Hello, loyal reader! It has been a while, hasn’t it? Work has been so busy that I’ve had no time to, for example, write love letters to Danzig and pretend they are concert reviews. (Or to even check my personal email.) And so it’s been nearly a month since my last string of updates, in which punk rock defeated pneumonia, leaving me quite sleepy but nicely bemohawked. And yet I have managed to go to some shows since then! I am a miracle of nature.
trenchtown @ reggie’s, 2011-10-13
On a whim one lazy Thursday evening, I went down to Reggie’s to see Authority Zero, an Arizona skacore band. One of their support bands was a California reggae-heavy surf-punk band, Trenchtown, and while I am not exactly the world’s biggest reggae fan, I highly recommend that everyone go see this band when they come to your town. They are straight-up fun, and they do a thing at the end where everyone in the band plays the drums and they cover Kenny Rogers.
The next band covered “Maneater,” by Hall & Oates during their set, and I had a horrible moment of cognitive dissonance. I had two sisters growing up (I have more now, not fewer), and one of them liked punk rock and the other one liked “Maneater.” They shared a bedroom in the basement, the two sides separated by sheets hanging from the ceiling, and the turntable was in the middle. I wanted to smash the “Maneater” record into little bits. So that was weird.
And then, when Authority Zero came out, I decided to dance. I am not usually a dancer. I am a pogoer, a drunken swayer, a head bobber, a pit guarder, but rarely a dancer. It was the right call, but when I got tired I sat down and was suddenly very, very sad. I am still a little bit sad. I don’t know why. I thought: Maybe I don’t actually enjoy shows. Maybe I go to them because it’s something to do. Maybe I go alone not because I hate everyone, but because everyone hates me. Maybe I enjoy the pit because it’s safe and anonymous physical contact with other human beings that I don’t have to deal with or think about in any way.
So with THAT mindset, a few days later I found myself at a Mexican restaurant in Logan Square to see five punk bands I had never heard of. I was there on a hot tip from a guy I met on a sidewalk in San Diego before a Social Distortion show; he sends me to see his bands when they tour, and he is almost always right. In this case, the band was Sic Waiting. As you guys know, I prefer to get to shows when the doors open, but that really only applies to clubs. When you’re playing in a bar at 5pm on a Saturday, there is no need for me to be there when doors open, because then what happens is that when the first band starts, I am the only person in the room who isn’t in a band that is playing later. Awkward! And I had already had my fill of awkward interactions with musicians earlier that day, because I went to buy new glasses and they had a musician there who kept looking at me and, you know, there’s live music so I’m paying attention, but then suddenly the store was empty! It was just me and this sensitive boy with his guitar, asking what I was in the mood to hear! “…” is what I told him, and he totally delivered on that. I had to flee when he wasn’t looking so I didn’t end up offering to fund his next album or something.
Anyway. Back to Pancho’s, where the owner of the place is a dude named — surprise! — Pancho, who takes his host responsibilities very seriously. He turns off the lights between sets and does tricks. He keeps various and sundry percussion instruments behind the bar to bang on periodically. He breaks out his saxophone and hops onstage with the band. It’s actually a pretty nice little venue, small and loud but not particularly dubious or divey, and I’d probably go there more often if it weren’t such a pain in the ass to get to on public transit.
On this night, the bands were all fine and enjoyable and charming, but I was still in my weird mood and I was developing a nasty headache — probably due to the fact that the only substances I’d put in my body all day were alcohol based, seeing as how the people at the eyeglasses store kept handing me spiked punch — and so I put $10 in the band’s tip jar and took a CD and left. I didn’t stay long enough to tell the dudes I liked their set, say hi, or see the headliner. I just went home.
Since then: Henry Rollins (I didn’t throw up on him), The Damned (so much better than I’d hoped for), Frank Turner (with his band this time), Hugh Cornwell (with Clem Burke, probably best known as Blondie’s drummer, and spoiler: Clem Burke stole that show), and some books. I promise to tell you about those things very soon, now that I have a bit of time to breathe.