In Helll!

I’ve just arrived at Fuel Rock Club in Cardiff. My son is on the bill in his new beat combo Meathog. Its one of those gigs with a thousand elaborate spidery names on a black poster. Names like Your Mission is Blood, Chlamydia and Vlad the Inhaler. But you cant read the names because they are so spidery.

I have earplugs in.

I’m not really a fan of this type of music but I’m trying. Every band contains pale faced boys my son’s age, including a distant looking bassist, a tiny but enthusiastic drummer, sometimes female, a lead singer/guitarist with a high screechy voice and a frightening bloke covered in facial piercings who sings the same words at the same time as the screeching one but in the gravelly mutter of a mutant zombie trying to take over the earth.

I’ll be honest, the last few years since Annie died I haven’t been out much, at all in fact. I mean well there was coronavirus for one thing. And also the despair.

To quote the gravelly voiced Zombie in Dull Throb, who are currently performing, “Four years chained in a darkened room, only rats for company in the gloom, facing up to my certain doom in HELLLLLLLLL”. Well yes, after a manner of speaking.

Apart from the barmaid who is about 40, no one in the place is anywhere near my age and my idea of a rock n roll goer is very much locked into a mild, middle-aged britpop look. I hadn’t exactly “hoped to get away with it” but I’m a bit taken aback when the barmaid says “Come to see your son play have you? Proud dad?”

She has a nice smile if your ignore her black lipstick and nose ring.

“That obvious?”…

“Fraid so, we get quite a few, Supergrass tee-shirts we call you”

I zip my Harrington jacket up quickly.

Meanwhile, the gravelly mutant Zombie in Armful of Teeth declares “Now re-awakened from my grave, my only fate to be your slave…… HELLLLLLLL”. I’m not sure about that but I do find her attractive.

“Do you think I should take my earplugs out?” I ask, amazed to find myself engaging in mild flirtation.

“I’d leave them in if I were you love” she smiles, “Leave the full experience for when your son’s on”.

Before the next band there is an announcement from the sound tech who doubles as a kind of disinterested compere.

“Meathog are sorry to tell their fans that they have split up over musical differences and won’t be performing”.

I try to find my son but he is clearly embarrassed by me and hides at the back packing up his bass before departing quickly. It’s enough that he saw I came.

That should be all there is to tell.

But. It’s now an hour later and I am right by the stage, on a promise with the barmaid, whose name I still don’t know but whose shift has finished. We are engaged in something called A Wall of Death! My earplugs lie discarded at the bar.

And, as the guttural Zombie guy from Headline band Enter Through The Backdoor says, “Now your life is over, a new one has begun, it is not impossible for you to have some fun… HEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!”