Last night, I watched a couple of good friends kids play punk rock in a bowling alley bar.
It’s hard to put name to the cocktail of reactions. Pride, for the kids in question. For the fact the thirteen, fourteen year old kids care enough, work hard enough, to actually sound like a band, not just like kids fuckin’ around.
But also, oddly happy that punk rock is alive and well in kids this age. This is the music we used to thrash and slam to, more years ago than I can count. I looked at these boys, all focused intensity, adolescent rage, and absolute fucking glee, and It just made me happy.
I watched kids on the dance floor, kids who couldn’t have been more than fifteen at the oldest, bouncing off each other like giggling rubber balls. Some of them where just roughhousing, in a setting where it wasn’t just allowed, but welcomed. Others, clearly, were exploring dance-floor as mating ground, showing off for each other.
It looked like a basket full of puppies in Hot Topic threads.
On the sides were parents; not like my parents would have been to see my friends in such a scene, but parents of my generation. Pride, amusement, nostalgia. And all around the room, the un-spoken thought – we are very old.
It warmed me to see one of the kids – an intense, shy, socially awkward boy, pale, doughy-soft – transformed into the very image of deranged punk rock frontman. His back to the crowd, he’d scream barely-intelligable lyrics into the mike, posing like Rollinns, and often diving into the pit when his friends started to slam. Half the songs he wound up on his back on the floor, never breaking his shrieked, howled vocals. In between songs, he’d mumble bits of patter; “this is one of our longer songs, it’s maybe three minutes”, or “this is one of the faster ones.” THis is a boy who’s found his voice, no matter his issues when he’s off stage.
The songs pretty much all sounded the same – but it didn’t matter at all, because they sounded good. It shows exactly how hard they’ve been working, when for all the look of un-controlled chaos, everything stops together, starts together, the drums and guitar locked together. These kids care. They love what they’re doing.
Punk rock is alive and well – and that just makes me happy.