My colleague and I arrived at Dillon to find ourselves stuck in the agonizingly sober limbo of Purgatory. Happy hour, the barkeep told us, had ended twenty minutes earlier, but Brain Police wouldn’t begin their set for another three quarters of an hour. So we had plenty of time to nurse full-priced beers while soaking up the agro vibes bouncing off every claustrophobic wall and rustic column of the venue.
There was the drunk woman on the bench who sniped at my colleague for taking seats occupied by her “friends,” who were apparently on the longest smoking break in human history. There was the bar back who rode up on my ass with a full keg of beer as I was heading for the stairs. (Seriously mister, if you want me out of your way faster, have your boss open up the interior architecture of the building a little bit.) And then there were the three musclebound, tattooed skinheads glowering all over the dance floor as if they planned on turning it into their personal slaughterhouse for the evening.
The tension built, the temperature rose, the tide peaked, and then it all broke and washed back as Brain Police took the stage in front of an impossibly packed house. It’s hard to understand how rock’n’roll so fast and heavy can actually placate riled up human souls, but that’s just what happened as the band zipped through its first three songs, “Jacuzzi Suzy,” “Thunderbird” and the scorching “Rocket Fuel.” Like a taut line in the wind that suddenly finds itself with a bit of slack, the crowd swayed to the music. Moshing is sadly not possible in Dillon—the number of people who would be ground to a bloody pulp or lethally impaled on those support columns is difficult to imagine—but I could tell by the hungry looks on their faces that plenty of concert goers were at least thinking about it.
With the exception of “Beefheart” and “Mr. Dolly,” the band’s set list for the evening tended toward the hard and fast more than the melodic and bluesy. The noise came to a head when Brain Police launched into a cover of Slo Burn’s “Pilot The Dune,” at which point the crowd lost its shit. The energy in the room was so high, and the space for moshing so non-existent, that the contradiction threatened to bring the roof crashing down on all our heads. It was blissful, but uncomfortably so.
After a few more intervening tunes, the band closed out the night with their spacey standard, “Taste The Flower.” We all left our aggressions in a heap on the floor as we filed out into the night, tasting the flower in our heads all the way home.