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COC in Nottingham


(the thread could also be known as "In Which Jilly Gets Hammered and Meets Her Idols", since it's primarily about meeting them, and notsomuch about the show. heh.)

(oh, and it's long. Like, three posts. I ramble. Sorry.)

(and if some of the details are skewed, or just outright missing, blame the booze).

***

So…I’m still sleepy.

Apparently I’m too old for this !@#$. You’d think that at the tender age of 27, I’d be able to bounce right back after a night of loud music, drinking, and no sleep.

!@#$, no.

Ask me if it was worth it.

!@#$, yeah.

Shall I start from the beginning? Feel free to skip to the end if you get bored.

Sunday, Jan 22nd, 6pm. My best mate, Trish, and I, are working up a nice little buzz as we frantically cook dinner and pass a bottle of wine back and forth between us, while running all over her house trying to get ready so we’ll actually be able to leave on time for the gig. We are hindered by her housemate quizzing us on who we’re gonna be seeing:

“So…a band about Stinking something, some guys called Clutch, and… Cock?”

Sigh. “COC.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said. Cock.” Flatmate collapses into hysterical giggles.

“Do you see the heel? On my boot? I will plant that in your ass if you keep this up.”

Flatmate bites lip to keep from grinning.

The butterflies in my stomach intensify as I get a text from Bogle saying she and Gypsydal have just arrived, and we make plans to meet at the venue.

Cut to me, chugging Baileys from the bottle while trying to do the dishes, call a cab, and apply makeup. Multi-tasker extraordinaire.

Cab arrives, driver waits for us to tell him where we wanna go, and then waits a beat after we tell him we’re headed to Rock City, to see COC.

“So…you’re gonna see a band named Cock?”

Asshat. No tip for you.

Having warned Bogle that I’m wearing the pink Sugartits tee shirt, I don’t panic when somebody grabs my arm as I’m heading to the bar inside Rock City. It’s awesome to finally meet them. Getting the initial “sonicetofinallymeetyouinpersonI’msoexcitedtoseetheband!” hugs and greetings out of the way, Trish and I get some beers, and return to the main floor to find Bogle & Gypsy have snagged quite possibly the best…floorspace? Viewing area? “Seats”? In the whole place.

Front row, left side.

Right in front of Woody.

Or rather, it will be, once Stinking Lizaveta and Clutch are through.

An hour into the evening, and maybe twenty minutes into Clutch’s set, and I’m wondering if maybe my mom was onto something with the whole “please wear earplugs, Jill” thing. SL and Clutch are both brilliant, and very loud. Not having heard any of their music (either band) before, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that not only do I not mind it, but I actually like it. Clutch especially. Any front man who feels comfortable sharing his guitar with the crowd is pretty cool.

The last few songs of Clutch’s set have me staring off to the far side of the stage, watching for any sign of the COC guys. Mike Dean is the first one I spot, and then Pepper. Nearly knocking Trish over in my excitement, I point them out and she nods, laughing at how giddy I’m getting.

Set lists are laid out, and the one that will be at Woody’s feet is close enough for us to read. Similar, if not identical, to their other shows, the list includes (and probably not in this exact order) Paranoid Opioid, Diablo Blvd., Vote, Stonebreaker… I know Infinite War was in there because I remember Woody & Mike on vocals, Seven Days, Clean My Wounds, 13 Angels, and In the Arms of God was on the list, but not played.

They are brilliant, and energetic, and gracious and appreciative – Pepper repeatedly thanks everyone for coming out to see them after nearly a decade – and they are loud. There’s the kind of loud where you crank the stereo to its highest volume, and jump around the house headbanging, screaming along with the words, and then there’s the kind of live show loud where your entire body is vibrating from the sound, and your teeth rattle and you can feel your spine sort of jolt a little, and you wonder if you’ll ever be able to hear normally again. The first few bars of Paranoid are this kind of loud, and it puts a huge smile on my face, which stays put for the rest of the show.

