Last night, I went to see “Sublime” (in quotation marks because without Brad Nowell, it’s really not Sublime). Don’t ask me why. I figured it would be a fun trip down memory lane – an inebriated dance party with attractive suburban bros and their overweight, cargo-short-wearing female friends. I was mostly right; there were a lot of cute guys there, and that kid Rome, the frontman for this new incarnation of the band, was actually really great – but overall, the experience served as my annual reminder that I fucking hate going to concerts that are standing room only.
Why, might you ask? I’ll tell you.
First of all, when I went to the bar before the show started to get a beer, the female bartender told me to “just relax” like she was worried I was going to hop the bar and bottle her so that I could get my Budweiser faster. Clearly, out of a huge crowd of borderline skinheads from Lodi, NJ, I stood out to her as the concertgoer that was most at risk of snapping and inciting a riot – but never mind. I guess a girl isn’t allowed to rock back and forth on her heels while she waits at the bar. So I stood still and waited. And waited.
Finally, beer in hand, I made my way back to my group of friends, who were standing in the perfect spot: right by the gates at the back of the venue, nice and close to the bar and the bathroom – you know, where you can actually breathe and dance. Of course, they weren’t happy with our location – so we started advancing, creeping through the crowd until we were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers in the middle of the room. I have a tendency to get claustrophobic in situations like this, and here’s what didn’t help matters: the fact that I was standing next to a man who looked like a very scary avatar of a human being, replete with skin the color of an under-ripe banana and a shit-ton of gear on his head. I’m talking a fake Louis Vuitton hat, Oakleys, a bandana and an artificial-looking goatee. And such small wrists. How this guy wasn’t schvitzing to death is beyond me. Also beyond me: how he had a girlfriend. Seriously. He looked like a composite photograph of a suspected child molester that an FBI computer churned out, but in human form – and he was with some blonde biddy who was all over him. And on my other side? A teeny, tiny couple, both coming in at around 5’2” and looking like something out of Twilight. The boy, specifically, had greasy black hair that was plastered to his pasty face and a little diamond earring…and he was getting some TAIL, let me tell you. So that was a bummer. But at least these neighbors were providing a little bit of amusement to distract me from the fact that I couldn’t feel my feet.
Of course, halfway through the show, we just HAD to move forward again – right to where the crowd had started to mosh. I mean, I was literally standing one person back from the edge of the mosh pit, which is, oh, I don’t know, the WORST PLACE I COULD’VE BEEN STANDING besides IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOSH PIT. And these kids were going HARD. So shirtless. So sweaty. So violent. Fascinatingly, while I was standing there thinking to myself, “wow, you couldn’t pay me enough to go in the middle of that crowd,” quite a few slack-jawed, black-short-sleeved-t-shirt-wearing boys pushed past me, right into the fray. They were literally desperate to get into the pit – and far was it from me to stop them. Sublime hasn’t played since Nowell died; this was a big deal. I got it.
The person I DID take issue with, though – and I hope she gets to read this someday, because she taught me that it is possible to hate someone I’ve never really met, an important lesson for me to have learned – was a girl who insisted on crowd surfing FOREVER. And I mean the kind of crowd surfing where she was being flung 3 feet above us, completely unconcerned about the fact that she was probably causing severe brain damage to the people whose heads she was kicking wherever she went. She punched me in my skull roughly five times, and at one point actually used my neck as the anchor from which she got back to surfing after hitting the ground at around 60 mph. I wanted to stab her in the throat. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one, as evidenced by the fact that every time she was hurled into my neck of the woods, she ended up tumbling to the floor, probably breaking a number of bones in the process. Her fun ended when she came around us for the umpteenth time and I was lucky enough to get to watch her fall in slow motion for about six feet and then land on her tailbone. I was concerned that she had broken her back, because she was laying completely still for a good five seconds, but then she hopped up back like something out of “The Crazies” and yelled at a guy to pick her up. He refused, she staggered off into the hub and I didn’t see her again – but the look on her face when she got back up was downright disturbing. Like a zombie. Even today, sober, I am worried about that girl’s personal wellbeing – but no one has posted anything about a girl breaking her neck at the Sublime concert (trust me, I’ve checked), so I guess everything worked out okay. Which I guess I’m a little sad about.
Anyway, at long last, the show ended, and we started to file out of the venue towards the door. Apparently, if you’re a guy and you listen to Sublime, it’s perfectly acceptable to elbow girls in the face like you’re a middle-aged Orthodox Jewess at a Daffy’s sale (you learn something new every day). Aside from feeling like I was going to get bumrushed while going through the gate, I made it out okay and had a very pleasant rest of the evening recovering at a friend’s house (even though I didn’t get the slice of pizza that I had been saving for after the show because a drunk girlfriend-of-a-friend’s-friend got to it first, damnit).
Where was I going with this? Oh, right – I’m glad I’m alive. I think, though, that from now on, I’ll stick to listening to music like this in safer, more comfortable surroundings, where there is virtually no risk of having my nose broken by a Bridge and Tunnel wastoid who took too much E.