Friday, July 22, 2005

"It's not so bad being trendy

Everyone who looks like me is my friend". (Trendy, Reel Big Fish)

There's nothing like an exhilarating night of scud music.*

Last night was Reel Big Fish with Catch-22 at the Marquee (with Melanie).

First, everyone go to Mel's blog and firmly reminder her that we're cool and as such will never be too old to attend a ska show. Or to skank at said show. And that all the young'ens were so mesmerized by our massive amount of coolness they forgot to notice we were among the oldest there. They only wish that one day they can be as cool as us. Please go tell Melanie that.

I've been a RBG fan for a long time now, I actually got my first RBF cd for free when I worked in the cd store in '96 (it was a record label freebie and no one else wanted it, bet they regret that now.) I think I saw them in Pittsburgh or Philly but I have no recollection of where specifically (I've been to a lot of concerts.)

There were at lot less ties and plaid pants than I'm used to at a ska show. I suspect it's something to do with the heat. Of course there was the always-present gaggle of shirtless rude boys with their shirts hanging from the back of their pants. Few Docs, more Converse, once again a heat-related decision I think.

One guy was overly excited about my Skankin' Pickle t-shirt but some of that may have been an obsession with the perfect left breast on which the logo rested since he couldn't take his eyes off it. Of course, I've had some young-guy mojo working recently; more 22 year-old have chatted me up this past week then in the previous 3 months.

And now a short treatise on why I love ska. Ska shows differ from most of the other shows I go to. Usually, female concert go-ers stay to the sidelines; the pit is a testosterone heavy place and if you get knocked down (which happens frequently) more often than not the guy helping you up will also grab a quick grope. Punk shows are fun, but puck has a lot of anger behind it and that can break out in the crowd. I've been to a few shows where the band has cut the concert short because a fight has broken out. I still go to punk shows, you just have to factor in the 'innocent-bystander' risk and stay alert. Also I am a pit magnet and often have to spend a large part of the time playing recess monitor, forming part of the human wall that contains the chaos. I move, the pit follows, I have no idea why. And not just at punk shows; any band, no matter how tame, will inspire a pit to form directly in front of me forcing me to drop into the stance (arms crossed chest high, palms out, one foot back for balance). I like going, but as a girl you can't just fall into the music, you have to maintain a watchfulness.

But at a ska show, everyone's equal. The pit consists of a group skanking in a circle, males and females together, no deliberate shoving (or groping). And everyone is dancing, not just the girls and the drunks. I've never seen a group of guys dancing so energetically with any other type of music. No one is pointing and giggling at someone who's skankin' like a madman. Instead, they're more likely to join them, holding hands and doing complicated stuff with their feet. Dancing spontaneously with a stranger is the norm. And ska is generally happy, even the songs about break-ups and broken hearts have some humor in them. It's bouncy and sing-along-able and contains just enough cuss words to make you feel rebellious. Ska is where those band geeks who were that little bit cooler end up, playing the trombone or the sax or the trumpet and bouncing off the walls. And I always had a thing for the band geeks.

"There's a ska band on my street, a little ska band
everybody thinks that they're so fuckin' neat,
there was nothin' on the radio
was gonna make my own band, play my own shows
but that don't work so i' givin' up again,
she said she loved me cause i played guitar
that's ok, i didn't love her at all and i say...

i'm givin' up
i know everything sucks, and this is gonna be the last
time you hear me complain"
(Everything sucks, Reel Big Fish))

Have you ever been to a show and you get into that zone? Where you're singing along without even knowing it and dancing like mad and knowing in the back of your mind that you're gonna pay for it tomorrow but you're past feeling pain and there's nothing in the world but that music and the crowd and you? It doesn't happen often for me but when it does it's usually at a ska show and it happened last night.

Yes, I woke up with sore legs and a pulled calf muscle, a little dehydrated with some ringing in the ears. But it was all worth it because I never feel like I do at a ska show.

"He wanted to be something but she knows he never will
She's got him where she wanted and forgot to take her pill
And he thinks that she'll be happy when she's hanging out the nappies
If that's a happy marriage I'd prefer to be unhappy"
(Stupid Marriage, The Specials)

"It began with a mistake,
I don't know what was at stake
I realize I was to blame, I just want things to be the same
I'll be the first to apologize and I know these things take time
I think of you and I see red even though you were alright in bed
It's not that we don't get along, it's just that you are always wrong
at least you could pretend that I was right in the end
Why won't you ever let this die, you can see how hard I've tried
Please don't hold this over my head,
let's just say enough's been said
Enough is enough
I know I was to blame
I just want things to be the same
Just shut up and make it right"
(Enough, Dancehall Crashers)

*For an explanation, go here

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