I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was a horror themed shoot was exactly what my portfolio lacked and my dark soul needed. I accepted the referral with little hesitation and even less information.
I pulled up to the small motel in Mesa, Arizona at exact start time of the event. Room 134 was where the magic was set to happen. I knocked on the door and was ushered in by a short, thin blonde who jokingly, but loudly announced, “No, it’s not porn!” as she quickly closed the door behind me.
Yes. These are my people! Finally!!! I’ve found you filthy, nasty ghouls!
The tiny room was already filled with an interesting cast of humans. Twins from The Shining were talking by the beds. A couch and table created a barrier separating the sleeping and living areas. On the table sat a severed head. On the couch was Norma Bates in skeletal form. Along side her was Wendy Torrance. He sat directly in front of the air conditioner in a black wig and came complete with a butcher knife and royal blue bath robe.
On Pins and Needles’s creator, Maggie Mater is currently on my Favorite Humans list. This event took an immense amount of planning. She had sessions broken up into blocks based on specific horror scenes. She had buckets and buckets of blood and props! Oh. My. Fucking. God. The props!
Best part is… This is just the first in a series of horror themed shoots that I have so eagerly begged to continue to participate in!
Joe’s Grotto is a good hour from my house without any Phoenix traffic at all. Today I’m straight off of an eight hours shift at my east valley clinic. That shaves about 20 minutes off my drive time, but adds an exhaustion factor as well as a set-time conflict. Both factors have kept me home in the past. But Ape is fucking fun to shoot.
I arrive at least two songs into Ape’s set. Singer, Zach True is spazing all over the main stage, already. His curly hair covers his face as his body contorts into demonic shapes. Drummer, Peter Mateynix is already shirt-less. There are already crushed PBR’s sprawled at their feet.
As I fumble to get my gear out, I hear a familiar howl, followed by a room-full of echoes. Fuck yes! I didn’t miss it! The bluesy punk song called Dr. Corbus is easily one of my favorites. And by the sound of the crowd, I’m not alone.
Sometimes all it takes is a howl and you’re hooked.
As Zach makes (what is most likely not his first) appearance in the pit, I make my way toward the front of the stage. It is there, where Paul Allan’s glee for his guitar resonates from. The goofy grin is hard to miss. These guys always have fucking fun! That’s the energy that draws you in. That’s the energy that makes them so much fun to photograph!
A quick take of the crowd solidifies my energy theory, while also warming my heart. These guys always bring punks and metal-heads together like one massive, drunken and dysfunctional family. Drinking With Pam shirts blend in with Best trucker hats. Sterling’s neon gives the pit some much needed color. PBR’s outnumber cocktails. Everyone is moving.
It’s a beautiful mixture of both musical and music-loving humans.
It’s not hard to see why Ape blurs the so-called “scene” lines. At one point they provoke the crowd into cheering for a Slayer cover only to be told that Ape “doesn’t do fucking covers”. Their dramatic douchery is quickly forgotten when they fade from Slayer into their own death metal masterpiece, honorably named, Outro, complete with vocals in the tune of growl, which perfectly compliments bassist, Chris Sheridan’s technical and precise playing. In contrast, their punk fueled anthem, “Beer song” is upbeat and interactive and inspires unity through common ground
Nothing like Slayer and beer to bring humans together.
The piercing blue wall and beer chugging gorilla mural sets the light-hearted and laid back vibe of the Time Out Lounge. The young blonde slashing about, screaming, “I’m not afraid to die” to an energetic, albeit thinly dispersed crowd, sets a much deeper and perfectly volatile scene.
Despite lacking in members, Exit Wound’s energy literally shook the walls and had humans of all ages engaged in their sporadic chaos for the entire duration of their hyperactive set. The duo brought damn near everyone in the venue out of their seats with an unexpected, intense and angst-fueled force that rivals some of the most experienced artists in the genre.
I’ve seen a lot of punk bands at this venue, but this is the first to literally pull the pit onto the stage, displacing the band, multiple times and providing an interactive experience as unique as it was loud.
Singer, Jordan Jameson’s angry lyrics are somewhat restrained, but the potential oozes at the seems. There’s stories there, it’s almost as if she’s just afraid to unleash them, fully. Drummer, Anthony Frey, has an obvious talent, intertwining punk and metal mid-song with a precision that is as enticing as it is confusing to the ears. Their search for a permanent bassist will only increase this band’s reach into the always expanding Phoenix punk/ hard core scene.
After listening to their Bandcamp, I’m intrigued enough to tell you to listen, as well. In typical hard-core / punk style, all three songs that are currently available are under three minutes long, filled to the brim with simple yet satisfying lyrics spewed over violent and intoxicating guitars and compositions that never stagnate.
The word consequence takes on such a negative connotation. It describes the final chain in the three-tier behavior model. The antecedent is the cause. The consequence is the effect. But, my delicate and spastic brain tends to associate consequence with bad, which isn’t always the case. So, in true Lisha fashion, I’ve decided to rebel against my own feelings and uncover the beauty that lies within ‘consequences’.
This blog is my new adventure. An adventure into the lives of people that I find fascinating. Arguments with humans who want to focus on the behavior rather than the antecedent have lead me to become intrigued with behaviors of the odd, unsettling, unkempt and misplaced.
Within the words you will read here, you will be challenged to view life from another perspective. You will be challenged to step out of your own head and into the thoughts and fears and experiences of others.
Into the Consequences of Chaos.