“Damnation Alley”

 First and foremost I'd like to thanks everyone involved with making BATTLEFEST (June 29th) a success. The professionalism and communication between bands in the promotion, organization and scheduling of events was nothing short of awe-inspiring. We're talkin' military precision. I will admit that I wasn't involved with Battlefest aside from being a performer but I saw how it was handled, and I saw everyone (bands, bar, fans) reap the benefits. If only every show could be ran at this level. But that's what I wanted to talk about today. I want to talk about an aspect of the venue that doesn't get the attention that it deserves. The back alley of Rickshaw Theater in Vancouver's East Hastings. A wondrous cocktail of scenery, scent and raw urban culture. The memories are still vivid.


The time was 5:15pm. Sweltering heat. Amber rays strike and scatter off the hood of Nickeltruck. Baking the rust blots on Iron Kingdom's van. Band members dispersed, everyone's got mirror shades that cover half their goddamn face. So goddamn hot. Can practically see the fumes whispering from rank, heaping trash in once-green dumpsters. Collective refuse waftin' scent on scent on scent, transcending “odour” into a nebulous force that permeates your pores and leaves a bit of itself in your sweat for days. Still better than another spin of Hevisarus or whatever other bands real people aren't listening to.


Motorbikes driven by Omega Crom against the fence, Riot's “Black Leather and Glittering Steel” blasts in my head. Some bizarre rubbernecked chongo-lookin’ guy with Skullcandy headphones and multiple layers of clothing eying them up and scribbling in a notepad. A ghost car pulles in next to him, keeps scribblin'. Band vehicles found homes in residential or lots ran under the Diamond Parking thumb. Ghost car remains, strangely unoccupied. Dave calls out, we're making a cold beer run. On the walk back to the venue, some dude sits in his parked car, windows down, “Child in Time” by Purple echoing down the block. I decide things could be much worse.


Walking back through the choking alley haze. Gaggle of wild, intractable women lounge on cinderblocks and eye up our 48 Kokanee longingly. They croon their siren’s songs and Dave replies “Party's at Rickshaw, ladies!”. We don't see them at the show. Ghost car has exited the scene but mystery chongo is still there, scribblin' away. I steal a glace at his paper pad. He's sketching the Crom bikes in red pencil crayon. I can't call it.


This is only a minute smack of the stunning impression that greeted me on my first visit to Rickshaw. I didn't even get to mention the rancid scumwater in rambling pools dotting the beaten asphalt. Nor the sordid clusters of used (I'm assuming) syringes and condoms scattered around steel doors and chain link fence posts. If hunting for the true spirit of the derelict is your calling, then you will have both your hands and schnoz full in the back alley of 254 E Hastings Street. As for the rest of you, pack your tents, 'cause next stop is Armstrong Metal Fest!


- Jeff


"...Of Conquest" Recording COMPLETED!

Recorded, mixed & mastered!

 Lübeck, Germany, Edmonton, Canada & Helsinki, Finland



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Scythia "Bear Claw Tavern" Sneak Peak

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