Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All-ages shows have gotten old.

Throughout high school and into college I attended local concerts quite frequently. At one point I would even go to shows when I didn’t know any of the bands playing. I would stand right up front and give every band an honest chance, often buying their self-recorded/released CDs.

Then I got older. As I aged I became more jaded towards music and basically every band I saw. Unless I had a friend in the band, it was pretty hard to get me to like them. Unless, of course, they were actually very good (which is rare).

Eventually, the only shows I attended were when my friends were playing and I would just sit at the bar until they went on. This is how it’s been for a while.

Monday night, however, I found myself at an all-ages show. I didn’t even know they still put on all-ages shows in Milwaukee but there it was. It was at the Miramar Theater, which I had been to quite a few times, and was an all day event celebrating Festivus (for the rest of us!). My friends’ band went on at 8-ish and I foolishly showed up a couple hours before. I was hoping I could snag some free beer backstage or something but that didn’t happen. I was able to steal a few pieces of pizza so I guess it wasn’t a total waste.

While walking around the show I couldn’t stop looking at all the teenagers. I couldn’t believe how young they looked. I felt like I was chaperoning a high school dance and it made me feel creepy. Another funny part was how people dressed exactly the same as when I was still going to shows. The “scenester” style hasn’t really changed in ten years. I guess if you want to be “alternative” these days you just gotta rip off what people were doing when I was in high school.

I spent most of the show in back, occasionally checking out a band here and there. The kids all packed in towards the front and stood, nodding their heads, as the bands went about their business. Same ol’ shit.

Finally, Red Knife Lottery went on. I have been watching these guys since 2004 or so and still enjoy seeing them every chance I get. It’s kind of funny to think of the older shows, with a different lineup, and compare them to the ones now. They seem to have started taking themselves more seriously, which can be good and bad. If you want to be taken seriously, take yourself seriously. It’s a good idea. I, however, liked it when Ashley spit beer on the all-ages audience on her birthday a few years ago. They should keep doing stuff like that.

Halfway through the second song of their set, a “pit” broke out. Yeah, I know, I haven’t seen one for a while either. Arms started flailing, heads started banging, and bystanders started getting pissed. That’s the thing about hardcore dancing, it just pisses off everyone that’s not doing it. A perfect example was how after a couple songs a fight broke out because someone minding their own business got annoyed with kids constantly bumping into them. Understandable.

As annoying as I find that stuff now, in a way, I still like to see it. I noticed right when it started that the band got more energized which made for a better show. Plus, I imagine it being a nice feeling for them to see their music inciting kids to beat the hell out of each other. Also, when I was their age, I was into the same shit. I’ve done my share of stage dives and knocking into people and crowd surfing so I encourage others to take part. I never did that stupid shit where they just swing their arms like a bunch of idiots, though. That’s just retarded. In summary: I don’t like slam dancing nowadays but I support it, even though it’s really annoying when you just want to watch a band.

The band’s set consisted mainly of songs off of their new CD, “Soiled Soul and Rapture.” Which, as Ashley described it to the crowd, “is pretty good.” There was one old song which stuck out in the set. The songwriting style from the first EP to the new LP has changed quite a lot. I guess getting two new members and waiting six years will do that.

They played well, I didn’t notice any mistakes, and the crowd seemed really into. It’s a little weird since most of them are older than me, but I remember thinking that I was proud of them while they played. I know they’ve all come a long way to be in this band and it’s paying off. So if anyone is reading this that doesn’t know of Red Knife Lottery (which I kind of doubt since it’s only friends of mine that read this), go get the CD. Get two and give one to a bum. Then give me twenty dollars. Go. Do it.

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