To Ohio and Back, Part II

Finding the Venue. That’s where we left off, and that’s where we’ll get started today.

Here’s the problem: the Great City of Columbus does not see fit to properly label their roads.1 Due to a lack of signage, I missed US 40. At one point, I stopped at a gas station for directions. The cashier looked at me like I was a raving mad man when I was asking for directions to US 40, or S. Central Ave, or Harrisburg Pike–any of the major roads that would have helped me out. There was one nice lady who seemed to know where I was going, but her directions seemed to involve a number of odd landmarks. Her instructions were also delivered in an unintelligible accent made no more comprehensible by her voice, which clearly had been ravaged by a lifetime of booze and cigarettes.

After riding up and down some main roads for a while, I was finally able to locate US 40, putting me back on course. Within short order I arrived at my target road: the Harrisburg Pike. The name of the venue for the show was Outland, and its website helpfully listed its address as 660 Harrisburg Pike2.

Where the Harrisburg Pike starts there are some old strip malls on either side of the road. Immediately afterwards, the number starts in the 700s and goes up. I figured that the venue must, oddly, be in one of these shopping mall structures. I ended up in pulling into the mall on the odd-numbered side of street first, but I was encouraged that I saw the numbers 651 and 693 and such in the windows, as I figured that I simply had to cross the street and head to the other strip mall.

Upon riding across the street however, the lot is empty. 90% of the storefronts appeared to be abandoned. I see a 640 and a 680 in windows, but no 660. There was a police officer parked in the lot, so I rode over to him and asked about this venue. Of course, he’d never heard of it, told me that there was definitely nothing going on here, and that I should probably leave so that I wasn’t trespassing.

Friendly guy.

I rode away from his car, and actually found a door marked 660. It was a beat up wooden door with a couple of old mailboxes hanging on it. It didn’t look encouraging. It was also locked. There was no sound coming from it and no doorbells in sight.

I briefly considered that the advertised Snog show was nothing but a plot to lure me into a crappy section of Columbus, so some thugs could beat me up and steal my precious motorcycle. Upon further reflection, this seemed like a far fetched plan. Still, I kept it in the back of my mind and got back on the bike.

On a whim, I decided to check the back of this building since I was definitely at 660 Harrisburg Pike. As I started down the weed choked alley-like area, I remembered the evil plot to bring me down, but I was determined to find Snog. I rounded a corner and there were many cars parked around the back. Many more than would make sense for an abandoned strip mall, anyway. I rode a little further and found a covered patio with folks smoking, and a banner that read Outland. I had found the venue.

I parked right in front of the ‘main’ door3 and headed into the building. It was about 9:40 PM. As I would later find out, Outland is located in the stock room of a former supermarket. It is also a Total Dive. The venue was pretty sizable, though, with 3 separate rooms: the main room, a video game arcade, and a billiards room. Additionally, there was the aforementioned smoker’s patio, as Columbus is a no-smoking-indoors kind of place.

As I walked around, it became obvious that none of the bands had yet played. For some reason, the start of the show had been pushed back to 10 PM. While I was waiting, I checked out the bar. The selection would have been great… if I had no taste whatsoever. It had been a long day, however, so I made do with the best beer they had available: <shudder>Heineken.</shudder>

The crowd was rather small. Maybe about 100 or so people were milling around. A few loops around the venue confirmed that I knew no one in attendance. One friendly guy did start a conversation with me, though. He was a tall, skinny guy in his early 20s or so. He introduced himself to me as “The Vampire Damien” and started by bragging that he and his friends had traveled all the way to Columbus from Cincinnati. After quickly exiting that conversation, I was accosted by a drunk girl who asked, “Do you want to be my boyfriend? Mine left me tonight.” And then she vomited on the floor right in front of me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to mingle with the locals for too long before the first of the bands started. First on the line up: Movement & Effect. As it turns out, this act was just one woman who hit play on her sequencer and sang along. For the first song, she also strummed along on an electric guitar. The set dragged on for about 8 or 9 songs. While the music wasn’t terrible, it was pretty boring, and the set was much too long for an opening band, especially at a show that got underway two hours late.

After about fifteen minutes of equipment wrangling in between bands, the second act of the night, called Stygios, started their set. These guys were clearly local heroes, as the crowd were going nuts for them the whole way through. Me, I left the main room for the whole set. They were loud, distorted, sang insipid-sounding lyrics, and played poorly structured songs. That being said, I’m sure they’re all nice guys and are, of course, much better musicians than I am. They were, however, a poor choice to open for Snog.

Stygios was off the stage by about 11:50. Both opening bands played for at least 45 minutes each. By this point, it had been a very long day, but I was excited to finally get a chance to see Snog. For a while, though, it looked like I might not have that chance.

Something was wrong. Snog’s set up took about an hour and forty minutes. After getting their equipment set up on the stage, it appeared that they were having a problem between one of their midi-controllers and computer or synth module. For about an hour, there were many concerned faces on stage, and much shuffling around of keyboards to try to get things running. One of the keyboardists from Stygios even lent the band one of their keyboards, which was really cool of him. Eventually, Snog’s set up people got everything running in its original configuration.

Snog took the stage at just after 1:00 AM, and played a sixteen song set, not clearing off until just after 2:30 AM. The set list was roughly as follows4:

  1. Neighbour of the Beast
  2. King of Hate
  3. some new song
  4. some other new song, possibly Crash Crash
  5. Al Qaeda Is Your Best Friend
  6. Planet of Shit
  7. Don’t Go Down to the Woods Today
  8. Spermy Man
  9. Some classic Snog Song
  10. Late 20th Century Boy
  11. Corporate Slave
  12. Born to Be Mild
  13. Hooray
  14. The Human Germ
  15. Waiting
  16. The Prole Song

As you can see, the first 7 songs were all off of the new album. This worried me, because while the new album is OK, it’s definitely not the strongest offering my Mr. Thrussell and Co., and since the show started very late, I wasn’t sure for how long the band would be allowed to play. After song seven, however, Thurssell broke into his first of what I ended up calling his “atmospheric monologues”5 and declared that he would be taking the audience on a tour of the “EBM Museum”. He then proceeded to take the band into something very close to a “best of Snog” set.

As you can see, the band finished with “The Prole Song”. I thought it was a good way to end the night. This show was the last of Snog’s U.S. tour, and it was apparent that the band was having a good time performing.

After the band cleared the stage, I quickly made my way to the bike so that I could get back to the hotel. I wanted to get a good night’s sleep, but I also didn’t want to sleep in too late, as I had a day full of riding adventure ahead of me on Tuesday.

More on that in To Ohio and Back, Part III.


1See, back in 1924* some folks at the Federal level thought it’d be a great idea to start a numbered highway system. Why? Well, this would allow people to navigate great distances with out having to know the names of local roads, thus facilitating national travel. What a Crazy Idea! While crazy it may be, it’s a great system. The idiots in Columbus, though, don’t seem to realize this.

2The website did not, however, contain a very important piece of information about where the venue was located. You’ll see what I mean as you continue reading. Their website has since been updated.

3Hah! Parking! Bikes are so fucking cool.

4I didn’t take notes on the set list for this show, but I wrote these down when I got back to the hotel. It’s at least 80 – 85% right.

5 Man, that guy talked a lot throughout the second half of the set.

*Seriously kids, learn your history. If you want to know more about the US Highway System you can check out

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