It had been a while since I’d been to a punk rock show. I was volunteering at a local music festival this past week, and things have changed since my day of attending these increasingly gimmicky performances. A real punk rock band is hard to come by nowadays. I’m sorry, but Pennywise’s 11,632nd show you just attended, does not constitute as punk rock. Although, I do have a pretty punk rock story about Fletcher of Pennywise that I will digress into, since erratic anecdotal accounts of past events are kind of my style.
While on Warped Tour, that one terrible summer of 2010, Pennywise jumped onto the tour for only a few dates. The members now being in their 40’s, with their scorched voices, calloused fingertips, a beautifully adapted circulatory system that permanently has more alcohol than red blood cells flowing through its’ veins, functional clothing and zero self consciousness made these screamo, auto-tune, I-carry-a-flask-with-me-because-I’m-hardcore, tight-shirt/studded belt/make-up wearing bands that are so self-conscious they can’t make eye contact with anyone who might be cooler than them, look like amateurs.
One of these bands… that starts with an A… found Fletcher on their bus at 3:00am. Apparently he had drunkenly stumbled on, and I have no doubt, he was very aware that it wasn’t his bus, but just didn’t give a fuck because he wanted a goddamn sandwich. Yes, when “A” band discovered Fletcher, the Pennywise guitarist demanded a sandwich. Instead of doing the punk rock thing, and making this dude a sandwich, offering him a beer and a bonding conversation, they tried kicking him off the bus. When Fletcher wouldn’t comply, they punched him and called the Cops. To make it worse, Warped has its own security that you can call in situations such as these… but they called the Police. “A” went through the rest of the tour being known as the band who called the cops on Pennywise. Pussies.
Back to my point, along with the slow, ugly descent of truly raw shows, show etiquette seems to also be a dying practice. A few things I noticed at this festival that I would like to address for anyone who attends such performances:
1. Boys, take care of the girls. This used to be an unspoken rule, a silent pact amongst the male show-goers, but it seems to have lost its significance. I’m putting an end to that right now. It is punk rock to be courteous of fellow listeners, especially the girls. I’m all about jumping and thrashing and moshing and whatever else your music fueled body is commanding you to do, but if you accidentally hit a girl or run into her or knock her down, you stop what your doing, you turn around and look her in the eye you probably just bruised, and sincerely say, “I’m so sorry, are you okay?” When I was a teenager going to these shows, they could be hazardous, but I was never worried or intimidated because I knew the guys had my back. If I fell over, immediately a dude was their to help me up and take a few seconds of his time to make sure I was okay, before going back to full music immersion. As a male at a punk rock show, it is your duty to look out for the females.
2. If you’re in the pit, do not stop and look for something you dropped. While watching A Wilhelm Scream, in the middle of a song, in the middle of a pit, this poser stopped moshing, turned on his phone flashlight and began looking for his dropped hat. Are you fucking kidding me? I wanted Nuno to call him out from on stage, but he’s way too sweet for anything like that. The worst part was, other moshers’ started helping him! Fuck this kid’s hat! We’ve got a show to watch!
3. Don’t throw elbows in the pit. It’s just not nice.
4. Don’t spit. It’s just not nice.
5. Border patrol! This is important and very appreciated when done properly. If you find yourself on the edge of the pit, it is your automatic duty to keep the moshers from infiltrating the borders. Think of yourself as those cops at protests who wear the plastic mask things and sport shields. And just like sitting at the emergency exit seat of a plane, if you’re not up for the job, you need to move. At this past festival, during The Draft, I kind of fell in love with this kid whose face I never saw, I only saw the back of his head. Despite my being right next to the pit, my full attention was able to be on the band because this guy was an expert at border patrol. I didn’t have to worry about getting smashed into and losing my footing at all because he kept throwing those kids back in before they could do any damage to the rest of us. Thank you, stranger.
6. If the pit has ceased, fill that space back in! As someone who has seen an inactive, empty pit from stage, it looks pathetic. When the moshers are done, don’t be scared, just walk in and fill that space back up. The others will follow, I promise.
7a. If you’re going to attempt crowd surfing, please only do it when there is a crowd, you dumb fuck. If you get your 110lbs. friend to try to hoist you up, don’t expect anything else to happen after that if the crowd is only three rows deep.
7b. If there is a crowd however, and you’re going to crowd surf from on stage, you better fucking JUMP off of the stage. One of the more embarrassing things I’ve ever witnessed (ranking right up there with the junior high talent shows) was this guy during the Audacity show, who got on stage, and then instead of jumping off, he SLOWLY, ass first, leaned back into the crowd, as if he was testing the stability of an old wicker chair. I shook my head in shame.
That’s all for now! Contact me with any comments or questions. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show!