Last week I blew off going to dragon boat practice—the last practice before a tournament—and instead went to the Buzzcocks show up in Hollywood.
Technically, the band didn't go on until 11:00, so I could have made practice, rushed home, showered, motored up there, and been there in time. But why would I bother with that?
The show featured an interesting amalgam of underage kids who idolize the old school punk along with those who may have been hardcore in their day but had settled in to the office life along with those who still desperately clung to that hardcore and remembered when the old school was the new thing. The band opened with six newer songs, all of which sounded pretty good, and in the style and spirit of their old stuff. This was prudent of them, as once song seven ("I Don't Mind") started, the crowd's enthusiasm was ratcheted up and there would be no more tolerating the efforts to play the new stuff. (The band did sneak one more in at the start of the encore.)
I appreciated the older attendees. They made me feel still kind of youngish. The guy next to me (an engineer I'd guess judging from his haircut and glasses) spastically gyrated, thrusting his arms in a move that combined fist pumping with air guitar. It was great to see him enthusiastic, while at the same time it made me feel not so out of it.
I like the shows like that, where the band proves they can still rock but the crowd knows better than to think they can slam dance. (Some kids tried to start a pit, which lasted about 10 seconds.) There was plenty of sweat up front, sure, and I spotted some pogoing and crowd surfing, but by and large the fans were enthusiastic without being out-for-blood. We have nothing to prove—or at least that there's no point in trying to prove anything—and we know we don't have the energy to try.
There was one moment that made me cringe. After the band left the stage at the end of the first set, while the crowd cheered and clapped to bring about the encore that would happen anyway, the spastic dancer and the guy next to him pulled out their Blackberry devices—not even just cell phones—and waved them in lieu of lighters.
It was hardly surprising that these guys were there without dates. (I am awful, I know.)
Of course, they weren't as bad as the people who pulled out such devices and actually checked messages during the show.
Technology has made it so much easier to reach out to others, and at great speed, and yet has made us less worthy of keeping in contact with; we're p-whipped by convenience.
Punk's not dead, but it is a bit too concerned with how many friends it has on its MySpace page.