Guest Post: Edgar Allen Poe’s Birthday Bash #3 by Michael Couling

Guest Post 1

While browsing Facebook I saw a post on the wall of Jesse Vance, owner of The Venture Compound. I noticed a long, well written article was posted. I contacted the author and decided that we should post it on Zero Warning.

Michael Couling started making beats in 2004 with his brother Tommy. They grew up in a small town in upper Michigan where the closest record store was three hours away. In 2011 they got connected with Jesse Vance and have since played 44 shows under the name Direwood.  They have recorded two full length albums and an EP which can be found at or streamed on soundcloud.

Show 44 brought us back to the familiar home base of the Venture Compound as host and head imagination engineer to head up the third annual “Edgar Allan Poe” birthday bash.

In celebration of the 206th birthday of my favorite American poet, I had my friend Adrienne Rain manifest a wonderful cake and we topped it with three birthday candles with that numbers I bought at Publicks.

Once again, the Seat of Your Pants production pulled the frying pan out of the fire. If you had a “backstage” pass for what goes through my mind the entire day of a concert I wonder what you would think? I am quite frankly quite a mess of emotions that resembles someone that might need adult supervision with the overload of stressing factors of setting up and coordinating events like this. It started early in the day when I watched my carefully constructed and planned lineup of seven poets and six acts start dropping like raven turds.

Indeed it seemed as the Red Death had started lopping acts off the bill as one by the poets that were featured were felled by migraines, colds and flu with 104 temps etc. Then the music acts started to fall. One at six cancelled just as I got ready to pack the car. One failed inside the venue when they had to bail for a family emergency leaving your host missing the first hour of his act.

So, we got to get a extended hypnotic stretched out ambient set that never bored or fell out of place from Tired Kingdom. These guys are the new type of “far out Kesey acid washed pranksters dripped in lysergy.”

This is the new 1967 and I have a front row seat.

Lilith followed and I sat transfixed as she wrapped her spell of Peter Murphy like wails and chants, also bringing the face paint and occult trappings of Jaz Coleman and Jarboe into one of the most cohesive and well played sets I’ve seen in quite some time. Brilliant. I can not wait to see her perform again.

The cake came out, party balloons were blown up and noise makers made the strange sounds of dying ducks in the kitchen as we all sang happy birthday off key and off tempo. A true moment.

A moment of poems from Wayne Williams and bassist Iatro called on the spur of the moment.

Smiles from the friends in the crowd, including my best friend from high school Jeff.

Direwood rocked the mic hard, played super solid, got all the cues spot on. We’ve become adept at this level. Sometimes I feel the pull of time and wonder if this is all it will ever be. Am I okay with that? No giant crowds of undulating adoration and groupies and ca-cane.

Not Motley Crue, But Tired Kingdom. Not Donkey Shows. Hell Garbage. Cake.

And a closing set of para theater from Whitey Alabastard closed the show. A contact mic, a table, scribbling on paper, coughing up fake blood that taste worst then real blood.

From the crazy person in his car singing “Would” by Alice in Chains so loud it was the only sound the air before anyone showed up. To the last screams and whispers of the the night as the fire built of trash warms the hands of the brave audience and players, all the same. No stage per say, no division exists between the acts and crowd. We are beyond gay or straight, man or woman, white or black, we are all the same. We are all very different.

I had a hard week this week. I lost a wonderful friend in a terrible accident. I didn’t want to celebrate death very much on Saturday night. Then I thought there is beauty even in death, even beyond death. Death does not pale beauty. In fact, when death takes a wonderful young one or dear friend from us, it only serves to enshrine and bring back the celebrated moments that make up a life worth living. I think Mr. Poe would understand that. I think Marc Atari was there too. I know he was there. I heard him in the wind. I heard him singing “Would” by Alice in Chains.

“Into the flood again,. Same old trip it was back then. So I made a big mistake. Try to see it was my way. Have I gone? Have I gone to far to get home? Have I gone? Left you here alone?