The band is amazing. And I don’t say that lightly. The sound is killer, they’re full of energy, and while we’re too close to the stage to properly hear all the vocals, enough of it comes through that we can scream along (though it’s tricky to scream AND smile at the same time), but the very best part is that they all look like they’re having the best time up there. Woody stalks around his side of the stage with a huge grin, Pepper’s singing and laughing and dragging his poor guitar tech on stage repeatedly to tease him about his broken hand, Jason… is able to play blind, it would appear, as anytime I look at him all I see is hair, and Mike is off to the far side of the stage looking very intense but I do see a few smiles. And honestly, I’m spending most of the show staring straight ahead, or slightly to the right.

Aside from a minute or two near the beginning where Pep’s mic seems to be off (which leads him to wander over to Woody’s mic and yell ‘!@#$’ repeatedly…which is kinda hot) the set, to my untrained eyes and rapidly deteriorating ears, goes off without a hitch.

The last encore is skipped, and I’m later informed that it was (at least partially) because of Woody’s hand hurting (from being bitten the night before). But it doesn’t matter to the crowd because everyone is screaming and cheering and pumping their fists and nobody feels like the guys gave anything less than 100%.

And then the lights come on. And in, I swear, two minutes flat, the place is almost empty. Bogle & Gypsydal & Gypsy's bro, Heckler (real name Joe, thanks Bogle!) go to get their coats, and Trish informs me that on her last trip to the bar, she tripped and fell, and her knee has swollen up to about twice its normal size. She rings for a cab while I watch Bogle & Gypsy from across the room, wondering when a good time would be to ask about the backstage thing.

Beckoned over by Bogle, Trish and I head to the sound…booth? Box? Area? And all at the same time, a bouncer starts telling us to leave, Trish heads for the cab, and I’m jogging after the girls and Heckler to follow them… dun dun DUN…backstage...


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1/25/2006, 8:50 am Link to this post Send PM to Metalicious
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


Backstage turns out to be down a very steep & narrow staircase. The first person I see is one of the guys from Clutch. Bogle wanders away, and then I see her long arm extend from inside a doorway, and she does a little ‘c’mere’ gesture with her hand, so I try not to squeal, and follow her in.

It’s a small room, with purple chiffon-like material draped across the low ceiling rafters, and a narrow countertop littered with pizza boxes, JD bottles, containers of milk, and other debris. A couple of bar fridges underneath the counter house an assortment of Coors, Sol, Coke and water. A couch on one side of the room is occupied by two women and Pepper, who’s busy chatting to a girl wearing kickass boots that look like they might weigh more than me. Woody is in a chair beside them, and I watch in awe as Bogle leans nonchalantly against the counter, like we’ve just wandered into a room of our buddies and it’s no big deal. Which, I guess is true for her. I, on the other hand, am trying desperately not to pee my pants.

Gypsydal and Heckler take a seat on another couch, and I fumble with the zipper on my new COC hoodie, trying not to look too out of place. Pepper suddenly stands up and heads towards us, and Bogle takes the opportunity to introduce me. First as Jilly, and then, pointing at my tee shirt, as Sugartits. Having shaken his hand (yeah…I wanted to go for the hug but I really thought I might not let go after, thereby embarrassing us both), I watch as he crouches in front of the bar fridge and looks up at me, asking, “you want a beer, Jilly?”

Me, in my head, squealing with delight, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!”

Me, in real life, out loud, “Sure darlin’. What do you recommend?”

This earns me a grin and a bottle of Sol, and then he runs away to find a bottle opener. Woody looks up from his chair and smiles, and I look down at the floor so fast that I get whiplash. Pep returns with the bottle opener, I regain the ability to make eye contact with people, and watch as Woody puts gauze on his hand. He leaves shortly after this, is MIA for the rest of the night, and I curse myself for being a dork and not working up the balls to go over and say hi.

Taking a seat at the end of the couch, I sip my beer and listen to Pepper compliment the very pretty brunette beside him on her eyelashes, and then recount a story of how he used to get mistaken for a girl when he was about thirteen, with his long blonde hair and his pretty eyes. Age thirteen, maybe, but twenty-five years later, and nobody would mistake him for a woman (I still think the housekeeping lady in NY was on crack). Big, burly, he is decidedly male, the long eyelashes masked by his glasses.

