We were driving with a purpose, but still not really getting anywhere. I was looking at my phone screen. Really concentrating on the blue dot that was us, and why the location I was looking for on that map wasn’t where it said it was in real life. Fucking technology, man.
There were six of us in a minivan, but this wasn’t a family vacation. Well, at least not in the conventional sense. Technically Pete and his brother were both there, and I consider Pete and Matt to be family, but that is about as close to a normal vacation as it was going to get. We were all trying to find “a door in the side of a hill” that was going to open up to what we hoped to be an insanely awesome concert experience.
The location was mostly a secret. The band, Murder by Death, had asked everyone who bought tickets to keep the location under wraps and not share any photos from the evening’s show on social media until Monday for the sake of secrecy. Ok, check. But suddenly it dawned on us that if we can’t find that fucking door, none of it really would matter. Urgency suddenly became a real thing since the show was supposed to start in like ten minutes.
Thankfully, Pete’s phone wasn’t a piece of shit and pulled up directions that actually led us to, gasp, a door in the side of a fucking hill. There were also two port-a-potties and a bunch of people smoking cigarettes outside that helped give it away. Regardless of whatever clues we needed to use to piece the mystery together, we finally knew we had arrived and were even able to get a good parking space nearby.
We made our way to the door and wandered down into the dark, damp cavern. It was all cobblestone, about 20-25 feet wide and about a hundred yards long, tops. The front entryway held the merch and a cloth that separated it from the main hall so light from the door opening and closing wouldn’t disturb the ambiance. We grabbed some beers for sale at the back of the chamber, high fived each other for actually making it and waited in anticipation for the band to start.
More people milled into the hall, and I spotted a few members of the band working their way toward what I could only assume was a stage. There was literally no other way for the band to get to the stage. One way in, one way out. We were about halfway to the stage and a sea of tall fucking dudes filled the space between us and the back. Two PA speakers poked up above the heads in the crowd, and strategically placed lights helped create a combination intimate and eerie atmosphere.
I heard the crackle of a guitar being plugged in, and then we heard the lead singer’s smooth baritone voice, “We’re going to play some slow songs that are good chamber songs to get you warmed up.” Game. Fucking. On. The venue sounded amazing. Just awesome. We sang, we danced, we chatted with some people around us and drank Tecate and PBR. Minimal weirdness aside from some people saying we were somehow talking too loud and they couldn’t hear the band over us. Snark ensued, and they weren’t to be heard from again the rest of the night. But seriously, how sensitive are your ears that you can’t hear a rock band in a fucking cave over some dudes talking?
The only real disappointment of the night was the fact that I thought the show was going to be in a literal cave with stalactites and stalagmites and the band didn’t somehow disturb a cache of bats that came swooping out of their resting places to my delight and, surely, some people’s terror. I guess all dreams can’t come true…