I've always assumed when growing up that every white, middle class suburban kid went through a Punk Rock phase in their lives. That assumption was put to rest by my girlfriend who has been dedicated to Cat Power and other depressing bands since she was introduced to music. The punk rock genre has always had a special place in my little heart. I remember after school and getting into Matt H's car and driving around listening to AFI (Asking For It not A Fire Inside), The Vandals, Donuts N' Glory and just hanging out at Denny's. I always swore that when I was an old guy grandpa I would still be rocking out to NOFX, head banging and moshing in my wheelchair. But, during college I was introduced to all sorts of new types music that seemed to have more depth and thought put into the mathematics of Rock. Punk Rock was starting to fade into the memories portion of my brain and sweet riffs from Boston bombarded my think box and raddled it to its core. Even though I was in one of the best punk bands in the world at the time, I would rarely listen to punk that much. It didn't help that many of my favorite punk bands weren't coming out with anything decent anymore. It wasn't till I met Ian Wisssmahh that I started to get back into punk rock. I got all nostalgic and dug out my old CDs from a box in my mom's basement and uploaded them to my computer. I still wasn't full on into it anymore; I would just usually play it when I was filled with whiskey.
The other night my friend's Punk band was playing a final show at the Blue Rock Tavern. I hate the Blue Rock Tavern due to the complete ignorance of the owner and the un-enforced smoking law. I told my friend Stephanie that if she got me drunk enough I would go. Thirteen vodka tonics later there I was standing in the corner watching from a distance as John Walsh put every single band ever to shame. John Walsh, which is lead by the powerful vocals of Seedy Seeds' frontman Mike Ingram, was formed to bring positiveness, goodness, awesomeness and friendliness to a world where there is so little.
As they started to play the fast-pace, in-your-face Punk Rock that most of us love so much, the crowd started to lose all control over their bodily functions (besides bathroom functions) and hands started to meet. John Walsh's main goal is not to create a mosh pit, not to crowd surf, not to Hardcore dance, but to create the biggest high five pit in the nation. That night it was completed, with a million people aging from 13-50 slamming their palms together as the double bass pounded on. The room was immediately grinning from ear to ear. My old age and broken knee kept me on the wall, scribbling down incoherent notes about how awesome the show was. It wasn't until I saw my friend Matt standing close to the stage that the booze took over the logic in my brain. I ran over and pulled him by his collar into the high five zone in front of the stage. As the fun blood ran through my veins I couldn't help but shout the lyrics and bro-out till my chest hair grew another inch.
The headliners were Team Stray, a local Pop Punk band that has been doing small tours and rocking anywhere from basements to hockey frats for about five years now. The catchy cord progressions and dancey drumbeats seemed to strike a cord in my heart. They gave me all the good feelings that John Walsh gift-wrapped and handed to me, but with an Emo card attached to it. It reminded me of sitting in my room in high school writing down Blink-182 lyrics on some notes I borrowed from a girl I liked, hoping she would catch the love bug for Charlie (It never happened). The simple yet touching lyrics would speak straight to my heart once again. As the kids sang along to "Petting Heavy," I could feel the adolescent love coming back into my heart.
All this fun is something you don't see much in music these days. All the hipsters are too cool to dance at the Big N' Brooklyn show. I once saw a wife get punched by her husband at a Toby Keith concert and all the old ladies at the Beach Boys concert are too busy clapping to the beat and swaying back and forth in their seats to remember to stand up and rock. When did having a good time while listening to music become so uncool? Do people need Cool Spot to tell everyone it is hip to dance? Will that make dancing an acceptable thing to do at concerts? Next time you're at a concert be the positive change, give a high five, give a hug and start the dance.