Lately, I’ve been immersed in music. I am surrounded by a gazillion bands it seems, and friends who know of a million bands. Ten dollar shows abound. There is usually something to do or see on any given night here in Oakland.
Last night was a huge punk show called Subversion at the Metro. It was a three-day fest. I did my part and went to day 2 with some super hot punky girlfriends and was blissfully surprised to find I actually enjoyed a couple of the bands (I didn’t know any of the bands playing that day except one, Scarlet Crimson, who I had seen a number of times before headliners at recent shows including The Mob and Belgrado/Bellicose Minds).
One band, Spectres, reminded me a bit of my exes band, it was that goth punk Joy Divisionesque vibe running rampant in the scene as of late and I really dig it. The drums and bass were amazing, and I totally danced. There’s a good article about the goth gloom vibe in recent punk music here: What is G-Beat?
It mentions a few bands that friends of mine are in or have introduced me to recently that I really dig such as Alaric, Cross Stitched Eyes, Bellicose Minds, Atriarch and basically most of the bands who have been passing through Oakland as of late.
It seems like a good time to be on the West Coast. DIY culture in the form of music is alive and well. I can’t even list all the demos, tape and vinyl rips I’ve been able to access recently, some available here on this awesome site: Terminal Escape
A lot of the bands playing over the three day Subversion fest are up there, today I was able to nab Spectres, Permanent Ruin, Male Nurses, White Wards and Hoax. I bought the new Spectres album. Another song I was listening to all day had nothing to do with those songs. Actually, I would say my two songs of the day are as follows:
It was adorable to see downtown Oakland filled with punks in full regalia. Studs, back clothing, bullet belts, leather, jean jackets, patches, colored hawks, dreads…
The festival itself was cool. Vinyl and cassette tapes are also still alive and well, which makes this ’80s girl happy, if only for sentimental reasons. Not to mention that they both sound better to me than CDs.
As I’m broke as hell due to my dedication to working part-time in order to focus on music, music, writing and music, I’m not able to buy a lot of paraphernalia, and I don’t profess to own any band t-shirts except one I got at crossroads because it looked cool, but I liked walking around handling all the records, and seeing so many bands all in one place. These bands all don’t get paid much of anything to do what they’re doing. It’s also rad to see so many artists completely dedicated to taking their music on the road, continuing to make their music in spite of the current landscape, saying, essentially: Screw the system! We will make music!! Foreva!!
At one point during Spectres show there were a buncha fully decked out fashion punk dudes (studs, colored hawks, face tattoos, eyeliner) standing near my friend and I, glaring intermittently at us and everyone else out of the corner of their eyes. There had been a few kinda normal looking guys walking around the venue through out the night, late 30s, early 40s. OK, maybe two. I was curious about them. Who were they? Did they listen to hardcore death punk and thrash punk music at home while reading literature in between teaching classes at the University? Had they once dressed up to the nines in punk attire as well? And what did the fact that I noticed them out of the entire audience say about the current punk scene’s fashion requirements?
While the hardcore fashion punks started sniffing an unknown substance out of a plastic bag my friend and I looked at them and then at each other and started cracking up. “What would we even talk to them about?” she asked me later as we both decided that we weren’t feeling like any potential future dates were lurking in our vicinity, though it did feel good to be surrounded by so much punk DIY energy in one place. Felt kind of like home. I made a motion with my hands as if I were sniffing something illicit out of a plastic bag and she cracked up, “We could go nab those normal looking guys and talk about li-ter-at-toor,” I said.
It’s fun to be able to go to shows right down the street from my house, have friends who live around the corner and also have the liberty to simply sit in my room all day writing songs, listening to music and doing a kickass yoga workout,as I did today. I mean, yes, I still have that day job, but it’s the best job I’ve had out of any jobs so far (if you read back far enough in this blog, mostly circa 2008, you will find a litany of rants about terrible jobs I held that kept me from doing much music) and people always think it’s SO cool to work at the library even though I know the truth…it’s cool, but it’s also a library.
I don’t have much to complain about except my normal general neurosis which seems much more manageable now that I’m not trying to do so many different things. Realizing I’m only one human being, if I died today I would rest happy knowing I spent as much time as I could with my favorite people, working on music and writing every single day, listening to a lot of ass kicking local music and roaming the hills whenever possible.
Not to sound like the antichrist or anything, but not having a relationship also seems to be pretty effective for making a crap load of art. I’m not sure how I’ll someday work that equation back in, but after being married nine years I think I’m OK with not looking right now. My ex-husband said to me recently, “You didn’t have time for a relationship.” That’s either real sad, real modern, or means I’m simply real focused and would someday benefit from finding someone who was also real focused, and we could meet sometimes in the middle somewhere. When not touring or recording or working. Yea, modern life. There you go.