I just had to fit one last show in until the trek to Chicago for the always exhausting, yet always amazing, Riot Fest weekend. While my friends surely were packing and getting ready for the trip, I found myself lost in a crowd surrounded by like minded people. The misfits, the punks, the metalheads, everyone showed up to First Avenue last night to appreciate the sounds that flowed off the stage last night and the ideas that, in someway or another, we all subscribe to in our own ways.
The main reason I decided I just couldn’t miss Wednesday night’s show was because of H2O. Although I’ve never caught them headline a show, I’ve caught them opening up for other acts before and, if that’s all I can get, that’s what I’ll take. H2O is a legendary hardcore punk band that got started in the mid 90’s over in New York City. They have seven albums which each one seemingly better than the last and although they haven’t released a full length since 2015, they are still one of the more relevant bands out there. There’s something so positive about H2O, their music, and their message. A firm believer in the “you do you and just be a good person” movement, I couldn’t help but just stand there stunned as they played through the songs that repeat through my head on a daily basis. Their set was just over thirty minutes which definitely wasn’t enough for me but, as mentioned, I’ll take what I can get.
From high jumps to drummer Pat Thetic’s crazy and entertaining faces, Anti-Flag may have been opening the show against a very legendary band but that didn’t stop them from giving the audience a top shelf show. That’s one of the things I have always admired about this band. No matter how many times I see them and no matter where they are at on a line-up, they give you everything they have and never leave any energy left on the table.
The audience was eating up every single note from every single band but there seemed to be a new sense of fury that hit the crowd as Pennywise took the stage. You could feel that this band meant everything to some people in the audience and it made for a beautiful atmosphere. Although I’m not one of those people that obsesses over this band, their influence and importance is not lost on me and I loved being able to stand back and just watch all of that admiration unfold in the moshpit. Sure, you could call the audience rowdy but it was a polite kind of rowdy. The main message of last night’s show was that we are all just a little weird and that’s okay. The bottom line is, in such a crazy world, punk shows are one place where you can come, be yourself, do what you want, and there will be no judgement. This is something many bands try to preach but I feel like some bands fall a bit short on. Pennywise is not one of those bands. They didn’t have to say anything, there was just something about their performance and the energy they were giving off that said it all.
My friends are probably all packed and ready to go. I’ve been throwing random clothes in a backpack in between writing thoughts down for this blog. I’ll surely leave something important at home and I have yet to even find someone to check in on the cats even though I’ll be leaving right after I post this. I just had to slip one more show in before heading out of town and it’s clear that it was the right decision. I’m truly thankful I didn’t miss the show last night.