Day 1: A Tent Situation
I pry my crusted over eyelids open to see that my face is half submerged into a lake of beer presumably spilled the night before. A half smoked cigarette butt floats past as I slowly lift my head out of the muck. Across the tent I can see my illustrator curled into the foetal position, his leg twitches as he surely contemplates the nightmare and horror that is consciousness, I leave him in that slightly preferable state in between for a little while longer and crawl over to unzip the tent dragging a snail trail of beer sludge and empty cans along with me. Why are we here? Where exactly even is this? These are questions that need answers and quickly, deadlines and emails are slowly swimming back into my foggy mind. Boomtown? Is it that time again already? Didn’t we just file our last review? Well admittedly it was late, but it takes time to recover from this level of escapist debauchery, don’t they know the toll it takes on the good natured press they trick into attending? Oh god if this is Boomtown we’re in trouble, from the evidence piled up at my feet I can tell we’ve already been through a large portion of whatever supplies it is that we snuck in with us, which means more creative means of inebriation will have to take over from this point forward.
Day 12: Moonlit Monsters
We sit by moonlight in a disused, checker board wrestling ring, I lean back into the turnbuckle sipping on a mixture of smuggled rum and stolen coconut water. It’s composition reflecting perfectly the state of deviancy we have been chasing for most of the day. It’s either really late or obscenely early depending on how you label it, well past witching hour and no time for semantics. Boomtown still hums with the static electricity frequency of a town that never sleeps, the murmur of music and excited voices still pervades our ears as we try taking a moment for recuperation. We’re joined by a couple of fellow deviants who have joined our band of four making us six, we pass tinctures, potions and powders freely between us whilst recapping the day we’ve had, which bands we’ve seen and the various rabbit holes we’ve fallen into. These relative strangers feel like fast friends and we’re glued together on a mixture of chemical comradery and adrenaline. We might never meet again but for tonight at least we bare our soul and hearts allowing a glimpse into the beautiful beasts within.
Day 49: Carnival Of Creatures
It’s the Boomtown parade! Bleary eyed, still drunk and having not slept it’s extremely hard to separate fact and fiction at this point. Did we just witness a simian sex party? Is that a giant praying mantis hell bent on devouring our very souls? Can we possibly sustain any grasp on sanity if we follow this chaos carnival for much longer? We persevere because it’s our job too goddammit and at the snaking tail of this procession of perversion we are able to see the joy, terror and amusement these crazy costumed creatures disperse across the festival site. Lurking on the sidelines as they have for the entire weekend are groups of masked, shadowy figures, the visual reminder of the revolution that grasps at the pulsing heart of Boomtown this year. Jose Burrita’s iron grip of the town is slipping and the lifeblood bleeds onto the streets.
Day 52: Conversation Comes Naturally When You Speakeasy
In desperate need of a strong drink and an escape from the constant battery of boozed up citizenry we head to Mayfair Avenue and slip unseen into Charlie Brown’s Speakeasy via the store front facade. Shocked to hear that Charlie himself has been locked up by Mayor Burrita for crimes unknown we raise a glass of whiskey to the man himself and lose ourselves in the smokey haze of gambling, liquor and laughter. You’d expect with their magnanimous leader in the pen the Speakeasy crew would be vexed, planning a jailbreak of some sort. Yet it was business as usual it seems and only served to highlight how fickle and shallow the underworld can be, self medicated as it is on the art of escapism. Here’s to you Charlie, we’ll see you next year even if we have to break you out ourselves.
Day 66: Supernova Smile
Stumbling onto the streets of the Wild West district we are stopped in our tracks by a shamanic bassline. It hooks its still slapping fingers into our nose and we follow its beckoning call as if tugged by an invisible fishing line. We stagger into a stage erected haphazard in the corpse of what was once a barn, on the stage we lay our eyes on the source of this stuttering siren’s call. Mark Carew stands topless doing things to his double bass that should be reserved for wedlock, again we are gripped by an almost uncontrollable force that jitters and shakes our limbs into a spasmodic flailing that to an untrained eye might resemble something like dancing. The band take us on a rollercoaster ride through their rockin’n’rollin discography and we pay tribute in sweat and spilled beer as we juke’n’jive across the hay strewn dance floor. Towards the end of the set we stop and stand still. Staring into Carew’s cheshire grin, we sink, spiraling, sucked into this smile as we realise that we will never truly love anything as much as this man loves playing that double bass.
Even writing these words now I feel empty and worthless yet enthused and encouraged simultaneously, the static unchannelled frequency of this duality is something that can only be cured by further reckless abandon. We will spend the rest of Boomtown throwing ourselves viciously down rivers of revelry, live in the moment, live for today, because tomorrow may never come and Boomtown Chapter 9 is never near enough.
Words by Matt Miles
Art by Jason Bowles
Boomtown Chapter 9 tickets have now been released to the public, get em while they’re hot folks and we’ll see you next year.