Bogle and I go to pose for a picture, attempting to do the hold-our-arms-out-to-take-the-picture manoeuvre, and Pepper starts to take the camera. Shoving the camera at somebody else, we grab Pep to get him in the shot…

And it turns out I was right about the hugging thing, because as soon as my arm goes around him and the three of us squeeze together to mug for the camera, I don’t wanna let go. He’s just so damn solid and sturdy, and cuddly in his big black hoodie, and I think to myself that I could happily stay like this for, well, ever.

Mike Dean appears, briefly, and is all smiles and hugs and handshakes, and poses for some pictures with me, and I manage to get out the words “awesome show!” before drunkenly sinking down to the couch again.

Enter Jason.

While Stanton Moore did the drums on the album, Jason has been touring with the band the whole time, and I tug on his shirt and pester him with questions about touring with Disturbed, the UK vs the USA, and how he can see through all that hair when he’s drumming.

And also, to ask if his drum kit is really pink, or if it just looks that way under the lights.

Turns out it actually is pink. I’m positively gleeful once he tells me that, because even with all the hoodies and wrist cuffs and stupid tomboyish !@#$ I get up to, I do adore the colour pink. I go for a high five, and then stop him before our hands make contact, explaining that high fives are cooler if neither person actually looks at the other, but just swing our hands blindly, and try not to hit each other on the head.

Thus begins the first of many, many blind high fives of the night. And many, many accidental head smacks.

I look up at Bogle and see she’s got her coat on, and I start to panic a little that this is it, and now everybody’s gonna leave. Promising to see her and Gypsy in London, I settle back on the couch and wait to see what happens next.

Pepper mixing drinks is what happens next. He offers JD, and I (far too quickly) pipe up with “yes please!” and then watch in horror as he pours a generous portion of the stuff into a big cup, and I think for a second that he’s going to expect me to drink shots of it. He looks up, grinning, and asks if he should add some Coke.

“Uh huh,” I nod, relaxing a little.

He adds a shot of Coke to each cup, and suggests we all chug it back.

He could have said “I think you should snort it through your left nostril”, or “pour it into your eyeball” and I probably would have done it. The other two girls drink it normally, and I attempt to slam it back, choking as I swallow, and then blush from my toes up to the roots of my hair when he starts laughing.

The details of who’s coming and going start to blur, but at some point, Norris, the (and I’m sure I’m using the wrong term here) sound…tech…mixer…guy (?) comes in, and completely wins my heart by being the only person to repeatedly call me by my real name (“Sweet tits” seemed to stick, thanks Pep), and is also a descendant of the Acadians – a buncha people who got booted out of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick a couple hundred years ago, and were relocated to NOLA. He also has a goatee braid that I can’t seem to stop staring at, and I wonder how mad he’d get if I were to grab some scissors and cut it off.

The offer of another beer distracts me from the goatee, and I only get halfway through it before it’s announced that we’re heading out to the pub. Still amazed by the fact that I’m allowed to come along, I follow behind Jason up the stairs, thrilled that I’m gonna get to go on…The Bus.

Me: “The bus? I get to see the bus?”

Jason: “Yeah, for sure, c’mon.”

Me: “Really? I get to go on the bus?”

Jason: “Yup.”

Me: “Your bus. The tour bus? Really?”

Jason: “…yes.”

Me: “…wow…”

The back door to the venue opens, and I stop abruptly.

Me: “Bwahahahahahahaha! You guys have a pink bus!”

Jason: “…yup.”

Me: (still laughing) “You guys are so gay.”

Jason: Silence.

Me: (whispering) “Am I still invited?”


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1/25/2006, 8:51 am Link to this post Send PM to Metalicious
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


I follow him onto the bus, and immediately, a crowd of guys start throwing warnings at me about the smell, reasoning that sixteen guys in such a small space is bound to stink after a while, but I’m too drunk to take much notice, and once we’re upstairs, I forget all about the smell and wonder which bunk belongs to which guy.

