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Everyone knows that hardcore show where one profusely sweaty body is tossed into another profusely sweaty body. Ladies and gentlemen what are we left with here?
Profusely sweaty people. Or is there something more at work here in the minds of the diehard kids?
Now I’m not much of a hardcore music fan myself. I had my phase in high school of course between my freshman and sophomore year. There was the fascination with From First to Last, Hawthorne Heights, and the hometown heroes Dorian’s Decay from Chicago.
(Quick break to throw some vinyl on the turntable right now. Blue Sky Noise by Circa Survive if any of you are interested)
Those days were fun but I grew out of that phase as my music taste changed. Nowadays, a majority of the hardcore bands sound very similar. Come to think of it, most of them sounded the same back in high school. That’s besides the point though. The chord I’m trying to strike here (music pun definitely intended) is the essence of those shows. The adrenaline that pumps through a “scene” kid at these shows is phenomenal. Mosh pits either on a small scale at a local show or on a large one at Ozzfest for example are intense concentrations of pure teenage angst and energy.
I know that when I would get pissed off about something I tended to get the urge to go to a show and ram into a few guys myself. It was a form of relaxation for me and I loved every push and shove of it. Think about this. We’ve got teens in high school sitting through classes they don’t want to take, listening to teachers they hate, and wanting to experience life through experience. These are the same kids getting bombarded for being gay or “different”. I sure as hell know that people thought both of those things of me. Fact of the matter is that I wasn’t and still am not either. I’ve been happily taken to a wonderful girl for over two years and yes, I might have odd interests (e.g. Jurassic Park) but that doesn’t make me a weird person. The youth of America need an outlet. What better to freak their parents out and get a thrill than going to a show. It doesn’t even have to be a hardcore show. I’m talking about any concert here people!
Last Thanksgiving, I went to a Circa Survive show at the House of Blues in Chicago (awesome venue by the way). They started the set off with Strange Terrain, the opener on the aforementioned Blue Sky Noise. As the drums come in, the singer, Anthony Green, sprints out onstage and leaps into the outstretched arms of the audience. There’s documented evidence of this too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om8845zbFjA BAM! That was the best intro to any show I’ve been to and probably will ever be to. The confetti helped too. Throughout the rest of the show Anthony captivated the audience and held their attention. It was incredible seeing all these people united for one band. Their passion was clear and their energy was sharp. No doubt it was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever witnessed.
With my own band in high school, Blank Page, we only played one actual show that happened to take place at our high school. Somehow we had a huge turnout and everyone loved us. I had people coming up to me a year afterward still telling me that we were their favorite band. To this day I rank that concert as one of the most important things that’s ever happened to me. Looking out over the crowd I could see how energetic they were. The excitement filled the air. My friends were enthralled and were bouncing around just having a good time. Some were even singing the words. I couldn’t believe it. They had a great time and that’s all I could really ask for.
Specific acts during a show don’t make it great. The band doesn’t always have to make it great either. It’s the people there. The people that go for the love of a show. Everyone there radiates off each other. This is where true personalities emerge. You see the stick skinny girls and solemn boys standing on the sides and in corners away from the action going on in the middle with the diehards. The diehards are living it up by falling over each other. The only difference between these two groups is how they express their admiration of the scene. The quiet ones are grateful for the music. The diehards are grateful for the physical force provided by the music that is now background for them. Of course there are the hybrids too. The gang’s all here and we’re all alright.