Weeks later I’m still feeling what happened at the Corpse Fortress.
I stopped by the house relatively early in the evening with my friend James. People were just starting to show up, so we decided to head into D.C. to a friend’s party. As we left, I started to experience the strange emotional cocktail of excitement, joy and depression that often hits me before a great house show.
In D.C. there was a man hunched over in the median hitting a tree with a giant stick. It looked like he would fit right in with the Coits. James and I stopped by the liquor store, where they gave him nasty looks. He had to pee, so I found him an abandoned building to go behind while I waited out front. It looked like he would fit right in with the Coits.
When we arrived at the party, I got drunk really quickly and James broke vegan for some shitty cake. We spoke with a resident about how there used to be coke parties at the house. The conversation wandered into my perennial obsession: relationship difficulties. There was also a guy who previously patented sex toys for a living. I passed my primo idea by him and he gave me the green light – no one’s done it yet.
After sobering up we drove back, pulling up just in time for Ilsa. We could hear Ilsa beginning their set as we walked down Philadelphia Avenue.
I ran up the driveway to the Fortress’ little basement window and peered in. It was packed. The energy was incredible, and it hit me right away that this was the best I had seen them play. I’ve seen them play a lot of times.
I watched through the portal as Orion read a curse on the house from a crumpled sheet of paper, and I decided I had to get in there.
I put my legs through the window and slid in, landing in a pile of grimy music gear. I stood a few feet from the band as the curse gave way to a song. Orion was smiling and everyone was sweating and moving as the air shook.
The sound was perfect at my spot by the PA and amps. For the first time I could hear the drums erupting from within Ilsa’s swamp of guitars as a mass of bodies spun in front of the band.
All the sounds were dirty, but they rang out clearly and resonantly. Ilsa was heavy as hell, but the energy in the room was ecstatic.
The basement was filled with joyful doom.
I only thought two words: holy fuck. Ilsa is a sexy band that plays sexy music.
After a long setup, the Coits needed a guitar. The one they got seemed out of tune, which added a cool Flipper vibe to their set. I’d seen them a month before, so I had some idea of what to expect. Musically, they sounded more psychotic and noisy, which was right up my alley.
Seth kept telling Simon, “turn up your guitar!” but the amp couldn’t go any louder, putting Simon in same sonic space as Garrett. Hearing the two guitar lines merged together seemed right.
To me, the “fuck it” effect the Coits might be going for is better achieved by sonic destruction, and they delivered. It was a killer sound.
The physical destruction didn’t even start until midway through the set. I’m a wuss, so this was a plus.
I loved hearing Seth yell “Silence!” at the band when they fucked around between songs. Frontman dominance cracks me up, whether it’s performance or not.
Seth’s singing voice has two notes, both of which I like, and he handed off the microphone to a girl who really destroyed it on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
The kids were all roughhousing, and I entered the pit for a minute. It says something that while I find activities such as setting off fireworks inside totally obnoxious and unnecessarily dangerous, I still savor the Coits experience.
My memories of the set are vivid and fragmented. In my head I’m always ready to run for the door or shield myself with another person.
Few punk bands push me outside my comfort zone.
Some bands try to be strange, others angry; I have no idea what the hell the Coits are trying to do.
It’s very easy for me to slip into the role of a cynical, detached observer at shows. The Coits make being cynical and detached fun.
I spent the rest of the evening talking to friends outside, enjoying the background music of wanton destruction in the street. A drunk guy kept talking about his penis. On Monday, I returned to my job and told my coworkers I “had a good weekend.”
Sorry to the Gift, the Deads, Midnight Eye, and Earthling. Wish I’d caught your sets.
By Ross Dot Com
(Editor’s note: Special thanks to BIG ZOM)