Joe’s Grotto is a good hour from my house without any Phoenix traffic at all. Today I’m straight off of an eight hours shift at my east valley clinic. That shaves about 20 minutes off my drive time, but adds an exhaustion factor as well as a set-time conflict. Both factors have kept me home in the past. But Ape is fucking fun to shoot.
I arrive at least two songs into Ape’s set. Singer, Zach True is spazing all over the main stage, already. His curly hair covers his face as his body contorts into demonic shapes. Drummer, Peter Mateynix is already shirt-less. There are already crushed PBR’s sprawled at their feet.
As I fumble to get my gear out, I hear a familiar howl, followed by a room-full of echoes. Fuck yes! I didn’t miss it! The bluesy punk song called Dr. Corbus is easily one of my favorites. And by the sound of the crowd, I’m not alone.
Sometimes all it takes is a howl and you’re hooked.
As Zach makes (what is most likely not his first) appearance in the pit, I make my way toward the front of the stage. It is there, where Paul Allan’s glee for his guitar resonates from. The goofy grin is hard to miss. These guys always have fucking fun! That’s the energy that draws you in. That’s the energy that makes them so much fun to photograph!
A quick take of the crowd solidifies my energy theory, while also warming my heart. These guys always bring punks and metal-heads together like one massive, drunken and dysfunctional family. Drinking With Pam shirts blend in with Best trucker hats. Sterling’s neon gives the pit some much needed color. PBR’s outnumber cocktails. Everyone is moving.
It’s a beautiful mixture of both musical and music-loving humans.
It’s not hard to see why Ape blurs the so-called “scene” lines. At one point they provoke the crowd into cheering for a Slayer cover only to be told that Ape “doesn’t do fucking covers”. Their dramatic douchery is quickly forgotten when they fade from Slayer into their own death metal masterpiece, honorably named, Outro, complete with vocals in the tune of growl, which perfectly compliments bassist, Chris Sheridan’s technical and precise playing. In contrast, their punk fueled anthem, “Beer song” is upbeat and interactive and inspires unity through common ground
Nothing like Slayer and beer to bring humans together.