For the second night in as many months, I found myself back at Festival Hall taking in a mid-week gig. I pride myself on the fact that pushing 30 and also a pram, I can still rock on school night! The gig was politico punks Rise Against. They would be one of the better exponents expressing what the punk ethos and sound should be like in the year 2011. If you had shown a video of them to Joe Strummer in the mid-70's and said "This is Punk...in the Future" I would assume he would be happy... perhaps only questioning why future punk did not feature all-in-one ripped silver bodysuits. Think Cathy Freeman 2000 Olympics, but mauled by a small Lion. Anyway, Rise Against are doing a fine job in keeping it real. The kids are listening... literally.
This gig, like the previous one, had a good representation of the younger generation. A generation of which I am slowly drifting apart, like Tasmania from mainland Australia. Occasionally, I find myself on-board the ferry of culture and can observe what the youth are up too. The kids are getting to gigs alot younger than I was. I was amazed at random 13 year olds chaperoned by their Dads to the previous screamo gig. It was immpresive on many accounts, not least Accountant Dad ditching the tie and donning a 'snazzy' pullover to accompany Jnr to the 'thrash band concert'. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be sprinklings of these Dad's (and some Mum's) paitently sitting and observing. Their offsping would be clad in slightly oversized and crisply ironed black attire of dissent, expressing their teen angst from the confines of a general admin seat next to their Dad. I guess supervised rebellion is still rebellion.
Perhaps in the same way they serparate the underage and drinkers, promoters could create a Parents Cage where Kids could drop there Mums and Dad's off until the gig is over and they need a lift home. In this soundproof space, the parent can mingle with like minded adults over complimentary tea and biscuits whilst discussing how to best remove eyeliner from their son's pillow case.
However, my heart was soon softened to this notion of Kids at Koncerts ( also the name of a Danish elctropop duo) by the family I saw at Rise Against. They came into the front rows led by Dad in that old rock fashion staple ; the polar fleece. Mum was in tow, obviously coming straight from the admin job for a night of anthemic rock therapy. The 11 yr old son appeared excited by the potential of the night, but his earmuffs didn't suggest someone who was keen to let Tim McIlrath's vocals and guitar tickle his aural senses. Then I spotted her. No more than 9 years old. Head moving around like a tennis umpire, taking in the scene. This was the person that had chosen Rise Against and Sick of it All as the location for the next family outing?! Better than Plaster Funhouse anyday! No earmuffs like her big brother, and her little black Rise Against hoodie looked loved more than Dad's polar fleece. A uniquely cool little girl at young age, but how did the music find her?
I tried to watch her for the rest of the night but lost her among the sea of mobile phones determined to record a moment for later review, lest they absorb it now. Towards the end of their ripper,punchy and impressive set, Rise Against played Architects from their latest offering 'End Game'. This song has anthem written all over it (except for the title or actual lyric sheet). McIlrath growls the killer lyric that has been shacking up in my conscience ever since I first heard it;
"Don't you remember when you were young, and you wanted to set the world on fire?"
Inspired by that little girl and drunk on the sound of political punk at its best; I did.