In my late arrival to the CO last night, I missed out on the punk show I had intended to attend. Lucky me though, I called an old high school acquaintance, Miss R, to make some plans. She is a punk rocker herself and is dating the guitarist in the band Larry and his Flask. They had a 'goodbye' show tonight before they leave to go on tour for two months. I agreed to come and the results were good.
Before I begin the storytelling, here is a nice tangent. I associate different types of music with different places I have lived. Redmond = Punk Rock. Salem = Hip Hop. Juneau = Bluegrass and Folk. Portland (though I haven't lived there) = Indie and Alternative. Germany = Club and Pop. I think maybe this is why I didn't really feel it when I saw the Bastards play at the Alaskan, not that I don't like some Punk, but I don't really associate it with the Juneau scene. Maybe that's why I couldn't follow through with seeing a Bluegrass band play in Central Oregon - it's Juneau's thing.
Anyway, the punk show: It took place at the house, a big house that at one time may have had some traditional charm, but is now a regular concert hall. Band posters and stickers cover most of the walls, a stage was built in the living room, and the place is littered with PBR cans and cigarette butts. I used to long to be a punk rocker in high school, I would have done anything but dye my hair, get piercings, tattoos, or wear too much eyeliner... okay, so maybe I wouldn't have done anything. When I ran into one of the old neighbors he stated that he didn't think I was into this kind of scene. My response was that I like the music, but I'm not as hardcore as any of the kids there. He interpreted this as more a jab at the intricate costume of the punk rock scene, but I was thinking more about how I stood on the sidelines rather than risking damage to my Seychelles flats or my Hobo purse. Either way, I stood out to an extent to both old friends and strangers - luckily, the people I like there are pretty forgiving when it comes to apparel and moshing. I have moshed in the past, but I was better equiped with my Chuck Taylors and some more disposable clothing. The welcome I received was interesting - there were people who remembered me and were happy to see me, hear what I was up to, share some of their lives, etc. Then there were people who didn't remember me or maybe thought I looked familiar - I got a 'hey' from the bassist of LAHF and some interested glances from some others. Then there were the people who didn't know me at all, I got mixed reactions; from attempts to get me 'more into the music' to not attention at all to being asked for my number and being told I was gorgeous.
Regarding the music and the show itself - I was there for three bands, N.F.F.U. from Boise, Larry and his Flask, and Grim's Beard - Grim's was a metal band, actually. The show, as all good punk shows are, was a bit wild, full of boisterous punk rockers and metalheads. Most of the living room was a pit, with those choosing to be less involved (read less bruised and bloody) lining the walls, filling the tiny kitchen, and lurking outside with cigarettes. I managed to frequent all three less involved locations at different times. I took some pictures of the show, which will be posted in tribute once I am back in Juneau and have my USB cable. Punk shows tend to get pretty rowdy, but if you haven't been around it much, you may not know that there is a punk rock etiquette. In the pit, you push, you shove, you jump and you get crazy, but if a punk rocker goes down, you help him or her right back up. People will get bruised, people will occasionally get bloody, but if you adhere to the code all is well. Some people did not adhere to the code and this resulted in at least one person getting kicked out and also one bottle being broken over one guy's head. Miss R was involved in breaking up a fight. The guy who got kicked out was said to have been a Nazi - cheers to kicking him out. The other guy was getting belligerent and apparently knocked around some guy's "lady" causing another guy to defend her. The musicians and the majority of the crowd were opposed to violence and though the bands may have joked about hating everyone, they expressed their love for the crowd very sincerely. Another amusing aspect of the night was that the mother of two of LAHF's band members showed up and requested to hear a song. Usually you don't think of anarchy loving punk rockers having wonderful relationships with their parents, but this was one of those tender moments that you can't help but appreciate. I was very impressed with the energy put forth by the musicians - they were all so into the music and they put on one of the most lively shows I've ever seen. There was something very primal about it, yet at the same time - they were playing good music. Perhaps one of the truest signs of good musicianship is if you can play good music while drunk and lurching around with passion for the music. I'd like to see an entire orchestra drunk and lurching - ha!
After the last band performed, most people convened outside for cigarettes and conversation. I am sure we were all speaking more loudly than usual because of the post-noise haze over everyone's head. My ears are still ringing. I ended up talking to some old friends outside and feeling a lot better about Redmond and its inhabitants. Mr. M invited me to go frisbee golfing on Saturday. Mr. D requested that I write him a letter in German - he doesn't speak German but we had a really good conversation about the role of language and foreign language specifically in American culture. This one kid who was drunk and waxing poetic about the effects of punk rock on one's soul (he even quoted an Eels song without knowing who he was quoting) introduced himself to me, repeatedly forgot my name, but told me in at least a handful of different ways how beautiful I am. I am always grateful for such compliments, but when he asked if I had a phone number I tried to gracefully avoid any such exchange. I told him I wasn't from here, that I lived in Alaska. His response? That he could move to Alaska... I told him I didn't have a number for him. I told him that I was kind of seeing someone (which may be kind of true, but I am unsure myself). Eventually I made my exit, saying goodbye to my friends and driving home to eventually let sleep catch up with me.
The photo to look forward to: The bassist for LAHF playing harmonica while another musically gifted sort reached from behind him to play his bass.
Viva la Punk Rock!