July 25, 2011
The last real punk show I went to was I think a Cripple Bastards show at a squat in Milan in 2001. It's been a while. But when I saw that Fucked Up were playing a short cab ride from my house, I decided to go by myself to experience them. I saw my financial adviser and hung out with a four year old before the show, which is pretty much the opposite of punk.
Trash Talk opened the set. They are a hardcore band from Sacramento who do the growly screamy thing. I was standing at the edge of the pit, and had just got my eight dollar Makers Mark and was about to take a sip when this big burly dude ran across the room and slammed into me, spilling my drink everywhere. At first I didn't understand what was happening. Why did that guy run into me? What's his problem? Then I remembered - riiiight, I'm at a punk show. Their were a handful of Trash Talk faithful doing their best to keep a ferocious pit going. The rest of the crowd backed off, which caused the lead singer to ask the moshers to drag people into the pit. I can appreciate Trash Talk's frustration with aloof SF crowds, but all I could think of was how uninviting a pit full of buff dudes hitting each other was. If I wanted to be surrounded by that many sweaty male bodies I'd go to a beer bust at the Midnight Sun. There was a nice moment at the end of their set when the singer said "I want you to rush the fucking bar as soon as this song starts! Those fuckers have just been standing there all night. Everyone rushed out of the path of harm. The singer also kept saying "If you know the words, help me the fuck out!" and then would proceed to sing songs that went "Blrallaawwrrrarrararrarar arjararrrraaaarrrra!!!!!!! Their fans dug it.
Fucked Up went on at 10:30. Three guitarists, a drummer, a (female) bassist, and Damien Abraham, a big, somewhat overweight, and very hairy dude. I've always liked him in interviews, and he was great that night. He came off as approachable, funny, and sincerely thankful that we were there. I watched the pit for the first song, realized that it was fully of other wimpy nerdy dudes, and decided, fuck it, I'm going in. So for only the second or third time of my life, I joined a mosh pit, pogoing and swinging into people and yelling into the mic when he raised it over the crowd. At one point he staged dived on me.
It was the most fun I've had at a show in years. It was so cathartic to be screaming and jumping along to the lyrics. When I listen to Fucked Up on my iPod on my way to work, I always want to start jumping up and down, and I got the opportunity to do so without looking like a tool. The crowd was friendly and into it, pulling me up when I fell, keeping stray feet from hitting peoples heads, and having a great time.
I left at 11:30 when they played their last song, missing the encore. I felt like I needed to get back home to sleep. One post script: I woke up the next morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck - my knee and hip and back were killing me. I ran six miles Sunday and felt great after. I pogoed for an hour Monday and felt like shit. What can I say, I'm an old, old man.
Here's them playing "The Other Shoe" live in Germany. A similar scene to what went on last night, only we were more lively. There was something really powerful to be screaming "We're dying on the inside!" along with a hundred other people.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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