Friday, I went to Wonderroot (an Atlanta spot I am really enjoying) for a hardcore show. With being mostly out of the community for several years, I have been easing my way back in. This was a show I had been looking forward to for some time.
As always, I was too early for the show. When I arrived, it was me and a couple folks setting up. I overheard them talking about the show and one said that they really liked some of the local bands playing that night but had never heard of Capitalist Casualties. They must be old guys. I chuckled, as I think I was an old guy at that point, since I did not know any of the local bands and was there to see the "old guys".
Paradox was the opener, it was their first show and they were quite a nice surprise. I started thinking of the culture of punk and hardcore and age. As I looked around the room I saw a lot of folks dressed like I used to dress, dancing like I used to dance, wearing clothes I used to wear, conversing like I used to converse. It occurred to me how tribal the culture of punk is.
The generations of punk are shorter, about a decade apart, but the tribal elements are all there. The traditions are passed down from generation to generation and people learn about the community from exposure. It surprised me how rare this is is our society. The punk community has done a good job of self-isolation as well has maintaining its identity. It amazes me how much of the culture has escaped the corporate takeover of most musical cultures. No one is making money off the scene, no one is paying for ad space, everyone is there because they feel at home.
While there are many issues I have with the community, many of which were the reasons I left so many years ago, I see a new appeal. Perhaps it is the perspective of a generation removed.
Dead in the Dirt are a local vegan straight-edge grindcore band. I am all about the vegan straight-edge but was concerned they might be slightly too metal for me, until they started playing. They were incredible. It was inspiring to see so much passion in their music. It really reminded me of the early years of Tragedy or Drop Dead. They blew me away. They were not just playing songs they wrote, they were offering themselves into the community.
Then Capitalist Casualties played, true to form, West Coast Power Violence. Due to a broken bass strap, they were unable to meet their goal of 25 songs in 30 minutes but it was close! They played it fast, loud, and abrasive. I am sure that those young kids will remember who those old guys are now.