Last night, I went to see The Tossers, one of my my favorite Celtic Punk bands. Definitely not a band cut from the same cloth as everyone else. They combine a traditional Irish sound with slacker lyrics and punk attitude. The end result is a great time. I could bore readers with a play by play of their show, but I won’t. If you’re really interested, check them out on YouTube. (If you have Amazon Prime, their entire catalog is available for free download.) As much as I enjoy the band, that’s not the point this morning. The point is how once again I am amazed at how a community works together.
The show was at Atlanta’s The Masquerade, which I have written about to the point of nausea. Sorry, it’s 1) convenient and 2) has a steady stream of bands that I like playing there. Last night’s show was in the recently renovated Purgatory club, which now has more room, but is still similar to playing in a closet that smells like week old spilled beer. I have to admit, that for the crowd that was present (maybe 75 to 80 folks), it was perfect.
It was in this perfectly picked place in time time and geography that I observed chaos move into a finely choreographed ballet. As the three opening bands (all of which where very loud hardcore punk) performed and the audience moshed, listened and enjoyed, there was no derision noted. It was as if everything that happened during this time was hand selected and designed to fit seamlessly. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a huge fan of hardcore punk. Some bands were pretty good and some were not. That’s not the point. The point was the unity and harmony in the midst of chaos and violence. It never ceases to amaze me that something that is viewed by outsiders as ugly and mean is in reality an expression of brotherhood.
I watched the crowd as much as the bands through the night. There evidence of animosity towards anyone. Even when someone was knocked to the floor by an errant elbow, they were immediately helped to their feet and encouraged to continue moshing. I got flipped off dozens of times, each time by smiling, laughing and happy concert goers who saw it as more of a way to engage a stranger than as an insult.
By the time The Tossers took the stage, the crowd was sweat soaked and weary, but they took to the floor one more time. I had never seen people mosh to traditional Irish music before, but this crowd kicked into high gear anytime the musical tempo increased. I even saw a guy who must have weighed 220lbs stage drive and crowd surf. There was magic in the air and it was obvious.
At the end of the night, I observed hugs between crowd members as we all went our separate ways. I thought about the differences between what I had observed at the show and the behaviors that run rampant online. I stick to my belief that internet trolls and bullies need to spend more time at concerts and less time online. I think it would make them happier people and the world a better place.