And then a brilliant thought occurs to me.

“Let’s look for Woody!”

“Uh…no.”

Dammit.

We head back downstairs and I introduce myself to six crew members, quickly memorise their names (of which I can now only remember Mick, JP, Jim, James – and I might be making up the Jim one), and then follow Norris off the bus as we all head for the pub.

Or rather, pubs. As each one we go to is either closed, or closing.

We wind up walking behind a guy in a Down ‘Lifer’ hoodie, and Pepper comes up beside him, taps him on the shoulder and tells him his shirt is cool, and the guy just about falls over from shock, before recovering and congratulating the guys on a wicked show.

We finally find a bar willing to serve one round before kicking us out again, and everybody grabs a pint or a bottle, and I’m once again impressed by the graciousness of the guys as they all profusely thank the bar staff for serving us so late at night.

Only managing to make it through half the pint in my hand before it’s time to leave, I walk back with Jason and Norris to the bus, and marvel at how warm my new hoodie is. It’s freezing outside and I’m all toasty. It doesn’t occur to me until the next day that I was probably too battered to feel much cold.

Settling into the upstairs ‘lounge’ on the bus, I’m introduced to more of the crew, and happily take part in the…smoking… but not before asking for instructions and making everyone swear not to laugh at me when I choke.

No dice.

Several hearty pats on the back later (and more blind high fiving) and I’m quite baked. Getting up to wander around the bus, I spot Mike at the other end, and nearly fall on my ass as I stumble over a large suitcase in the aisle.

“Hey! Mike Dean!”

Thud.

Once I’ve gracefully recovered, I invite myself into the tiny space where he’s sitting, and balance precariously on top of more luggage, asking dozens of (not particularly interesting OR smart) questions. A select few that I can remember include:

1. Do you guys wear earplugs?
2. What kind of dog do you and your wife have?
3. Where’d you get that kebab?
4. Where’s Woody?
5. So…do you guys wear earplugs?
6. How was touring with Disturbed?
7. North Carolina is on the coast? For real? Which coast?
8. That kebab looks really good. (to Jason: How come WE didn’t get a kebab?)

Sigh.

To his credit, Mike patiently answered every single question I asked, even when I’d already asked it four times, and didn’t laugh when I slid off the suitcases. He was very cool to talk to, and when 3 a.m. rolled around, he offered to keep chatting, but suggested that I do most of the talking, since he was getting tired.

Too sleepy and drunk to be very coherent, I say goodnight to him and Jason, and after briefly entertaining the thought of a final bunk-hunt for Woody, go to the lower part of the bus to find somebody who might be willing to find me a cab.

Seeing Norris talking to another one of the crew, I lean against the wall, bat my eyelashes and pout. “It’s really late and I gotta get going even though I’d rather stay on the bus and go to Leeds cause that’d be fun but Mike said I’m not allowed to drive the bus and Jason went to sleep and Mick doesn’t wanna leave the bus and I can’t find Woody and it’s really cold out and I have to go back to Trish’s house but I don’t know where I am so could you maybe please come outside with me and help me find a cab cause if I go by myself I’ll get lost or raped or pillaged or something.”

Apparently understanding my entire drunken ramble, he nods, escorts me outside, has me wait by the bus while he goes and has the longest pee EVER (apparently it’s against the rules to use the bus bathroom while it’s parked - I went in at one point, and had half the guys on the bus pounding on the door and yelling “don’t use ANY paper!” which was rather disconcerting), and then lets me lean against him as we leave the parking lot, with Pep & Co yelling catcalls after us.

Twenty minutes later.

Freezing cold, shivering in my hoodie and huddled next to Norris while still trying to walk without falling, I look behind us and see two scary looking guys a few steps back.

“So…that fight the other night. How’d that start?”

“Ah, some guys bein’ dicks…”

“But you guys handled yourselves right? You were okay? You’re strong? You could beat up two guys at once if you had to?”

That’ll be the pot paranoia settling in.

Ten minutes later.

“Maybe I should just come to Leeds.”

