I found this piece of writing hidden away under a pile in a box. It’s about my first ever punk show that the one and only Eric Scharf dragged me to when we were 15. I’ve had this piece for 12 years and I think it was made just for Ottawa Showbox’s Throwback Thursday, although it’s longer than regular TBTs. I will transcribe it here verbatim (get ready for typos).
The Punk Show
Here I sit in my quiet room at 11:30 at night on the 15th of December, 2002. I’m writing to myself again and as stupid as it sounds, yes this is a diary entry. I’ve just returned from a Punk show with my friend Eric. He’d told me about the show two weeks in advance and invited me to stay at his house for the weekend since my family was going to Mont-Tremblant. I asked my parents and they were sceptical at first because it was at a bar. Steven Scharf, Eric’s dad, reassured my parents that it wasn’t 18 and over and no alcoholic drinks were given out freely and unresponsibily. My parents allowed for me to go and I did.
On Sunday at 3:55 we were at the line-up to get in Babylon, the club where Bigwig were starring, accompanied by District 7, If Tomorrow Comes, Jettison, Subb and another punk band which I don’t remember the name… To tell you (the reader) the truth, I was pretty nervous just going to that concert. It was my first “punk rock” show ever and I didn’t know what to expect from the pit or the bands. The crowd is what worried me most. I expected to be stuck in a club for 5 hours with 200 punks, just looking to break something… or someone…
Well I was wrong about everything.
As we entered the club and checked in our coats, I couldn’t help noticing that the only thing everyone going to the show had in common was that we wanted to see some punk. When we handed in our tickets we received a red stamp that read RUSH. Now everyone in the club had two things in common.
When we made our way to the stage, the show had already begun, If Tomorrow Comes were screaming and wailing and pumping up the volume. The first thing I noticed wasn’t the sound but the vibration. Every bass note made my knees shake involountarily. The drums were making my heart beat a different, irregular rythm in my rib cage. My stomach walls were vibrating violently and making the acid in there shake like the paint in the paint mixer at Canadian Tire. Every hair on my body tingled and my foot tapped all by itself. And I smiled, but that wasn’t involuntarily.
I found out that only a few people went in the pit, Eric for one, and others avoided it religiously. While Eric stomped and skanked in the mosh pit I went to the toilet and discovered a beautiful and seductive world of grafitti. But it wasn’t the kind of vandalism you saw in a bus stop hut or a school change room, it wasn’t even vandalism for that matter. It was like a signed year book, with hundreds of signatures from individual people just like me! There were drawing of cartoon caracters, magic mushrooms and stick men, with signatures of all kinds and the mirror was invisible through the stickers that covered it. Whatever it was, it was very artistic.
When I came back out, Jettison’s lead singer Steve was asking around if everyone was ready to rock. There was a roar of approval but Steve paused and looked back at his drummer called Monkey. Steve scoffed and turned toward the crowd: “I swear to god,” he said. “Everytime I say that our drummer’s like ‘Whoa whoa wait no blahblahblah.'” He turned back toward Monkey and spoke casually, “Fuck off you fucking cocksucker!” Another roar of approval came from the crowd and the mosh pit was thrown back into gear once again when the music started.
When Subb came on, the third song they did, they dedicated to all the romantics in the room. When the heavy love song began I saw two people walk up to the rim of the pit holding each others hands. The one who I guessed was the guy was dressed in black all over and had 5 huge spikes in his mohawk. The girl had a shaved head and one quarter of her face was covered in metal attachments and rings. They looked at each other and the guy whispered in her ear to ask her to dance. She accepted and they stepped into the violent pit and started running into people and each other. When the “romantic” song ended, they left the pit, her with a fat lip and he with a feeling of regret because it was he who had administered her the hit in the mouth. No matter what happened, they were still very much in love because she was smiling and he was kissing her big lip.
The main attraction that night was Bigwig, so when they came on, people went bat shit to get into the pit. I ended up being pulled in and found myself in a sea of moving bodies. When they started to play the whole crowd became just one big organism, moving to the music. A few bottles were smashed, a lamp was broken, I was stuck in between a huge man and a very good-looking girl. She asked me if I was ready when “Numbers” came on and I said I was a virgin at this so she should go easy on me. I made her laugh but that didn’t stop her from throwing her whole weight into me and trying to push me into the deeper part of the pit. I realized the mosh pit was hell on earth, filled with mindless zombies, pushing each other and head banging. When I finally struggled out, I heard Eric scream: “FUCK YOUR RULES! FUCK YOUR SCHOOLS! FUCK YOU AND YOUR BOUNDARIES!!!”
I asked myself what I had to lose either than my sanity, a limb or my life and threw myself right back in!