Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the 80s: hardcore

The first all-out punk show I ever saw was the Circle Jerks at the Rainbow. I went with my buddy Dave. There were something like five bands on the bill, but the only two other ones I remember were Peace Core and the Frantix.

The place was maybe half full, with most of the audience crowded down toward the front, in the space between the seats and the stage.

Dave and I stayed out of there. Every time a band kicked into a new number, the crowd started roiling like they were in a blender, everyone smashing into one another.

I can still see it, if you can believe that: the skinny lead singer of Peace Core leaning out over the edge of the stage, screaming into the microphone at the audience, while this great big fat skin head stood in the middle knocking down every poor bastard who got shoved toward him. One-man wrecking crew.

In my opinion, the Frantix were the best. The lead singer seemed positively insane. At one point, someone hurled a shoe up on the stage. He picked it up and examined it as if her were an ape, like he was trying to figure out if it was edible or something. And then he reared back and through the thing as hard as possible at some fan's head.

I was mesmerized. So much energy. And it seemed like a movement or something, that I, at that tender age of 15, could actually be a part of. I might not have had the guts or the muscle to dive into the mosh pit.

But I could start a fanzine if I wanted to, which I did. Or I could start a band, which I did. Or even become a concert promoter, which I tried to do.

Didn't matter if I had talent. In fact, talent was a shortcoming. All that mattered was the raw, violent, do-it-yourself, fuck-Ronald-Reagan energy of punk.

So long Waldorf! I'm hardcore now!!


Chuck said...

So weird, man -- that was my first hardcore show, too, and I met Nate there or we rode together or something. Neither of us was old enough to drive IIRC.

The Rainbow was a great venue -- saw so many great shows there. Hard to believe it's a Walgreens now!

elBryan said...

Repo man.