"What's your favorite show ever?"

People often ask me what my favorite show over the years has
been; and almost every time my answer changes. More often than not it’s my very
first punk rock show; and to this day the sketchiest show I’ve ever been to,
maybe it was just the fact that I was 14 at the time.

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Sometimes I reference the first and only time I saw the
Ramones (they played all their classics at double time in the course of an hour
at an amazing venue).

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And still other times it’s the first Warped Tour, an event that
infused skateboarding (a huge halfpipe and a street skate area being shredded
by the day’s top pro skaters)and punk rock ( like 15 bands)! The world had yet
to see anything like it back then (I know I sure-in-as-hell hadn’t) and it was
all
indoors to boot!

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Sometimes I say the first show I put together myself. It was
a couple of friends’ bands and a regional act at a dingy little dive bar across the
street from an art college in my hometown. (As evidenced by this awesome flier)
We did such a good job promoting the show somewhere around 200 people showed
up.
  The cops came, shut the bar down (as
we were almost all under age) and the whole show got moved between sets to a
friend’s film screening in a 3
rd rate gym in an industrial park 5
miles away. My cut of the door that night was a 24 pack of Milwaukee’s Beast if
I remember correctly (like a sack full of gold in those days).

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I could go on and on and on with the first this or
that.
  And yet still I haven’t even
mentioned the appropriately/inappropriately named “Good Times Tour” with 7 Seconds, Unwritten Law, Sprung Monkey and a then unknown Blink 182.

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After 5 minutes of mediocre-at-best tuneage, opening act
Sprung Monkey was booed off the stage in a hail of bottle caps, shoes, plastic
cups and lit cigarette butts.
  Looking
back, Blink 182 went over surprisingly well, but during Unwritten Law’s set the
show erupted into a full blown bouncers-vs.-audience-riot when (center stage) a
meathead security guard Undertaker-style choke slammed a teenage girl onto her
head.
 Unwritten Laws’s drummer (sticks
in hand) was the first into the fray followed by every burly security guy and
every able-bodied man, woman and child in the crowd. In a thick fog of pepper
spray, the thirst for blood was only quelled by one Kevin Seconds' plea for
peace and promise of a show without the security staff altogether. Immediately
following, the members of 7 Seconds took the stage (with Unwritten Law’s
amazingly undamaged equipment) and played the most aggressive shit-busting set
I had/have ever seen.

  Then there are the
undeniable performances from the likes of the Subhumans (UK!), Guttermouth,
Youth Brigade, Stiff Little Fingers, Valient Thorr, Street Dogs and that list
could stretch on for miles and miles. Like I was saying earlier, “What’s the
best show you’ve ever been to?” is possibly the worst question to ask me. But,
since we’re on the topic (and my short attention span disorder is in high gear)
here’s my answer for today: The best show I’ve ever been to was Red Scare’s
Oktoberfest at the Subterranean Chicago. It happened about a year ago, and the
lineup was some band I’ve never heard of (sorry if you guys are reading this),
Teenage Bottlerocket (who I’d never seen as I missed their Riot Fest
performance) and a “surprise headliner”. I was sold on just seeing TBR (for my
money I’ll take Cody as vocalist for my fantasy band any day) , and the
possibility of an interview .
  The
interview went far better than expected (my
first  interview with duel vocalists); Ray was cool,
but I half expected Cody to dodge me since as far back as his days with the
Lillingtons I had only seen sporadic and vague interviews from him over the
years; I kinda figured he was a shy guy going into our interview. And I was
right, but somehow my half drunk/fully obnoxious personality warmed the cockles
of his heart just a bit (I guess) and we ended up chatting like old friends.
Between my chat with the band and their 4 chord onslaught of a performance, my
punk rock cravings we’re satisfied for the day. But wait there’s more, who were
these surprise headliners anyway? At some point in our conversation the boys
from TBR spilled the beans that the Lawrence Arms were the guests of honor and
to be honest I wasn’t all that thrilled at the news. I know this isn’t going to
win me any popularity contest , but at that point I had only seen the Larry
Limbs once opening for NOFX about 6 years prior (and heard a few tracks off of
comps) and wasn’t all that impressed. But, seeing how I was wasted the only
other time I’d seen them and didn’t have much else going on that afternoon
(don’t get me started on matinee shows) , I said “fuck it” and gave’em a second
chance. And boy am I glad I did. Initially, as the band took the stage it
appeared as if co-front man Brendan Kelly was feigning drunkenness (as in
sloshed, obliterated, faded, off-his-ass drunk), by the second song in it was
abundantly obvious he wasn’t faking. For those of you who haven’t seen the
videos of the show yet, I’ll stop there and I’ll finish with this: For the
state Mr. Kelly was in, the performance didn’t suffer a bit. What was lost in
technical proficiency was more than made up in sheer entertainment value! See for
yourself:


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If you ask me tomorrow……


Now, What's your favorite show?


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