I took my wife to see Rancid last summer. Not the most romantic of outings I must say but she hardly ever comes to any gigs despite me always inviting her. I was quite surprized when she accepted but she said she wanted to see what the attraction for the show was. Ghost Of A Chance was the new single at the time. I played it to her a few times before we went.
She’d never been to a punk rock show before.
So off into town we went. We played the ‘spot who else is going’ game on the tube. We got through ticketing and went to the bar. Within the time it took me to buy us two drinks she’d started making friends and we sat at a table in a small roped off area talking to people from all over.
We hung out with couple of guys from the support act in the bar who were a a lot of fun and my Dropkick Murphy’s T-shirt got the odd shout of ‘Hello Murphy!” from passing fellow fans. Mrs ForTheDeaf was having a great time.
Then we went through to the pit to watch the band. OK, I know they’re not in their first flush of youth, but Rancid are a very big deal in certain circles. It was lively in there. They played a mixed set of old and new. One of the biggest responses they got was for Ghost Of A Chance from their latest album Troublemaker. She had a crack at singing along. I hollered every word I knew.
It seemed strange watching a band like Rancid through my wife’s eyes. She’s never been a punk fan. She doesn’t really know any of their songs and she doesn’t know the context or the history of what’s going down. She’d never seen a circle pit before in person (we hung back, she was awaiting knee surgery).
The set finished with the big hits and there was much dancing. From the insane in front of the stage surfing to the mosh, to the skanking section in the middle ground to the heavily inked couples bopping about arm in arm next to us.
At the end of the show I asked her what she though. She said she loved the sense of community. She really liked the way everyone looked after each other. The kinship of those who look fierce and different to the norm is palpable stood in the throng of a punk show. She thought the music was OK and the band had surprisingly good voices. But the message… She could see why I felt I wanted to be part of that. And she might come along next time I go to see someone as ‘you meet the most lovely people’.
Punks not Dead. But it is dead polite.