In which the band’s Ciaran
Daly yarns the lore and legend of crazy shits on big bikes.
BY CIARAN DALY
A Knight’s Tale: There’s a place in Minneapolis called The Hard Times Cafe on the West Bank which has its own body of lore and legend.
Crazy shit goes down there with alarming frequency, staff tell stories of
hauntings, there was a rumor it used to be a morgue, I could go on. If you need
vegan food at 4am it’s about
the only option in town and so a lot of touring bands end up going there, after
they load out at the end of the night. The food is great but like I said it is
the epicenter of crazy.
forget which show this was after, I think we may have been playing with a
Scandinavian band and they were all vegans or something but I remember leaving
and walking down the block with my friend Al. It’s late and I’m pretty beat at
this point and so I’m not entirely prepared for what I see next.
crazy shit happens on the street the first thing you notice is all the people
slowing down as they walk past, the ripples of attention from the epicenter. If
it’s really bad they move on, if it’s entertaining they’re drawn in. And people
are most certainly being drawn in. Lots of them, of all ages and walks of life.
A couple guys are tossing dice and laying bets on what is about to go down.
what is about to go down is this: about a block down and kitty corner from the
Hard Times there is a big parking lot for the U of M, not far from the college
radio station. In it, two crusty punk kids are facing each other across the
concrete expanse. They are about twenty feet up in the air, each of them,
mounted on enormously tall bikes made of composite welded frames. The biggest
tall bikes I have ever seen, and for a while there was a bit of a cult of these
bikes in these parts so I’ve seen quite a few of these monstrosities.
of these dudes is wearing any kind of protective gear whatsofuckingever, but
they are carrying lances. Yeah, read that again, I’m not kidding. Lances.
Somewhere, these two and their insane urban scavenger friends have found ten
foot lengths of pick pipe and wrapped the ends in what looks like about twenty
packets worth of saran wrap, so that they resemble giant Q-Tips. It is with
these weapons that the two of them clearly intend to joust, and settle what I
can only assume must be a fairly dire matter of honor, because getting knocked
off one of those things with a giant PVC dildo you are most certainly in for a
world of hurt. One of them is already bleeding from his elbow, fairly
word about the West Bank: it’s a fairly tough
neighborhood, as Minneapolis
neighborhoods go. It sits squarely on the border of multiple intersecting gang
territories, and people there are not the sorts to stand in the street and just
gawp at shit gratuitously. There are some hard faces in this crowd that bear
the marks of hard lives. But every last one of them is wearing a look of either
awe, or joy, or bemusement, or wonder, as they stare at these two combatants on
their high horses.
not sure what could have inspired this thing; I’m not sure I want to know. From
the looks of them maybe it involved the theft of some Refused vinyl, or the
custody of a badly starved dog. If it was the honor of a lady, she must have
been the hardcore Helen of Troy. But now the two of them are pretty much done
with the lazy pedaling in circles required to keep their bikes from tipping
over, and look like they are squaring off. One guy calls a taunt to the
bleeding guy, and he just smiles and starts pumping his skinny legs and drives
his steed at his enemy. All I can think is, May
he live to be a thousand.
faces of the crowd are beautiful. A haggard man in his sixties, maybe older, is
slowing down to watch as the two riders clash. All the weariness in him lifts
for a moment and a wide, gap toothed smile splits his grey-stubbled face. He
shakes his head as he catches my eye.
he says, “If I live to be a hundred years old, that is the most FUCKED UP
thing I will ever see.”
Minneapolis‘ Idle Hands
can be found at their MySpace page: www.myspace.com/theidlehands.
Their new album is out now on Pretty Kids Collective entitled The
Hearts We Broke On The Way To The Show and
they hope you love it madly.
[Photo Credit: Melissa Johnson]