Everyone had their arms around each other and seemed to give no fucks of anything occurring outside of that small venue.
During our set, I saw the owner of the bar, some tall guy from the Netherlands dancing with a pitcher in his hand rocking one of our shirts.
We had met such a great network of friends during our time in Guatemala. Gabe and Karina had been so hospitable and willing to let us into their circle of friends and that they knew in the punk/hardcore scene in Central America. So much so that the trip to El Salvador the next day acted more as a convoy taking us through lush forest areas and a demilitarized border patrol station.
Our passports were stamped and I was able to take in a new country again. We were all excited about El Salvador for a couple of additional reasons: the place that we were supposed to play had a solid reputation of putting on good shows for eager crowds and secondly, the Rays would be crossing paths with our friends in the U.S. hardcore band, The Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape of Good Hope was heading up from Panama to Mexico and then tour the United States while we had broken our tour up into three different legs. They said they got hassled for only having one-way tickets and had to assure airline and immigration officials that they were not planning on staying for any extended periods of time.
When arriving at the venue, I realized that it would be another energetic show as teenagers and young adults were already lining up and waiting outside. The venue itself looked like a cafeteria of some sorts that had all the tables and chairs pushed to one side in order for people to congregate and dance.
Sometimes shows stand out for other reasons other than fans singing your songs back to you or the amount of money you make from merchandise sales. This place was dark, dank, and ominous, but in a good way like a dive bar that plays objectively good songs a little too loudly and makes stiff drinks.
The sound sucked and the bathrooms were gross as fuck with stacks-on-stacks of doodie paper, but the energy was something else.
I would usually let X speak for us in the hopes of being able to sincerely express our gratitude when playing in Central America and in areas where Español was the predominant language, but this time I couldn’t help myself and had to thank the crowd that opened their arms to some random band from Orange County, California. I felt welcomed, I felt humbled, and, yet, felt exalted all at once.
We played a cover of Minor Threat’s “Filler” to close out our set and the crowd nearly lost their shit.
After the show was the only real bummer as no one had places big enough for all of us to crash at. I remember Ultraviolet and I were dropped off at this guy’s house that had two sofas in an otherwise vacant living room. His name and where we were in San Salvador unbeknownst to me. All I knew was my body fit on neither sofa and I was somehow able to fall asleep.
The next morning we were going to head back to Guatemala City to play a free show with our friends in The Cape of Good Hope. While we were not booked initially, we were later put on as a mutual favor with no guarantee in place by the Rays nor the promotional company who attended the convoy back to Guatemala City with us, but in a different van altogether.
Gabe and Karina said we should be wary of those cats that promoted the show as they may try to fuck us over in some way. We weren’t worried because we were both excited to go back to Guatemala and play an even bigger show with another band that had a draw like we did.