Saturday night found John and I at Ghost Town Gallery here in Oakland. It's our favorite place to see shows because it happens to be 8 blocks from our house, with the appearance of a genuine venue but the price tag of a domestic one. This place is a whole maze of rooms hard to describe with much accuracy except to say that each one smokier than the last and Saturday night it was packed wall to wall, brimming with people.
Through the haze of cigarettes and smoke machines and the booze we'd been sipping, we caught a pretty good show. It was old fashioned boppy punk rock and really, really good. Let's just say that if it hadn't been too crowded to move, I would have been dancing.
I have these moments, for the last year say, where I feel like my head is clearest in the middle of a crowded room like this. I've long wished that there were a typewriter ribbon at the ready in my frontal lobe so that I could record the stream of things flying by up there.
One of the things that I managed to catch and hold onto Saturday night was a little bit about the indescribable energy of that show, contained by the four walls of that big white room. And the related feeling that I was Glimpsing Something Really Important to the Secret of Living. I've had that glimpsing feeling before, but not much since moving here. It makes you feel really lucky, like you're catching something most people will never see and it makes punk feel downright Romantic, in all its croony, catchy, melody-driven manifestations. Amidst sweaty bodies and filthy bathrooms and beer soaked t-shirts, that Ramonesy beat reminds me of being 13 and crushing hard on the Screwballs and knowing hardly anything.
It's a pretty awesome feeling. If it's been awhile, you should go find yourself a packed house show sometime soon and get your shoes a little dirty. It may do you some good.