stave off the Texas heat that afternoon? Maybe it had been a combination of the two?
Whatever the case, Duhn left town and I woke up in my hotel room on the other side of town with a Baroness poster on my counter. I obviously went to the show, and almost a year later, I’ve had bits of memory come back. In fact, I now do remember being at the Baroness show. Not their performance, but I do have one snippet of memory: me, sitting in the bleachers, staring blankly off into space and thinking, “Whoah…I’m out of it.” That’s all I’ve got. I still don’t even know if I saw Baroness, which would be a damn shame. As for how I got home, I’d like to believe I roamed aimlessly through the streets of Austin like Walter White in one of his fugue states, although I probably hailed a taxi and somehow managed to direct him to my hotel.
One may think this is sacrilegious, but that mystery poster hangs up on my wall with all of my other concert posters. While all the other posters bring back memories of incredible shows and hilarious moments, I keep this poster up in hopes that someday, just maybe, it will bring back memories from the show I don’t remember.