Monday, October 10, 2011

There's Never A Dull Moment At Riot Fest

Riot Fest was this weekend and the bartender and I attended, as we do every year, because apart from getting to see a whole lot of excellent bands at the one music festival that is indoors, it is also some of the best people watching of the year. This is the same festival where I nearly incited an actual riot by wearing a shirt which read "I should be in the kitchen" last year, and the one where we saw a guy come out of the pit with his eye socket crushed the year before that.

This year we showed up for the last four bands at the Congress on Saturday night. Almost immediately we saw an 18 year old kid walking around in a TSOL shirt and the bartender had his first chance to get his damn-kids-get-off-my-lawn on. "Please, that band broke up before that kid was even born," he lamented (sort of, in that no original members were left after 1990). We headed down to our usual spot (down near the front to the far right of the stage, near the beer and away from the pit, with the rest of the old people) just in time for Strike Anywhere.

Just a note for my friends who don't frequent punk rock shows: the pit is a space generally right in front of the stage where people basically slam into one another on purpose, which is allegedly fun. A circle pit is a space either there or just behind there where these same people frantically run around in a circle while slamming into each other on purpose, and bears a strong resemblance to a stampede of jacked up apes. This is also apparently fun. Anyone can go slam/run around in these spaces BUT it is important to be prepared for the fact that as you are slamming into people, other individuals will also be slamming into you, and you'd better damn well be prepared for it. There are no safe zones in the pit. Those are the rules. This is why I found it hilarious when the weirdo guy with the Santa Claus beard who was standing still in the middle of the circle pit waving his arms like he was directing traffic got noticed by one of the stampeders, who promptly ran directly at him at full speed and knocked him flat on his ass. (Side note to the other people in the circle pit: the reason your circle fell apart is because you started it at the beginning of a four minute long song. No one wants to keep running for four whole minutes. You know the songs. Pick a shorter one next time you assclowns.)

As Leftover Crack took the stage, our safe zone away from the pit was invaded by a lone lunatic, who created a one man pit for himself by pacing back and forth like a lion stalking its prey and intermittently hugging random people while screaming into their face. He was hilarious, but his flailing around reminded me that the bartender hasn't fully recovered from his surgery. Even on the sidelines things can happen, so I took the opportunity to position myself on his left side at a slight angle, so I could be his bodyguard against stray dancers. This came in handy when some girl in a big fucking hurry to get down front decided that she didn't have time to politely slide between people like a normal person and instead came running through the crowd throwing elbows like Kevin fucking Garnett. She got me square in the ribs and I was sore most of the next day.

Suicide Machines were on next (Riot Fest has a history of bands reuniting to play it, which is how I got to see Screeching Weasel a couple years ago) and, while they did rock, they didn't leave us feeling any younger. "Yes, I'm talking to you young lady," the singer said to a girl down front. "ARE YOU READY TO POGO?" Most of the crowd responded by screaming and doing just that. I tested out my readiness for pogoing by bouncing on my toes a little bit. Flakes of rust started falling off my knees and I informed the bartender I was too old to pogo. "Me too," he said, without even bothering to check the status of his knees. He knew.

The headliners of the night were the Descendents, who were absolutely fucking phenomenal. Additionally, I finally felt less decrepit when Milo Aukerman decreed that "Thou shalt not commit adulthood". Given that he bears a remarkable resemblence to my dad I decided to take that to heart.

The Descendents alone would have been worth the cost of admission, but the glory of Facebook came through to make this the best Riot Fest ever by informing me of a secret promotion at Taboo Tabou entitling me to 50% off any vibrator in the store with my Riot Fest ticket stub and/or wristband. You better believe I was all over that. I took advantage of the brilliant weather Sunday afternoon and walked down to procure my very first Lelo for the bargain basement price of $80. Worth it? The only reason I'm typing this post is because I'm recharging it already.

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