Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This side, that side, you can't side me

Erich and I were riding back together in my small honda crx. I'd bought the little two door go cart of a car for three hundred dollars and sold it later for five hundred. Making a tidy profit, and leaving my girlfriend's pukey mess on the passenger seat floor for the new owner. I'd picked up Erich who was a year older than me from the albany greyhound station. He was coming home for christmas vacation, or something to spend time with his family. He put on one of his casette tapes, a punk mix with the band Crass on it.

I bought my first Crass cd at a record store in albany. It took me forever to find the record store, being out of the rural area that I was from put me out of sorts. I picked up their worst album too, whatever their last one was. I think its "Ten notes on a summer's day" or something like that. Its a conceptual album, an ode to their days of being awesome, and now being just old. Eventually I picked up Best Before 1984. That's when my anarcho punk days really began....

Seven years later, I'm hardly punk. No mohawk, no studded belt, no dye in my hair, nor facial piercings. My denim jacket has been collecting dust for the past year in my closet and when I pulled it out last night I noticed it only had two patches, and one pin. A sorry sight to be seen in for any young rocker. I even had to borrow a bullet belt for the show (although I forgot it anyways).

I'd seen Conflict several years before in 2002 at CBGB's with an Aus Rotten spin off band. I can't remember too much of the show. I think Colin (the lead singer) was wearing sweat pants and the drummer looked like he sat around eating McDonald's all day. Jake, April, and Tony all drove down together and then went out for burritos. Jake and April were nice enough to buy me a burrito.

Conflict has been on tour again. Playing a bunch of different locales in the US, and some in Europe including some pretty sweet looking shows with some other old Anarcho punk bands. I got to the venue (the oakland metro) at eleven. Outside of the little dive hall was a swarm of crusty looking punk kids dressed in black. Inside more leather coats, studs, bad fashion mohawks and all the other signifiers of american conspicious outrage. I caught up with some friends and saw most of the second to last band "Scarred for Life." They played a decent set and I was impressed with the lead singer's facial tattoo. A straight line ran across the top of his cheek bones and over the bridge of his nose. Obviously getting a job in straight society would be pretty difficult after that choice.

Conflict themselves put on a decent show. I'd like to say that I remembered more of their lyrics, but I actually haven't bothered to listen to them in months. Never the less some of their songs sounded familiar and they had a female vocalist to add many of their songs. The crowd was pretty standard fair, there was a forty something year old punk who looked like a rat, and who carried one too (just like he was out of the decline of western civilization), there was a busty, brash punk girl who fondled her boobs and pushed scrawny punk boys out of her way, there was a short napleon who stomped around the pit with his shirt off, and a slew of drunk passed out punks outside of the venue.

I don't go to shows that much anymore. The bands usually suck, its usually pretty boring just standing around (unless your drunk), and music for the most part has lost its edge. The sound goes in and out, the mikes accidentally shut off. There isn't much of a stream lined experience that you get with most technologies, and now we're no longer used to that choas. Where would we be without our electricity? And after twenty years of playing, the passion sounds a little canned, or at least the audience responce to the invocative lyrics. What was once an exciting phenomenon now sounds better on one's home stereo. I guess that's one of the problems of today, everything becomes recuperated, everything turns gray.

The Serenade is Dead
Conflict 1983

She wakes up in the morning; the sun is shining in her face
She turns her head around; she shares the blanket on which the love embraced
She looks out of the window; it's a lovely day outside
She tells herself that things are fine, he pulls the sheets to cover his eyes
The essence of the fresh air, that garden held the love affair
Thinking back their minds are torn in muddle and confusion
So far away another sits, who tries to make the best of it
He don't know quite what's hit him, it's another love illusion
He gazes in his empty room eyes fixed upon her picture
The loneliness, dejectedness, God how the fuck he's missed her
His eyes turn turn to the window, the military roar by
He wonders how much hatred could evolve out of the sky
What God had done for peace on earth, what man destroyed from day of birth
They are concerned with feelings; they're just ashamed to cry
And one mans plan to push the button makes other sacrifice
The serenade is dead and now the only question's why?
Why when we are young, we're told it's right to love
Told it's human nature and that comes from God above
As time moves on we realise that we all look from the pit
While a plan hangs above us, to keep us in the shit
Because the minute we are born, we're told what's right and wrong
Raised with certain morals, never mentioned in their songs
As we grow up, we find out that the paths been neatly set
In a world of such destruction, we only can regret
Regret that is the word of it, as we look for our way out of it
Why can't they understand we don't want any part of it?
The pain they create everyday, that just ain't gonna go away
We've got to stick together, but still you're asking why?
The system stands strong, as our movement starts to crumble
The pressure we once held, has just turned into a rumble
They've got us where they want us, and you all just accept that
Well don't you think its time; we started to hit back
They are the enemy; they want a rope around your neck
And if they will go that far, then what the fuck is next?
Forget the revolution, we've heard it all before
Heard all of the promises of nineteen-eighty-four
Its an impossible task, "oh yes", it stands before us all
Well maybe you'll believe it when your back's against the wall

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