Bottoming Out in Lonely Pits and Living It Up at Peak Summit: Lavos has One Hell of a Ride

By Ellis Trip

"Six-forty-six? ... Are you gonna have a ride at six-forty-six?"

When Lavos says this, I don't know what exactly it is I see in his eyes. I know his soul is in there somewhere. But there is no soul in what he just said, just confusion. And hurt, maybe ... yes, hurt ... Hurt and confusion.

We went to Jay's wedding earlier. There was a keg and dancing - and Lavos took in a lot of both. Junior and I are now trying our damnedest to get him up, from passed out and crumpled over in a bar on Frankfort Ave. and into my car. There is a whole crew of us - even a couple of folks came in from Florida for the wedding and they're now staying for the show.

We're trying to get everything in order so we can get our asses over to this year's October-fest installment of the Peak Summit Groove and Dance Festival - you know, the big hullabaloo held at the Bluegrass Brewing Co., Maier's Tavern, Gerstle's Place and Dutch's Tavern in St. Matthews. More than a dozen (mostly jam-) bands, a few DJs, art, food, beer ... four bars for seven bucks ... Agghhh! Hurry up! Let's go!

No such luck; it's not that easy. Lavos is down and out - total system failure. I call up the Toledo girl, who is supposed to meet us later at BBC and ask her if it's cool to leave one (1) passed-out Lavos on her futon. She, of course, agrees - she's great at helping people out and now is no time for her to deviate from her helpful nature.

It sounds simple, really. Pack Lavos into my car, drive him to the Toledo girl's house, hurry back to Peak Summit - then groove and dance until the morning sun blazes up the sky.

Nothing, my friend, is ever as simple as you plan it to be. And so is the case for tonight.

"Hey, Lavos ... Get up, man. You gotta be uncomfortable all passed-out there on that bar stool ... C'mon, we're gonna drive you over to the Toledo girl's so you can get-some-rest medicine."


"Whaddo you mean, dude?"

"Arzial-biaul, bah, uh ... Six-FORTY-six - BLAH!"

[I didn't know then and I do not know now what six-forty-six meant. Neither does Lavos. It goes to show you just how far gone my man Lavos was that night.]

Junior and I get our arms around him and help him outside. He then spills into the parking lot, like the many beers he had held earlier. WHAM! His head slams onto the hard black pavement. For more than a minute, I'm convinced that we'll all spend the rest of the night with Lavos in University Hospital's dull, cold emergency room instead of in the confines of the warm, cozy bars that house Peak Summit.

Lavos coughs, gags, then starts spewing up the green foamy stuff - one man's liver rejecting the beers of a thousand men's drinking binges. He is too toasted to hold his head up.

I've seen many drunk people in my life - many too drunk to hold down their dinner - but I have to say that, tonight, Lavos takes the cake: He is the drunkest person, ever.

Finally, I get him into the car and begin my drive from Frankfort Ave. to Highview, where the Toledo girl lives. I momentarily stop with the rest of the crew at BBC so they can get in. Lavos seems safe enough, so I figure it okay to leave him for a minute or two.

We walk up to will-call; I'm sure that I'm on the guest list. But I soon find out that I'm not. I ask around for Myron, the head honcho of the madness known as Peak Summit. He's AWOL. The girl at the door holding the guest list remembers me from the year before and finally agrees to take down my name and let me in, no charge, like she's supposed to.

I get my wristband and then return to my car to take Lavos to a safer spot to sleep.

It is quiet during my ride across Metro Louisville. Lavos lays hunched over and snoring, sorta riding shotgun, sorta pasted to my floorboard. I jam to Phish's "Picture of Nectar," probably their best studio work during the drive.

When we reach the Toledo girl's, Lavos suddenly raises from the dead. We let him shake out the cob-webs from his long and twisted night.

"You wanna go to Peak Summit, man?" I ask him.

"HELLL YEE-AH, DAWG!" he replies.

Lavos never says 'dawg.' Perhaps his fall on the concrete was making him say such gibberish.

Toledo girl makes the long drive back to the East End with Lavos riding up front near the heater vents, which he desperately needs. I sit in the back and try to get rid of my own cobwebs. Toledo girl had to drive. I had been her designated driver the night before; now she was returning the favor.

The time we spent handling Lavos during his darkest (and drunkest) hour caused us to miss Sativa Gumbo and Bloom Street, two of the better bands at the show - both played early. But having Lavos make it to the show - walking on his own - is well worth the trade.


We get to see a few new acts instead. Nashville-based Spooky Johnson is ripping up Maier's when we enter. Two keyboards, a turntable and a platoon of percussion instruments and special effects set off a dangerous mix of liquid new-wave and bob-your-F'ing-head funk. These guys are hot. I saw the devil ask them for a light and I'm pretty sure he ran off like Richard Pryor with his hair aflame.

We tried to make it to Dutch's for Green Genes but, let's put it this way, the door-man wasn't pleased with one of our crew-member's lack of ID.

Peace in the Jones was nice, what little I got to see - and their set brings up a good transition. I don't know how the hell it happened but, from my vantage-point, The Rolling Stones dominated in tribute songs. Peace ... did "Sympathy For the Devil," so did some other band - the fog known as hangover keeps me from recalling ... Hog Operation helped close out Maier's with a cover of "You Can't Always get what You Waw-ant," that included a heavy dose of banjo, in its set.

Hog Operation made the night a lot of fun, so did having the option of running outside and listening to an impromptu "All-Star" Jam Session, featuring members of different bands and hosted by Keith Hill.

Once again, I faithfully bow to the folks who produce Peak Summit and the art that makes it what it is. I still know of no single local music event with a peak that is higher than this one.

But on this night, the 4 a.m. stopping point seemed much too early. I guess it's my fault for showing up too late. If only the festival could've lasted until six-forty-six.