How to Duke It Out at an Electric Six-Devil Driver Double Bill and Live to Tell the Story
"Visually, to me, this is the best show ever. I get to watch sports highlights with subtitles and a heavy metal show." -- Dick Valentine, lead singer of Electric Six
Courtesy the artist Sorry, Electric SIx, it's too hot here to wear suits
That quote, ladies and gents, might perfectly sum up the madness that occurred between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill on Sunday. A day that saw what amounted to a mini-metal music festival, featuring Whitechapel and Devil Driver on the outdoor stage, a bar packed with U.S. Men's National team supporters during the World Cup match, and finally, Yip Deceiver and Electric Six playing supposedly the last show ever on the indoor stage. It was exhausting, exhilarating and a testament to the limitless energy of the Gas Monkey Bar staff. Here's how the day went.
5 pm: The 1986 cult classic documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot shows what it was like to be amongst the fans and their cars before a Judas Priest concert in Maryland back in the day. It's a little weird to be basically reliving the short in an industrial part of Dallas 28 years later surrounded by chain restaurants and Harleys, but here I am being offered a hit from a joint by a dude with a mohawk while trying to make it into the bar in time for the World Cup match. The mini metal fest that's to go on the outside stage starts in an hour and these people scattered around the parking lot are ready. Hell, they've been here, and ready, for hours.
5:12: The Gas Monkey Bar & Grill is an extension of the Gas Monkey Garage, owned by Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman, which is featured on the Discovery Channel show Fast 'N' Loud. Something about the Gas Monkey causes male fans of the show to turn into One Directioners: They get overtly excited, tell stories about Richard Rawlings and practically squeal when they're told they can transfer their gift shop purchases to their bar tabs.
This is proven by the couple sitting next to me, a guy talking a mile-a-minute and his progressively more annoyed girlfriend. They're friendly as hell and happy to be there, but I almost buy the dude a shot to try and calm him down. There are 5-year-olds on sugar binges who just met Mickey Mouse at Disneyland that are calmer.
5:20: Two Electric Six fans sit next to me during the World Cup game, eating and drinking, not caring that the band they want to see doesn't play for five hours. These dudes make the parking lot crews look like amateurs.
5:45: USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard is a god.
6 p.m.: The Electric Six drummer sports a Buckee's tank top while sound checking on the inside stage, which features a giant Texas sign. He's sitting directly under it, and considering how beloved the Texas-based truck stop is, it's a weirdly iconic sight.
6:20: When the USMNT scores their first goal in the 62nd minute of the match a "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chant fills the bar. Outside on the stage a guitarist spins his hair franticly; the fans outside have little care for what's going on in the bar. People in the bar can't help but get caught up in the fervor.
6:25: Heavy metal fans, though for the most part slightly overweight, black shirted and prone to turning whatever venue they're in into an oven, give zero fucks about the humidity. They're packed in front of the outdoor stage, directly in the sunlight. They're thrashing and singing along with the shirtless guy onstage. Even the people who bought premium VIP entry and are standing on a overhanging deck are ignoring the heat and singing along. That's dedication you just don't see from most fan bases. I'm pretty sure half the crowd at a Neutral Milk Hotel show would be in the emergency room if the venue temperature rose above 75 degrees.
6:43: Clint Dempsey just scored a go-ahead goal with his dick. Well it was really his torso, but all of Twitter has decided it was his dick, so I'll go with that. It's a little nuts in the bar at the moment.
6:52: USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard is no longer a god.
7:15: There's a crew of people in blue blazers representing Bud Light's "Whatever" campaign here. They grab you, make you sign a release, give you a beer, and then make you watch a video and talk to it. I would kill for this footage, as the people in front of and behind me consist of a bro, a drunk girl, three metal dudes, some 50-something bikers and three guys who look like they went all eight seconds at the rodeo earlier in the day.
7:45: A promo crew for Captain Morgan White Rum shows up to pass out shots. Needless to say, the soccer fans and the metal fans line up to grab as many of these as possible. The highlight of this all is the icy exchange they share with the Bud Light girl; I immediately start penning a version of Mean Girls set in the cutthroat world of bar promo workers.
8:20: Overheard while in the restroom: "I drove five hours just to see Whitechapel, bro. This is the whole reason for my vacation. I mean it's a family thing as well; my kids are having fun seeing my parents. But this, this is it for me." This is the saddest conversation I have ever witnessed while holding my own penis.
9:10: Pretty sure that guy wasn't the only one who drove in for this Whitechapel set. The outdoor stage area is packed with people. It's sweltering and no one cares. People are politely moshing and dancing along to the music but also trying to not violate the venue's rules. Don't ever let it be said that metal fans aren't considerate.
9:45: To say that chaos reigns inside the Gas Monkey would be the understatement of the year. Inside, Yip Deceiver are setting up to play; outside, Devil Driver set up. Both inside and out the merch tables are overrun by fans, and on top of that the bar is slammed with people. Never stiff a bartender or waiter at this place -- they step up and work through crowds like this and do a hell of a job at it.
10:05: Some bands would be a little thrown off by the venue and the show going on outside, but not Yip Deceiver. They're here to sing, dance and try to have as much fun as possible. This is a band that almost caused a floor to cave in when they played 35 Denton in 2011 and they bring the exact same amount of effort to a room packed full of people who have never heard of them. You have got to respect that.
10:16: I slip outside to catch a bit of Devil Driver. It's loud, very, very loud. Dallas Observer web editor, sometimes music writer and all-around metal fan Gavin Cleaver would probably love it.
10:30: Yip Deceiver just finished their set with a dance-inducing version of Brenton Wood's "Give Me Some Kind of Sign." It was fantastic, and other than the Dempsey goal, the highlight of the day/night so far.
10:45: I have a short conversation with KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket's Mike Sirois who might just be the world's biggest Electric Six fan. He mentions how he would have been at the Majestic Theatre for Jeff Tweedy, but there's no way he'd miss an "E6" show.
11 p.m.: I spot a costumed gentleman who is frequently featured in Observer slideshows, including the St. Patrick's Day parade, the Santa Rampage and the DOMA showcases. His costume even puts the guy dressed as the Pope to shame.
11:20: Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine is charming in a sardonic way. Outfitted in a loose-fitting suit, he banters between songs telling jokes about traveling through Texas, how Beaumont is terrible, how they're honored to be the last band on the stage and how they have nine albums out, but want to make a 10th, so please go check out those nine albums, and maybe a shirt.
11:35: Listen, the Electric Six fans are singing along to every song, but even the metal fans and random bar patrons are singing along to "Gay Bar." Every band should be so lucky as to have a song cross over like that.
11:50: Valentine just brought up the guys from Yip Deceiver and combined they covered Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," complete with all three singers taking a chorus and a coordinated electric slide across the stage. Pretty sure nothing is topping that in Dallas anytime soon.
12:15 am: After thanking the staff at the bar along with Alex and Mike, the two guys who managed to pull off the madness of having a metal fest, a gaggle of soccer fans getting rowdy and the Electric Six show, I'm headed home. I just spent seven hours in a bar dedicated to the fame of reality television stars, who got to where they were by doing things bigger, badder and louder than anyone else. Seems like the people that work for them are determined to do the same.