Group photo: Low Card, Blood Wizard and Heavy Wheels teams with everyone who came out. Photo: Katie Panzer
'Tis a golden sabbath morn when the Blood Wizards hit town. I've abandoned church early to pay visage to the weary travellers and have found myself at Raunch Records. Arriving first, I help myself to a European pressing of Metallica's Creeping Death EP, flip through some zines and wait. Within minutes a gaggle of dusty miscreants saunter in, carrying with them a mystic cloud of cig smoke, profanities and energy drinks. They ogle the T-shirts available (Cro-Mags, Bathory, Bastard), as boxes of products are hauled in.
I recognize a few from the Low Card ads: Jerry Gurney, Frank the Tank, Iceman and Jack Given. They mill around. Some razz each other, while others stare agape at Raunch's phenomenal product selection. They press flesh with Brad Collins, cop some goodies and the procession heads to Fairmont skatepark. I tuck my 12" under my arm and push down 21st South.
The park's already crawling with locals when I arrive, and if not for Sean "Magnethead" Collinson's (Lowcard, Strange Bird, Heavy Wheels) megaphone announcement of the Wizard's arrival, the magical crew might've merged into the site seamlessly. I post up on the side, scribbling half-thoughts in my yellow one-subject spiral.
Before I press pen to paper, Colin Brophy crushes a burly ollie to bertleman off the quarterpipe. From the corner of my eye, I catch Jerry Gurney, sporting a freshly purchased Impaled shirt, delicately avoid slamming over a loose dog running atop the bank. "This has been a heavy trip," grunts Magnethead into the megaphone. "No showers, no water." He promises some tricks and product for the kiddies, and I find out later that the nomadic crew slept in tents and tarp-dwellings the night before.
Frank the Tank, spellcasting hand wrapped in gauze, floats a pyramid ollie before a carving soaring a flyout on the quarter. Some commotion occurs in the bowl and I head over. Magnethead's gleefully wand-waving a Raunch deck on the high side, promising the first civilian to grind it ownership. The competition is sharp as "Punk Rock," "Raunch Hoodie," "Eminem" and "Orange Beanie" (affectionately nicknamed via megaphone) each schlepp their skateboard wares, pumping, slamming and leaving shards of human jerky on the flatbottom. Hope wanes when the young bucks continuously hang up on backside smiths, but a glimmer of deathless enthusiasm washes over Raunch Hoodie's face. He saltues his maker, murmurs an incantation and drops in. Amidst the megaphone screeches, cat calls and crowd claps, he clatters metal on metal to shouts of approval and secures his prize.
It seems the spirit of healthy dueling stirs everyone's nethers, and Magnethead offers a set of Heavy wheels to the best trick at the rail. Clad in a thematically appropriate Orlando Magic jersey and some sagging chinos, "Eminem" fast-fingers it with a buttery boardslide. Competition migrates back to the quarter ("Blood Wizard shirt for the best flyout!") and I study the throbbing skateboard wizardry enveloping the park.
Jerry Gurney frontside airs big style out of the bowl, high-flying the death-step, Frank the Tank slices a frontside boneless off the quarter and Butters layback disasters to unanimous crowd pleasure. Things are moving with frenzied heraldry as Lizard King shows up in a floppy straw hat and a laconic look.
The contest dissipates into a park-wide, wood-pushin' free for all and the afternoon sun begins lilting westward. I stroke my copy of Creeping Death and push home, abuzz and euphoric in the knowledge that my city's been bathed in the blood of the wizard. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
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