For One Night, I Was Young Again

There was a time when I thought nothing of going out at 10PM to start my night out. These days, if it is dark out, regardless of the actual time, even during a solar eclipse in the middle of the day, I want to go to bed. Last week, I was experiencing some anxiety about heading into Chicago on a work night to go see a punk rock concert with my son. It seemed so wrong on so many levels for someone my age.

But I sucked it up and drove to Chicago during rush hour. To my surprise and relief, I made it on time! My son advised me we were going to take a bus. I had never ridden a Chicago Transit Authority bus. In fact, we were supposed to take the very bus that was half a block away and about to leave. We ran, and I felt young and fast once again as we caught the bus. My balky left knee not only held up, but it felt better than ever after the short sprint. As we entered the bus, I wondered how many altercations I would be in as we rode. I had prepared for the evening by not shaving for a few days in a futile effort to look tougher. As it turned out, we didn’t get in even one scrape, although I swear a matronly grandmother gave me the stinkeye as I snagged the last open seat before she did.

We had a casual, relaxing meal before the concert, but my anxiety rose again as we walked to the concert hall. This would be a concert by the Australian punk trio The Chats. If that name sounds familiar, you may have been one of a couple people who read my post about their latest release. I figured I would be the oldest in the concert, but it turned out there were plenty of olds at the show. Being a senior with hearing loss was probably good. The Chats were loud. Take a listen.

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New Music for Old Rockers – Chatting You Up

It was the early 80s and punk music was fading fast. Even The Clash had evolved into incorporating more diverse genres in their music as evidenced by 1981’s “This is Radio Clash” and 1982’s “Rock the Casbah.” Did they sell out? No, but they did change with the times … except not so much in concert. They were still a nasty punk band live. I recall my boss at the time telling me about attending a Clash concert in 1982 at the Aragon Ballroom, affectionately called the Aragon Brawlroom by Chicagoans. Back then, you would want to wear old shoes to any concert there as there would be puddles of beer and urine throughout the space. Anyway, my boss told me that he was close to the stage and was spat upon by The Clash. My reaction at the time was, “Lucky.”

Fast forward to the 2020s, and I swore punk was dead and buried. Oh, sure, there were supposedly some punk banks still around, but I didn’t think they really had embraced the punk sound as defined by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Ramones, and early Clash. For me, punk was RIPing, until I heard The Chats.

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