The Energy The Backroom at The Mink July 15, 2011
Houston punk ambassadors The Energy's set on Friday night was an inside joke that the crowd wasn't in on, which made it even more appealing for Aftermath. Singer Arthur Bates was all smiles as he announced between stifled chuckles, "This set is dedicated to the master chef Merrill Howard Kalin, who passed away three years ago."
As some of the crowd began to giggle, detecting a potential practical joke, drummer Josh Wolf kept them in check, heatedly adding, "Hey. It's not fucking funny...he was our mentor."
The late Kalin was an Illinois chef who had a public-access show in the '90s. The name might sound familiar because his show became a meme in 2004. Aftermath hadn't yet mastered the Internet in the mid-2000s, so we didn't recognize the reference.
We later found out that Kalin wasn't exactly the master chef we thought he was. He was actually just a fun, positive guy who liked to cook at an intermediate level. His claims to fame were his guttural catchphrases and awkward celebrity impressions during the drawn-out on-air conversations he had with himself. The Energy stuck by their dedication and used some of Kalin's catchphrases as introductions to each song.
"MMMM-MM!!! Licking good chicken!"
iceage had played an intense set prior to The Energy, so our initial theory was that the crowd may have weakened from moshing and hanging from the ceiling. Bates finished writing the set list - which he verbally regretted later - and got comfortable, unbuttoning his shirt with a beer in hand. The band played a few cuts from their second album, Get Split and the audience slowly started to dance around us, shaking their fists at the guitar solos.
A friend of ours told us about an ethnographic study he'd done on concert crowds and interaction based on where they stood. He mentioned that interactivity is the highest in the front zone, and that people in the music business usually gravitated toward the back for networking. Aftermath was in the front row, and didn't even feel so much as a shove until four songs into the set.
The chant anthem "Girls Don't Like Me at All" from The Energy's First Album seemed to be the cue for the crowd's second-wind. Aftermath fell face flat against the stage as young fans shoved each other around, helping one another take turns doing pull-ups from the rafters like a punk jungle gym.
It was at this point that we decided to leave our zone and watch what The Energy had created. We welcomed the macabre, suicidal lyrics of an abridged version of "Destroy Imagination" as they ended their set to a massive circle of sweaty heathens who were glad to have stuck around for the rest of the night.
Personal Bias: MMMM-MM! Licking good chicken!
The Crowd: There was a trio of kids who looked like they were in middle school. They introduced themselves to every member of all three bands. Hell yeah.
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Overheard In the Crowd: We're not sure, we were standing too close to the speaker. Actually, we still can't hear much.
Random Notebook Dump: Still listening to "Part-Bitch."