God knows how many minutes later.

“Do you even know where we are anymore? Or how to get back to the bus?”

“…no.” Brief pause. “Wanna come to London?”

We finally stumble upon a cab – literally, almost running into it – and jump in, where I promptly lean back against the seat and attempt to sleep. Arriving at Rock City, I jump out, hug Norris goodbye, and stare longingly at the pink bus as I get back in the cab and drive away.

Trish is awake when I get in, and I try to whisper when telling her about my night, but can’t hear myself over the ringing in my ears, so have to settle for talking quietly, and I collapse in bed with my hoodie still on.

Three hours later.

“!@#$.”

No sleep. Still drunk. Can’t hear. Must get up and get on train and get back to London.

The train is delayed, it’s freezing cold outside as I walk back from Kings Cross, and I know I’m gonna be unable to nap between getting home and getting to work. I settle for showering, putting on fresh clothes, except for the hoodie, and arrive at work slightly before two, with a big grin still on my face.

“How was cock?” asks BMR (the boss).

“!@#$ brilliant. And it’s COC, you mofo.”

I flash him the horns and settle in at my desk, and start counting the hours til Sunday.



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1/25/2006, 8:51 am Link to this post Send PM to Metalicious
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


[sign in to see URL]!!!

That is sooooooo !@#$ awesome. I'm so happy that you had a wonderful drunk night with the BOY'S FROM COC!!!!

Now? I'm really jelous. I mean that honestly. OH god. You are the lukiest girl I know.

Did you have backstage passes????

Can you scan the pics?

Norris? CUTE!

The Jason thing? the High thing? is so funny! And you? are the funniest girl I ever seen who is drunk. REally. I mean you can babble, huh? I think that is so sweet.

Sunday is a show? again? Do you go?

Question do you know the tour dates from europe? Do you know if they come to germany or AUstria?

I'm writing much? Well YES, because I'm so excited for ya.

 emoticon

Fantastic, babe!!!

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1/25/2006, 9:33 am Link to this post Send Email to BangThatHead   Send PM to BangThatHead
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


LMAO. You're the cutest.

No backstage 'passes', but Bogle (Ann, from the COC boards, who posts here too) and Gypsydal and her bro know the band from their last UK tour (9 years ago) and have been going to most of the shows on this tour, so they were able to get us back there. Without them, I'd have had to leave right after the show!

The guys fly back to the states next week, and I don't know of any plans to tour Europe, but you never know! Maybe they'll get on the plane and suddenly decide to go east instead of west. emoticon

I've got pictures, but I've gotta wait for Trish to send them to me, as they're all on her digital.


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1/25/2006, 9:40 am Link to this post Send PM to Metalicious
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


Ah, so no east shows. And I was so excited now that they maybe come. lol But that what I read from you, made me almost be there because you wrote that so.. uhm.. jillying?!

 emoticon again for ya. Still speechless.

But you said that sunday is a show again right? Do you go? Backstage again? Sorry I'm so noisy. emoticon

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1/25/2006, 9:46 am Link to this post Send Email to BangThatHead   Send PM to BangThatHead
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


 emoticon I dunno. It's not that likely because London will be a much bigger show (I think), but I'd like to! There'll be a bunch of people from the COC board there too, which should be pretty cool.



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Re: COC in Nottingham


Alrighty.. well, I know you'll have a great time again. I'm 100 % sure! Dude, if I had no work, I would fly to London..

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1/25/2006, 9:55 am Link to this post Send Email to BangThatHead   Send PM to BangThatHead
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


I started out tying "Awesome review!" & then I realized that it doesn't quite cut it.

There are no words really. emoticon I'm so happy for you dude.

Fingers crossed for a repeat performance in London.

---
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1/25/2006, 11:10 am Link to this post Send Email to Petalouda8   Send PM to Petalouda8
 
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Re: COC in Nottingham


Thanks, lovah. I feel I may have to wear the other tee shirt - Crabs in Louisiana - this time. "My friend Anna gave me [sign in to see URL], have you guys even been to Utah?"

 emoticon


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