If you were somewhere in the vicinity, you might have seen me, briefly, somewhere in the midnight hour on the street, but you probably didn’t. Across from Neumos there were lots of people crowding outside a bar, spilling over the sidewalks, two cop cars with their lights on, forcing all the yellow cabs to go slowly around them. Some black-and-white film was being projected onto the bricks of the side of the building. Smokers were smoking, drunks were drunking, little hip groups of 3 or 4 walking quickly to wherever the action was. Wherever they were headed wasn’t going to be anywhere near as cool as where I had just been, and if you had indeed seen me walking back to my car, you would have taken in some librarian-looking chick in a deer shirt and red pants jumping into the air yelling “RAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!” and grinning hugely, very similar to the inebriated. Yet I was high on nothing but the free water kindly provided by Neumos, and the show I had just seen by Detroit garage-punk trio, the Gories.

After the usual pre-Neumos feast of delicious Via Tribunali pizza, I made it into the club in time to catch the last couple of songs by Haunted George, who is essentially this guy in the cowboy hat who lives in the California desert. He plays the guitar and drums at the same time, a skill I think I could never obtain even with much practice. I wish I would have seen his whole set because I totally like this. He reminded me of another favorite, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, without the Texan accent and insanity.

I decided after Haunted George finished that I wanted to leave the balcony and go to the floor for the Gories. The Gories make no-fi zombie go-go dance music, and I wanted the more immediate experience of being closer to the stage. I was happy to see the club floor filling up. This was the Gories’ very first time playing in Seattle, and indeed playing the West Coast at all, and you never know if people know about bands or not. I didn’t have to worry. Seattle was ALL FOR the Gories. Crowding up at the front of the stage were, of course, the photogs that stayed in town instead of going down to Portland for MFNW, some older guys who looked like New York City rock critics, a dude who was totally channeling Morrissey from 1989, rock grrls even shorter than me, the pretty woman behind me with the short black hair and beautiful smile who apologetically danced into me, the very tall dude with the beard and PBR who kindly let me stand front of him, and the dude in the little hat and the very long braided ponytail who kept whipping it on me as he danced. Pin that tail up next time, donkey, it hurt mah.

The Gories released their first work in 1987, having formed the year previously. None of the three – Mick Collins on guitar, Dan Kroha on guitar, and Peg O’Neill on two drums – had ever played an instrument before. Somehow these three were able to, by accident or design, channel the very grimy greasy gopher guts of rock n’ roll: the relentless pounding junglebeat, the ten-dollar Delta blues guitar missing two strings, the kid flailing away on his new Strat copy to “All Day and All of the Night” or “Loudmouth” or “Shake Appeal,” the pain and passion and craziness of Howlin’ Wolf-meets-The-Sonics vocals. They put out three great albums (one produced by the late Alex Chilton) and a bunch of singles, and broke up in the early ‘90s. Good fortune shone upon all of us who worship at the altar of Garage, and the Gories reformed in 2009, playing a few shows in the Midwest and Europe, and now out over hee-yah in 2010.

Not only do I love the Gories sound, I love their look. Isaac Hayes playing garage guitar:

A blonde Jughead from the Archies on the other garage guitar:

and Your Silent Mom From 1965 Who Never Ever Ever Takes Off Her Ray-Bans While Chain-Smoking In A Long Wood-Paneled Station Wagon In A Housecoat And Slippers on drums:

If you’d like to see what it was like down there in zombie go-go land from my point of view, you can watch this.

I decided pretty quickly this wasn’t going to be a night where I was going to get a bunch of photos – I wanted to MOVE, and moving simply doesn’t work out at all with a camera. I stayed on the floor with my fellow dancers, nodders, boppers, and freak-stylers until later on when the inevitable mosh pit drunken boors barged in like smelly runaway trains and harshed my groove and my sightline. Back to the balcony.

And at the encore, "Charm Bag"

All too soon, the Gories ended their set, and I truly wished they would have played another hour. I grabbed another cup of free water, left the club, and leapt straight up to the sky in pure joy.