Radioactive Summer Part 5: The Best Show and the Worst Night

The convoy of cars, including a van that held the promoters and his friends and another that had The Cape of Good Hope on it, left El Salvador that morning and headed back to Guatemala City where The Electromagnetic Rays of Radiation and The Cape of Good Hope would be playing a huge community center that night.

The trek back to Guatemala from El Salvador was just as majestic as the drive the other way there; stopping at gas stations, stopping to take in that which was around us, and stopping to piss and shit along the way.

I did not know the promotional company traveling back with us very well. I may have met them briefly the night before in El Salvador, but X was the one who had been in communication with them leading up to the show.

Regardless, we made it back to Guatemala City and went right to the venue as people were already starting to hang out there before the show. It must have been three-four hours before anyone was scheduled to play, but these people did not care, they were just excited to hang out.

There were hundreds of people slowly filling in the inside of the community center with a lot of teenagers and young adults dressed in their best hardcore fashion spilling out into the outdoor hallway leading into the venue and directly right outside.

I remember seeing one guy, all tatted up with, “XXX” and “straight edge” written everywhere. He must have had something along the lines of straight edge tattooed, at least, ten times all over his body.

A paradox lies within that straight edge hardcore scene. You would think a bunch of sober abstinence people would be polite, like that in the setting of a church somewhere. However, most straight shows are filled with roided-out assholes that can’t dance and want to militantly push their ideals down your throat. Maybe everyone who is straight edge is pissed off because they have no release: i.e. no drugs and no sex.

As someone who was once straight edge, I can now say that drugs and sex are better/more fun/more enlightening/more entertaining than sobriety and masturbating, especially when in foreign countries.

But, I don’t hate. These cats were here to promote music, constructive expression, and camaraderie through the arts. At least, that is what I thought.

The show itself kicked ass-huge venue, huge crowds, and a great reaction following our set. I would shake hands with people who bought a shirt displaying my band’s name. And while there were linguistic transgressions between some of the fans and me, it didn’t matter. We were sharing an experience together and I was so thankful to be able to interact with and touch these people in some way through my music.

The Cape of Good Hope played a great, energetic set too. Their singer, Ian, stepped down from the stage to sing in the pit that was happening and they received such a great reaction, they played one of their bigger/more popular songs twice. I had never seen that before.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had closed down our merchandise booth and were outside of the venue simply hanging out and trying to have fluid conversations with people Ultraviolet and I were connecting to. However, I saw X and Infrared having an argument with the promoter.

I pulled Gabriel, who was there attending the show, to the side to ask him what was going on.

“That’s the promoter,” Gabe said. “Your guys are wanting money now and the promoter is getting pissed.”

Ultraviolet and I tried to interfere saying we had already agreed to not get paid, made a good amount of money from merchandise sales alone, and we were able to play with our friends in another American band; all good things.

However, Infrared would not let it go, stirring X up more saying to the promoter, “We just played this huge ass show for you. We deserve money from all the money you made.”

“You guys said you would do it for free,” the promoter refuted.

“Tu maldito payaso,” X yelled at the promoter.

I did not know what tu matildo payaso meant, but I saw the promoter throw the hood of his jacket over his head, put the phone to his ear, and walked away.

The next thing I saw was most of the neutral crowd scurrying and 10-15 guys, some without their shirts on, and most with tattoos covering their bodies walking out from the corner of a building and started heading our way. The promoter was nowhere in sight, yet the guy with “XXX” all over his fucking body was.

When they got close enough, one tried to throw a jab at Gabriel, who was trying to break up the initial argument, I blocked it allowing Gabe to run.

I then saw five guys coming directly for me.

One threw a haymaker, I ducked, and it broke the window behind me. Then, the five guys jumped me. They were kicking my back, my shoulders, and legs. I kept my face and vital organs covered.

As I was getting jumped, I saw the people from my band and people from The Cape of Good Hope running away. None of my friends were there to help me.

I remember closing my eyes and thinking to myself, “This will end soon. This has to end soon.”

I started realizing that there were fewer guys beating me up than before and I had a chance to lift my head just long enough to see other members of the group that jumped us shoving our merchandise, our equipment, and most importantly, all of our band funds into a trunk and the car driving off.

Anger, adrenaline, and frustration set in as I was able to stand up and fight off the two guys who were left there trying to beat me up.

One of the guys even said, “Fucking gringo,” as he tried a round-about kick that was popular in the hardcore scene but proved to be ineffectual as a waist-high martial arts move.

After jumping behind a bush to finally lose the two guys trying to beat me up, Karina’s cousin was there with her car and yelled at me to, “Get in!”

She drove me to a nearby gas station where all the members were. Everyone, including members from The Cape of Good Hope were pissed at Infrared.

“Is money that fucking important?” asked Ian to Infrared. “Watching your friends get beat up and you fucking running, was it worth it?”

Infrared said nothing.

All tried to apologize to me knowing they fled the scene and left me for dead. I went back to Karina’s house that night with the band, knowing that we had no money, no instruments, and no merchandise to go on.

The next morning, everyone tried to rally around the cause and throw us a benefit show in the hopes of raising our money and allowing us to continue on with our tour. We also went to the embassy for some stupid reason thinking we would be reimbursed in any way. I remember the official laughing in my face.

The tour was over as far as I was concerned. I was pissed, broke, and had little will to pursue let alone play in El Salvador the next night with the same fucking company that just mobbed us.

I, along with Ultraviolet, purchased two plane tickets back home that day and the Electromagnetic Rays of Radiation never played again.

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