Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Psychobilly Punk

I have the best therapist ever. Yes, I have a therapist. Doesn’t everyone these days? I am totally stressed out and she was asking me how I can relieve some of that stress. I normally exercise when I am stressed. But this stoopid hernia has kept me from breaking a sweat. The therapist recommended I have a drink with friends, get a massage, and get out of the house more whether for work or play. Dayum, I like her!!

So yesterday late in the afternoon, a friend of mine emailed me about going out last night. My friend’s name is Jeff, but in order to protect the innocent, let’s call him Geoff. Much better. Geoff is almost 40. He has a brother that is in a punk band out of Austin. They are called Pickled Punk and actually label their music as psychobilly. Turns out Pickled Punk was on tour and had a gig late last night in a punk versus psychobilly battle of the bands. I decided I should follow my therapist’s advice and said I’d go.

Eight groups would be playing at a place called Wasteland.

This picture makes it look a lot nicer than it is. I didn’t even know this shitty neighborhood existed. The venue was a cross between a shed and a garage. It was attached to what looked like a crack house.

Geoff and I had to be the oldest guys there by at least ten years. And you may or may not have noticed that I don’t really look very punk. I don’t have enough hair to do cool tricks with it, nor do I have massive amounts of tattoos and piercings, nor do I paint my face and arms, nor do I have a closet full of punk. I showed up in a pair of jeans, my chucks, a t-shirt, a baseball cap and a twelve pack of Tecate.

Normally these people stand out in a crowd. Last night, it was Geoff and I that stood out like sore thumbs. Especially when I’d whip out my iPhone to snap pictures.

The music was really good. And of course, the people watching was top-notch. The punkers were cool and we met a bunch of them. Some guy with black paint over his eyes like a bandit’s mask introduced himself to me as Frog. And we met all the guys in Geoff’s brother’s band. And some muscle head dude from ‘out east’ was in town to visit his kid. He talked to us a lot between forays of arms swinging and punching in the mosh pit.

The whole punk mosh pit thing is a cool phenomenon. It looks like they are beating on each other, but actually it is controlled chaos. If someone gets knocked down, they are immediately helped up by whoever is closest. And it is perfectly acceptable to be standing on the fringes and give a few hearty shoves in the back to anyone getting too close.

As I stood there drinking my Tecate, jamming to the music and watching the moshers enough to be sure I didn’t catch an elbow, I thought to myself, “Self, it is midnight Tuesday and I am drinking shitty beer in a nasty shed in the bowels of Denver with a bunch of hopped up twenty something punk rockers and my friend Geoff the corporate lawyer.” I gotta tell you a reasonable man may have said, “What the fuck,” and removed himself from the situation. Of course, I popped open another Tecate and pushed Geoff into the mosh pit. I have never seen him move so fast as he immediately retreated back to the safety of the fringes.

Finally at about 12:45a, Geoff’s brother’s band played. They were the headliner. I wasn’t shocked at all when his brother changed into a pink pull over dress and proceeded to rock the house.

I tried to think of any other situation I knew of where two siblings could be more different. As Geoff’s brother let the pink dress slip to his ankles while he screamed lyrics in the most rank looking formerly whitey (they were dishwater gray) tighty undies, I took a few steps back to avoid the cinder blocks being thrown on the floor from the stage. I looked at Geoff standing there in his Fedora and then at his brother singing on stage while empty cans of Pabst were thrown at his head and I wondered how in the world those two boys were from the same womb.

Geoff and his brother are clearly living in different worlds. They only talk a few times a year. I watched Geoff watching his brother. He was smiling ear to ear. And when his brother screamed from the stage, “My brother is here,” the two of them raised arms to each other and had a brotherly moment amongst the chaos. It was cool.

And then somebody fell on a set of drums and I saw Frog nursing a bloody lip and punkers were throwing more cans at the band and Geoff’s brother pulled his dress back up and chunks of cinder blocks were being kicked around.

The Pickled Punks rocked. Geoff had brotherly bonding. Per my therapist’s advice, I found a way to relieve some stress. And best of all, we didn’t get knifed!