Rock never die.
A friend of mine used to say that back when we were in school, hanging out at the 9th floor with his guitar in hand.
Last weekend I witnessed this fact when I went to watch my friend Nigel play at the Esplanade. It was a reunion of his old band, Steel City Skies, and also a set by his new band, If.
Now, the first thing I noticed when I got there was the crowd. There was Nigel, playing his heart out like he was rocking to a thousand-strong crowd at The Brixton Academy when in actuality, I could probably count the number of people there with my fingers and toes. What struck me though, was also the age group; there were men and women in their 30s and kids that were probably barely 10 years old. Granted, there were a few teens but not enough to constitute any sort of young-ish crowd.
Strange? I thought so.
In any case, I watched on as they played and then Bhaskar did a solo set, during which time I had a kid run past me being chased by his dad. Only difference? I knew the guy.
The dad, not the kid.
There he was, beer in hand, grunged-up berms and a Jason Newsted undercut circa 1989.
And carrying his kid in his arms.
I had definitely seen the dude before and I think we even moshed once at a Boredphucks gig at Moods back in the day. He still looked the same, albeit a little older, heavier and more creased (if ever a human being could be creased.)
But that wasn’t what scared me.
What scared me was that he seemed to be looking at me too, and what scared me about that was that it looked like he had the same thoughts about me I was having about him.
We had grown.
In that moment, we both turned away, ostensibly to revert out attention to Bhaskar’s singing but more, I think, to avoid the inevitable “meet, greet and talk shit about the old days thereby making us feel older” process.
As Bhaskar finished up and Nigel and the boys came out to play out their last few songs, I found myself getting back into the music and thinking – maybe it wasn’t so bad. I mean, we just went away and got older but the situation’s still the same, right? True, we weren’t crowd surfing at Moods but here we were, at yet another gig, listening to another local band rocking out another local set.
And we were enjoying it.
I had the pleasure of meeting one of my heroes once, a musician named Henry Rollins, and he told me that he wants to rock till he ceases to exist. He told me he’d stopped getting tattoos just so that when he’s 60, he’s still got space for more.
I totally dig that.
I guess whatever the age, whatever the situation, we should always find time to rock out. Nothing beats live music and I will continue going to gigs whenever I can, not only to support the local bands, but to be a part of the immortality of music; and whenever I’m a at a gig, all I need to see are the old familiars looking back at me and I’ll know my friend was right all along.
(cue guitar solo)