By Greg Price
My stamina of the being the social ‘fun guy’ will be tested this week.
No, I don’ think I’m witnessing a mid-life crisis of doing the comb-over to vainly cling on to the last remnants of my hair follicles (I inherited my grandfather’s thick, luxurious hair), dating women half my age or cruising around in a sports car I can’t afford.
But I will be facing the daunting task (at my age anyway) of going to two punk concerts on back-to-back nights, following that up with a possible game night with friends. Back in my 20s, there wouldn’t have been a moment of hesitation, but as I’ve reached middle age, the hesitation was there of thinking back to Danny Glover’s famous line in ‘Lethal Weapon’ of am I getting too old for this sh@t’?
Back when I started enjoying punk music back in college, I will freely admit, I was never one of those ‘hardcore’ kinds that relished participating in mosh pits.
I’ve simply usually hovered around the back, bobbing my head in unison, breaking out in verse at times with my monotone voice and pushed people back into the mosh pit if they had ventured out too far into the area of more casual listeners at concerts. Against Me!, Dropkick Murphys, Anti-Flag, Chixdiggit, the Hanson Brothers, NOFX, Turbonegro, Offspring, Bad Religion, Off With Their Heads and Refused are some of the bands I’ve seen live and along with a lot of the social messages, I love the guitar riffs and rapid drumming.
This week will feature an old favourite, Real McKenzies, a band I’ve seen the most times with frequent shows in Lethbridge, along with another band I’ve yet to see in Pennywise.
Lead singer Paul McKenzie of the Real McKenzies has great stage presence and often mingles with the crowd who are eager to buy him a drink which he obliges at times and still has the stamina to give a top-notch performance with a band that formed when I was in high school still.
Pennywise I’m pretty unfamiliar with, knowing only a few of their songs to any degree, but will probably be getting a crash course on my way to Calgary.
My sister in the United States will be participating in her second women’s march this year as she has become more plugged into the system in recent years as a U.S. citizen, and every time I hear Pennywise’s song of ‘Let Us Hear Your Voice’, I think of her.
Just like when I think of my grandfather’s fight with Alzheimer’s Disease when I listen to Our Lady Peace’s song ‘Thief’, when I transition to my punk music, there are several members of my family and friends I think of when I hear certain songs.
Given the recent decision of town council not to fly the Pride Flag, every time I hear Rise Against’s ‘Make it Stop (September’s Children)’ and Against Me!’s ‘Black Me Out,’ I think of the Taber Equality Alliance and some of its members. Sum 41 (Pieces) and Chixdiggit bring me back to a time of a more naive/innocent (perhaps at times immature), view of love. Keeping on the love angle, at times when I hear Rise Against’s ‘Politics of Love’ I think of a few women in my life that have crossed my path that I regretted not taking a chance with, being afraid of rejection.
When I listen to the eloquent lyrics of Bad Religion, it brings back memories of when I had the passion to write short stories and poems in college, and even wrote a song for my friend’s short-lived punk band, Laughing Jackass.
The concerts bring me back to good memories, spending time with friends.
The genre as a whole still leaves a little fight in me when I see injustices locally, or in North America, even when at times I feel like giving up.
So while I pondered whether these 40-something bones would be up for back-to-back punk concerts, I gave my head a shake when I think what the music has meant to me. Why wouldn’t I?
Whatever music one is passionate about, how does that change as you get older?
That nostalgia is all over in different genres, be it the boy bands making a reunion tour or the golden oldies of the Baby Boomer generation, music is universal.
When they say it’s the music of a generation, music is of every generation.
And besides, at some point in our lives, we’ve always had a little punk in us.
Real McKenzies and Pennywise… here I come… with great friends by my side.