Thursday was my last day working for the man. I got home from signing the paperwork saying I was no longer employed by the company that has given me everything over the past nine years, got home, and just melted in a way. I was overwhelmed by emotions. Feeling terrified, excited, proud, sad– I was getting hit by every feeling in the world so I was more than thankful that there was an epic show in town to help get me through this strange (albeit thrilling) time.
The one and only chance I’ve ever gotten to see Negative Approach was back in November 2017. It was the final show at the legendary Triple Rock Social Club and I was an emotional wreck that night like I was on Thursday. It’s kind of strange that this band keeps popping up on nights like those but I won’t complain. The amount of power that Negative Approach brings to a stage is more than enough to make you forget anything else going on in your life so I just stood back and took it all in on Thursday night as they pushed through their opening set. Considered to be among the pioneers of hardcore punk, Negative Approach has a very commanding aura about them. Although definitely showing their age with the way that the members really didn’t do all of that much moving, it felt as though this band seriously has not missed a single step since they started back in 1981. Like the rest of the line-up, Negative Approach is legendary and that’s the feeling you got as you watched them open up the Thursday night show.
Thinking back, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen 7 Seconds perform before Thursday night. I know I’ve seen Kevin Seconds, their vocalist, play solo before but I honestly don’t remember ever seeing the full band and getting the full effect so I was full of excitement and anticipation as the band took the stage. Aging out Negative Approach by just one year, 7 Seconds is another super legendary band in the punk scene but they are so much more than just a punk band. There are elements of hardcore in their music, elements of metal, hell, even some folksy elements in some of Kevin Seconds’ vocals. They are one of those bands whose sound is all over the place but always so distinctively that of 7 Seconds. Much like Negative Approach, their set seemed to fly by. Maybe it was because of the songs being short and punchy, or maybe it was just all of that anticipation I had been feeling prior to their set, regardless, it felt like they were on and off of the stage within the blink of an eye.
As if seeing Negative Approach and 7 Seconds wasn’t enough to make Thursday night memorable, the Circle Jerks closed out the night and really proved their power as one of the OG punk bands that just will not give up. Formed in 1979, Circle Jerks, like the other acts, are absolutely legendary. Their album ‘Group Sex’ is monumental in the punk scene and, although a few last behind because of the pandemic, this current tour was an ode to that 1980 album and the band’s 1982 release, ‘Wild in the Streets’. I still remember when I stumbled upon this band. I was too young to know that their name is a bit obscene but I was old enough to know that I loved every track on whatever mixtape I had found from them. Honestly, I think that Circle Jerks may be the reason I went the way I did in life musically. They are loud, the songs were quick, they packed a punch, they were political, a bit raunchy at times– they were everything that I wasn’t and I loved it.
Just like the previous two acts, I feel like you could absolutely see the age of this band but rightfully so since they have been around since 1979. Even though you could see their age, you couldn’t feel it. The band blasted into their set and powered through a thirty-three-song set that could have lasted another forty songs without a single complaint from anyone in the audience. The energy on stage was met by the energy in the audience. Sweaty and a bit of a cluster, the entire audience was either reliving their youth or experiencing this legendary band for the first time and it led to an amazing show of power from the audience that my words will never be able to do justice.
Finding time between tracks to address the crowd, vocalist Keith Morris let his personality shine in the spotlight. Funny and quirky but clearly all about the music and the history, just hearing him talk was a dream come true. I know I saw this band last year out at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas but there was something different about seeing them in the more intimate space that is First Avenue. It really personalized this larger-than-life musician and made him feel just a bit more real to me which, in turn, made the music hit just a little bit harder throughout their set.
As much fun as it was watching history being laid out on the stage, it was just as fun to watch the reaction from the audience. As I suspected, the crowd was older and full of people that I really hadn’t seen much of since the Triple Rock days. I lost count of how many friend reunions I had witnessed and loved that. There was just such a feeling of love and family throughout the audience while keeping the hardcore edge that comes with music like this. People were aggressive yet polite in the pit and, by the time it was all said and done, people were leaving the venue covered in sweat with a giant smile on their faces.
I’ve talked about seeing legendary acts before and I know that’s a term I can tend to use loosely because I just love so many musicians so much but last night was truly a line-up full of legendary acts and musicians. Seeing the history of punk and hardcore music playing out in a venue that I consider my home away from home was a damn good way to end my Thursday and a perfect way to kick off my new life of being completely self-employed.
Venue: First Avenue
Average Age of the Crowd: 54
Crowd Surfers- 7 Counted
Mosh-ability- 10 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 8 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $6
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Bodies, Drinks, Shirts
Fights- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Negative Approach – 1
7Seconds – 0
Circle Jerks – 1
Celebrity Sightings – Members of Dillinger Four
Overall Score- 9.7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Greet Death / Infant Island / Dead History
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