I went to see a NOFX show last Tuesday. Swamped in work, starving for sustenance, and stewing in stress from the next day’s schedule, I somehow managed to have a good time for a few hours. An empty belly can be temporarily subdued with enough nicotine and punk rock.
I had a hell-hound of a day on the horizon, but this didn’t faze me for an instant. I’d done it before. The last time I saw the band I was 18 years old and I had a similar pressure on me for the next day’s performance. In fact, I would argue more pressure.
It was the night before my final exam of high school and my entrance to university was somewhat dependent on my domination of that geometry final. Good thing I went to the show, because I kicked ass the next morning. The rest is history. Cliché!
This time it was a bit easier. Only a new class in the AM, a pressure-cooker called duel demo lessons somewhere far outside the reaches of the city. But this time I could walk home from the show in under 20 minutes, instead of a two-hour bus ride … So I had that going for me.
And it worked again. No problems, just overheating during my commute. I would catch up with my sleep and fill my belly properly within a few days of the ordeal. It just took too long to wind down.
Back at the venue we were doing fine. We stewed ourselves in Pilsner before the curtain rose and decided on another two drinks before the boys hit the stage. The venue was even nicer this time: a small little club where we started the show 5 kids deep and could smell the sweat of the band. There’s no way I’d see them this intimately at home. It didn’t even come close six years ago (though the opening band was better that time).
I had my nose smashed the second song in, but it didn’t matter. That was Murder the Government for those keeping score. Ah, the old familiar feeling of pit face – it brings me back. I wish I could recall a set-list but I can’t really. I may try to at the end.
For the last few years, every time I go to a show I anticipate that I won’t step foot in the pit. Every time. Yet, every time I end up in there for at least a few tunes. This time I was in for most of the show.
There’re few bands on this planet that I enjoy belting along with as much as NOFX, and in times like these, one needs the experience now and again … if it can be handled. Thankfully, my youth prepared me for the punk rock pit in full, so there were no worries, only utter enjoyment. There is no better way to forget your troubles then to dance around in the pit; there is no better therapy. It’s not about violence – instead it’s more like community. Everyone else around you is doing the same thing, but for their own reasons (or problems). It’s simply a group of like-minded people enjoying the music and utilizing the cathartic release of the experience. Everyone should have the opportunity to do something like this from time-to-time. It just keeps you sane.
There is something so satisfying and gratifying about bouncing around, jumping up and down, throwing a fist in the air, and singing along as loud as your lungs will let you to the rebellious songs of your youth. Like I said, my window for getting away with it is closing horribly fast. This may, in fact, be my last proper punkrock pit, and I recognized that. I was sure as hell going to enjoy it. There were a lot of moments I’ll never recall from that show, but dancing my way to the front of the stage while screaming along to Linoleum as loud as I could is going to be with me for the rest of my days and – at the very least – every time I hear that track.
The club was tiny, we had a smoke break during one of the slower songs, our bellies were full of beer, and we stopped off for a post-show pivo before calling it a Tuesday night. It took no time to make it to my front door, and I smelt like sweat and beer. I couldn’t have been happier.
It won’t be my last show, but it might be one of my last shows like that. One of the last times I can get away with doing the exact same thing I would’ve done when I was sixteen. It’s bittersweet, really. But if it had to happen, I’m glad it happened the way it did.
I think that’s really all I have to say today.