Anthony Mehlhaff Photo—Gulch

Anthony Mehlhaff Photo Column—Gulch

Jul 17, 2021

Real Bay Shit. Gruel for The Beast as I swim in its stomach acid.

Amy (My wife): Do you have to go all the way to San Jose to see a fucking show? 
Me: Yes! My first show back has to be this fucking show!
Amy: Well, then get a hotel.

My wife agreed to me driving that glorious drive up the I-5 from L.A. to San Jose and she insisted on me getting a hotel? Slap me because I must be dreaming!

And it really felt like a fucking dream! A year and a half of avoiding all human contact. Watching venue after venue close; DIY spot after DIY spot disappear like a father who said they were just going to get some milk never to be seen from ever again. Depression, cabin fever, and boredom almost bled me dry. What a fucking baby. While people are losing their jobs, savings, homes, and family members, I’m whining about not being able to get kicked in the face by strangers at a show.

But like a tweaker who rides all night to collect enough cans just to get a taste of that harlot named Crystal, I was feenin’ and I needed a fix. The menu was a stacked DIY show that included Bay power houses Drain, Sunami and the band that was some what of an El Cucuy, Gulch. Any one of these bands is a headliner in their own right but to have all three on one ticket? GTF outta here! I met a couple that flew out from Florida! Yeah, Florida people are that fucking crazy and this show was the live music version of a Floridian power couple!

The crowd was estimated to be about three thousand people! At a fucking DIY show! It just shows the power of these bands’ community! That shit is solid as fuck! Scowl opened the show and brought a great, fun vibe that vanished the second Maya Over My Eyes played followed by what could only be described as, “the shit hitting the fucking fan.” And that fan just kept increasing in speed and volumes of shit!

I started to question my fitness of mind and body as Xibalba hit the stage and the bodies began to soar through the air like heavy, tattooed slabs of screaming beef boys and girls. Body after body landed on me. Elbows and knuckles. Shins and foreheads. Flesh connected and melted together like a congested Salvador Dali painting. Sunami brought chaos; Drain, mayhem; and by the time Gulch hit the stage—that the lead singer, Elliot literally built with his own hands—the patients had taken over the madhouse and the parking lot was pure bedlam.

Blood was spilled, fire works blasted, and I’m sure babies were later made. What an incredible show to witness. It was a show I won’t soon forget if ever. Mythical to those who didn’t go, magical to those that survived.

To grab this photo I had to risk it all. Look at it closely. Eat shit in the middle of the pit!

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