So, we had every intention of making it to the Helmet show last night, but just couldn’t get our shit together. We did, however, figure out where all the cool stuff was.
We had dinner at a place with great service, great wine, great decor and horrible food. They did make an excellent dessert called strawberry soup. It was divine.
After dinner, we went down hundreds of steps, headed toward the river, and abt halfway down found a tiny little bar and stopped in for few beers. Sagras is the local draft beer of choice. It’s good, everyone has it on draft and my guess is it’s probably Portugal’s Budweiser. After about 4 pints, Mike and I were getting pretty silly. The bar advertised themselves as “Home of Poncha A—something”. I don’t know Portuguese, but it was made with “firewater” (liquor de cana), honey, and orange juice. We were stupid and brave enough to try it, which sent us tumbling toward our descent into madness.
We finished our beers after the poncha and continued downward. Down the stairs, and downward into insanity.
At the bottom, we crossed a huuuuuge shopping plaza, looked at some giant live seafood in tanks, preparing to die and ran into the river. It was nice, but it dark and it was a river and I was more interested in finding beer.
We wandered around for what seemed like an hour, totally lost, needing to pee until we found a comfortable looking Irish pub. Mike and I sat in the back, making up backstories for all the patrons, who were mostly young groups of friends.
Groups were trickling in and out the entire time. After several more pints of Sagras, I noticed a Helmet artist pass and said “Hey, Mike, that guy’s wearing a Helmet artist pass.” Mike peeked around and his eyes widened. “Holy shit, that’s Page Hamilton,” he said.
Mike is amazing and has never been one to let opportunities to meet his favorite people go, so he hopped right up and went over to him. The whole band was there! The entire band! Including their tour manager. They were excited to see other Americans and invited us over. We drank a few more pints and got to know one another, talking about music and New Orleans. They are all excellent dudes. Sweet, smart, funny. All the cool things you want the bands you like to be.
I don’t remember if the bar was closing or if someone suggested we go somewhere else, but we ended up walking around Lisbon looking for another bar. The tour manager made the smart move and ditched us for sleep. We stopped in the first place we saw and ended up in a discotheque. A discotheque. With Helmet, the punk metal band.
We drank there for another few hours and introduced the band to Jinje, which, looking back on it, was the only mistake we made last night. Jinje is a liqueur here that ppl can sip or shoot. We decided to shoot. I bought the introductory round, and I think each band member bought one after. Oh, we were messy, messy Americans. But, the place was pretty local and it’s exactly as you’d expect a European disco to be. Dark, neon, Eurotrashy. It was fantastic. At one point, I and all the members of Helmet were dancing to Billy Jean. We must have been there for hours. I don’t even remember leaving, but I do remember Page Hamilton inviting us to tonight’s show in Porto and putting us the guest list. The man is not only talented, smart and oh god incredibly super hot, he’s also nice and generous.
We couldn’t get or shit together to go to Porto, either. Though this time, us missing the Helmet show was entirely Helmet’s fault.
In fact, I’m never getting shitface, knee-walking drunk with Helmet ever again.
But, no matter how hungover we were today, we kept reminding each other that they had it worse. They had to get up, load into a van, drive to Porto and set up for a show there. Tonight, they have to be rock stars, and we only have to decide where to go for dinner. It is likely they are cursing us right back.