Saturday, September 22, 2012

there is no "I" in street gang

All of these bands I saw last night were active back when I was in my late teens just discovering college radio and crawling out of the especially deep corporate rock abyss. My partner in grunge was a huge fan of the Chargers Street Gang, a local punk band that he saw open for Mudhoney that he said changed his life. After finding the CD in the dollar bin at the Exchange, I understood as well. By that time they'd broken up and reunited once every couple of years usually around Christmas when family obligations made it hard to get over to the east side.

Ten years in the making, he says when I get there last night, as we try to explain this era of our life to his girlfriend, who's really nice and perfect for him but more into going to Browns games with him than shows where the music's really loud and by the end of the night doesn't want to go up front with us when they get onstage.

It was probably a good thing since the usual suspects were getting their mosh on and the inevitable muscle memory kicks in and my hands are up shoving, my feet maintaining balance, and the blood gets moving in ways it hasn't in ten years. Someone's throwing beer around and my hair is soaked and then kind of sticky. I see a chunk of broken glass by my feet and pick it up wondering what I should do with it but there's nowhere nearby to throw it away, nowhere to toss it without it hitting someone and I don't want it in my hand, so I set it back down on the floor and wonder if I should have worn my old combat boots instead of Converse high-tops as I'm shoving people away and feeling bad that my body's being thrown into everyone else's. But these songs are best in a context like this somewhat chaotic, our favorites, Tom Waits for No One, Every Light on Euclid, belted out by us and others.

And when the stage is chaos, we're feeling like we're ten years younger again, but also too tired to stay for the rest of the headliner's set. Now that I've crawled out of the introvert shell more, I'm recognizing people that I've seen at past shows, running into familiar faces, it's funny how that works, how small this town is but how glad I am to still be here.

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