I did not leave my first punk show a happy camper. That is because someone elbowed me in the face. And that is because I ended up in the middle of a mosh pit no one warned me about. And that is because punk shows are terrifying.
There was a guy in a ski mask, two people wearing butterfly wings, a girl in cat ears and, somehow, I was the one who looked out of place. I don’t know if I was over-dressed or under-dressed, but I was definitely dressed wrong. I showed up to New Brookland Tavern on a Tuesday night — a school night, I might add — in jeggings, white flats, a black blouse and a burgundy sweater.
"Maybe they’ll think I’m wearing this ironically," I thought to myself hopefully. "Maybe they’ll think I’m mocking people who dress like me."
Nope. Pretty sure they just thought I was lost.
It was 8:46 p.m., I had heard zero bands play yet and I already had a headache. So, things were going great. I was perched on a stool that looked like it had been to hell and back, at a tiny table facing the stage. My notepad was blank and my pens were full of ink.
That’s when The Sick started to play. The singer’s hair was so long it covered his face, so I couldn’t see his mouth moving, and it looked like nobody was singing — er, screaming — the lyrics that included the phrases “hide in the shadows” and “burns my skin.”
And this is when I realized just how out of place I was. It was bad enough that I was wearing the wrong clothes and staring around like flabbergasted Muppet, but it hit me that I had no idea what to do with myself. People were dancing. I couldn’t think of one good move to accompany what sounded to me like a STOMP rehearsal gone horribly, horribly wrong.
I relocated to the bar, where I found myself a cushy — albeit, shredded — chair and parked it crisscross applesauce. It was 9:15 p.m., I had heard one band play and I wanted to go to bed. The bartenders were being extra nice to me, probably because of the whole flabbergasted Muppet thing.
I had never heard of the shoegaze genre until that Tuesday, and it was described to me as “well, it’s supposed to sound intentionally low-quality.”
"Crappy on purpose," I thought to myself, hardly believing this night could get any better. "Who wouldn’t love that?"
Lightness is a shoegaze band. The drums sounded like gunshots. I don’t remember much from their set because I kind of huddled inside my cardigan. I’m a baby, I know.
I was ready to leave, but the next band was called Glittoris. So, I stayed. Because, let me say this one more time: the next band was called Glittoris.
That tattered stool at the bar had become my home over the last hour, but I knew I wasn’t getting the full punk show experience there. I threw caution to the wind and bade my new bartender friends goodbye. They looked at me the way a mama bird watches her baby try to fly out of the nest, but then the baby realizes its wings aren’t strong enough and it plummets to its death. I ventured up to the stage. It was time.
The front row wasn’t so bad at first. The music was alarming and I couldn’t understand anything the butterfly-winged singer was screeching, but it wasn’t too bad. I even tolerated some dude knocking into me, even though there was plenty of room for him to stand somewhere else. I was understanding when he knocked into me a second time because, I don’t know, maybe he just really wanted to stand where I was standing.
I lost it when he hit me in the face.
That’s right, folks, the mosh pit had begun. And I was the epicenter. I ran away, retreating to what I thought was a safe distance from the pit of terror. How very wrong I was. The pit of terror grew and got closer to me, and that, dear readers, is when I decided that I would be far safer in bed and ran to my car.
So, if you’re going to NBT on a Tuesday night in the near future, please do not call me. Let this flabbergasted Muppet watch "Jeopardy!" or play Bananagrams with her roommates and go to bed before 10 p.m.
I’ll be safer there.