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Column: Hey Kids, Do You Wanna Go to the Punk Rock Show?

Remembering live shows in a quarantined world
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On the evening of March 12, 2020, I had tickets to a punk show. Before jumping in the shower, it finally clicked for me that it was a big deal that Chicago, had canceled its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I decided to eat my ticket and watch a Ted Bundy documentary instead to ease my anxiety surrounding a virus I didn’t understand. The show ended up being canceled, validating my panic. Because of the incoming stress, I can’t even remember who I was going to see that night. And that really bums me out.

Now, a year later, fully vaccinated thanks to my small community who is working hard to quickly provide shots, I’m ready to say yes to the world again (according to CDC guidelines). I jam to music while working my day job. Every errand is an opportunity to sing at the top of my lungs in the car. I am ready to be back home in a nasty ass bar and watch some Kid Vicious ruin the bass. I’m ready to bruise my knees on the stage barrier from the pit slamming behind me. I’m ready to have jammed so hard I hurt and get pissed when the band succumbs to an encore. I’m ready to squeal like a stalker when my favorites hit the stage. I’m ready to go to a fucking punk rock show!

But we can’t just yet.

I asked some friends to share their experiences with shows so we can miss them affectionately in preparation to love them fully when they are again reality.

Hector R. – Chicago:

  1. Favorite genre? Alternative, Classic Rock, Rock en Español, Hip Hop
  2. Who was your first show? Luis Miguel – my parents.
  3. Fave bands? The Cure, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Killers, Depeche Mode
  4. Best show you’ve been to? The Cure – Lollapalooza 2016
  5. Band you’ve seen the most? The Cure, Cafe Tacuba, Foals
  6. Last show before the Great Quar? Bob Weird & the Wolf Bros.

Shark Boy – Seaside, California:

  1. Favorite genre? Electronic, Synth, Post Punk, Industrial Rock
  2. Who was your first show? Chevelle in Denver, with my hometown BFFLeah
  3. Fave bands? Gorillaz, HTRK, Nine Inch Nails, TR/ST, Com Truise
  4. Best show you’ve been to? Washed Out
  5. First show you went to alone? I went to TR/ST in San Francisco in 2019 the day after my birthday. I got drunk and took a Lyft home.
  6. Last show before the Great Quar? Tycho

Tess L. – Sheridan, Wyoming:

  1. Favorite genre? 2000s, Alternative, Hip Hop
  2. First show? 2006 Warped Tour in Denver with middle school BFF, Michelle
  3. Favorite thing about a live show? Hot dudes
  4. Worst thing? Sweaty assholes
  5. Best show you’ve been to? Kendrick Lamar
  6. Band you’ve seen the most? Fall Out Boy (Shut up!)

Aurelius B. M. – Portland, Oregan:

  1. First show? Modest Mouse/REM at Red Rocks – went with my older sister and brother
  2. Worst thing about live shows? Overwhelming amount of people touching me
  3. Fave bands? Queen, Baroness, Bouncing Souls, Dead Cab for Cutie, Sufjan Stevens
  4. Best show you’ve been to: Bouncing Souls with Emma (Author’s note: That’s me! We were 18 and in Denver. First time we ever got weird to get tix to a sold out show.)
  5. Band you’ve seen the most: Against Me!
  6. Last show before the Great Quar: Flogging Molly

I. P. Freely – Dallas:

  1. First show? The Chicks with my family
  2. Best thing about a live show? DANCING!!!!!
  3. Worst thing? Hearing short people complain about being behind me.
  4. Current obsession: Diggable Planets
  5. First show you went to alone? I saw Wavves and Beach Fossils by myself at The Bottom Lounge (Chicago). I took the train there and felt awkward between the sets lol.
  6. Last show before the Great Quar? Chvrches in Chicago

Mitch E. – Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin:

  1. Fave genres? Punk, house, art/experimental rock
  2. First show? Green Day with my 8th grade best friend
  3. Fave Bands: Tim Hecker, The Knife, Daft Punk, Minor Threat, A Tribe Called Quest
  4. Current obsession? The Armed
  5. Best show? Father John Misty
  6. First show you went to alone? I went to Iceage by myself at 24 since I couldn’t conjure any friends’ interest to buy a ticket.

Yours Truly – Sheridan, Wyoming:

  1. Fave genres? Punk, post punk, country, 90s indie rock
  2. First show? Sesame Street Live in Billings, MT. I went with my swim lessons BFF Ty.
  3. Best thing about a live show? Watchings bands at the top of their craft
  4. Worst thing? Shitty sound systems and lower back pain
  5. Fave bands: Teenage Bottlerocket, Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem, The Weakerthans, Beyonce
  6. Current obsession: The Cramps, Edgar Wright directed soundtracks
  7. Best show? Dropkick Murphys (got to dance on stage)
  8. Band I’ve seen the most? Teenage Bottlerocket
  9. First show you saw alone? NOFX in Billings when I was 17. I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me. My mama dropped me off.
  10. Last show before the Great Quar? Flatfoot56

Thank you to all my friends who submitted answers for me! I hope to use them in future pieces. And for the folks that made it to the bottom of the list, I hope you found a few new tunes to explore and to add to your “Bands I Can’t Wait to See Live” list.

Emma is a former (and sometimes) Democratic political operative. When not on a campaign, Emma is focused on writing timely pieces on culture, punk music, and spooky run-ins. After writing hours, Emma can be found mouthing off, watching baseball, and reading Stephen King. Emma is currently located in an antelope laden field in Wyoming. Find dated, pop culture references on her Twitter, @enlaurent, or read her other work at emmalaurent.com

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