We were two punks, me and Gabe, deviant college students out for a good all-ages show at Thee Parkside. We headed out at 8:30, got lost briefly on Market St. as we discussed our rampant drug use and our history of punk shows; I myself was headed to my fourth. We finally found Filmore, got all the way out to Wisconsin and 17th, ready for the raw power of this world we live in, that punk rock world nobody got but a select few. We got to the entrance, paid our 8 dollar entrance fee, and saw inside.
I was in my element again, my community, my people. Burly middle-aged guys laughing, choking down beer. Mohawked guys and girls embracing in open passion. Eight-year-olds walking back, a little scared and a little overjoyed. Juvenile delinquents and older delinquents. Bastards of young. Whatever it was, I was looking at home, in a sense, a place I belonged. Gabe and I heard the noise, followed it directly, were led directly into the crowd of moshers, the Secretions playing a song with the chorus "I've got three chords for you / FUCK YOU!" extremely awesomely. I immediately began dancing, jumping around, and singing. It's the best music in the world; what can I say?
I started moshing soon after, diving into the crowd, almost knocked down, shoving and pushing, meeting a pretty punk rock girl (who I didn't have the nerve to ask out that night), and devolving into, as is my wont, into a wild animal, eyes wide and screaming and yelling and twisting my body into impossible shapes, wondering why I'd want to be anywhere else. Then the song ended.
Emily's Army came next, we having missed much of the Secretions, and they were great; 15, 16 years old was my guess for the average age of these Oakland guys, but they were tight as hell, playing Bay Area pop-punk of early Green Day legend; "West Coast" was a highlight, as was their cover of "Astro Zombies." Nice guys, too, after chatting with the guitarist and bassist.
One of the highlights was the Angel and Robot show, the Phenomenauts side project: Angel on vocals, AR7 on keyboard, as they sang crooning, lounge-style cabaret, with Angel in a sweet suit and drinking wine like a rockabilly Frank Sinatra. It was hilarious, strange and had a Pixies reference mixed in with songs about asteroids. Awesome.
Finally, the big act: Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits. This band kicked ass. They played some original punk, including "zombies" and a song about dead babies, plus a masterpiece--"Sweet Shit Of Christ"--and even did "beat poetry" while a guitarist changed his broken string. They brought on a banjo player, an accordion player, a trumpeter and a sax player. And a gorgeous "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?". It was great, the slam dancing for the fast songs incredible, I slammed down on the floor, picked up by six hands. We take care of each other. It was time to go after a while, though. Gabe and I walked back to our bus at 12:30 A.M., joking and deciding we were both misanthropic bastards and were okay with this.
I drifted back, as we bussed back to the sound of driving motors, to our campus, to my earlier musing. I talked to Gabe about the little kids who were moshing as hard as the rest of us. I wondered out loud to him: "I wonder what happened to those kids, made them as fucked up as us." He was confused; I said, "I mean, I'm autistic, that fucked me up, so I wonder what happened to them?" Gabe said, "Maybe we're just more intelligent, and know it's the world that's fucked up." Maybe he was right...maybe a combination of both. Whatever it was, here we were in the present: punks looking for a future in a world without much of one.