I wasn’t going to post about this originally, but then it seemed like kind of such a “New York moment” -- if such things really exist anymore -- that I thought I’d give it a go.
I’ve written about my love of the strenuously silly black metal band Venom here a few times (notably here, here and most laboriously here). Suffice to say, they’re not for everyone, nor has their shtick aged especially well, despite having unwittingly inspired a nation of humorless Scandiweigians to behave unconscionably. But in the wake of the notoriety and accompanying infamy of the subgenre Venom spawned, their own shenanigans seem comparatively vaudevillian. Where once they arguably embodied a sonic extreme, they now seem downright accomplished, or at least when compared to their stylistic progeny.
Anyway, blah blah blah, enough ersatz-rock historian blather. An appreciation for Venom’s music – especially in 2017 -– is a relatively rare thing, so when I encounter someone versed in their cacophonous oeuvre, I usually light up like a demonic pinball machine.
Imagine my glee, then, upon my commute home, yesterday, when I spied an invocation of Newcastle’s favorite, infernally damned sons from across a busy West Broadway. Following a long day at the office, I was standing on the corner waiting for the light to change and glanced up to spot a guy on the far corner of the next block sporting a vintage Venom t-shirt. Not only was it a Venom shirt, though, it was a design from the At War with Satan era of the band (i.e. the album that served as my indoctrination). Every now and again, you might see someone sporting a Black Metal Venom shirt or one with the sleeve of Welcome to Hell on it (I have one of those), but – again, comparatively speaking – an authentic At War with Satan shirt is pretty rare (or it at least seemed rare until a Google search brought up any number of options wherein to procure a garment boasting that vintage design today). In any case, this fellow’s shirt looked pretty weathered and distressed, so I immediately assumed him to be a Venom lifer.
As I approached, I considered the idea of engaging him in conversation, maybe asking him if he was planning on seeing Venom Inc. (basically vocalist/bassist Cronos with some hired guns filling in for drummer Abaddon and guitarist Mantas) at the Gramercy Theater in September. But, as I got closer, the scenario sort of changed. I started noticing the context of his positioning on the corner, and he looked a bit more bedraggled as he came into full view.
He was hunched over a garbage can and zealously shoveling its contents into his mouth.