Attending an Against Me! Concert Is Like Participating in a Blood Sport

The reason I've always avoided the mosh pit at Green Day concerts is because, well, I could literally BE KILLED in one. You see, I heard about one guy who emerged from a mosh pit at a Metallica concert covered in blood—none of which was his own! And there was another guy who dislocated his shoulder while moshing to Godsmack—but before he could scream and run to the hospital, he was shoved back into the mosh pit, where in a matter of seconds his shoulder snapped back into place! I mean, look at me! I'm small! I could get broken in two in a split second!

So at Sunday night's energetic Against Me! concert at the Music Box Theatre in Hollywood, I decided to stay on the outskirts of the dance floor. But as soon as Tom Gabel and his punk crew appeared on stage, almost all the bodies on the floor began shifting back and forth in epileptic spurts, causing me to get shoved right and left, right and left. As many illicit rendezvous I've had in my lifetime, I don't think I've ever had so many different people's sweat rubbed all over me.

Fortunately, the hubbub died down a bit after a few minutes, while the moshing and body-surfing in the center of the auditorium increased. (My cautious nature was the subject of cosmic ridicule when I later saw 13-year-old boys as well as dwarves—I'm not joking—moshing and body-surfing with devil-may-care glee.)

But my section wasn't without its own dramas. Aside from a fistfight that was broken up by fellow concertgoers (we can police ourselves, William Golding!), I was at the center of a separate incident. The following dialogue didn't actually happen—it's a translation of the pantomime that went on underneath the loud music:

WOMAN: Hey, you dropped something on the floor.

PRINCE: You dropped something on the floor?

WOMAN: There.

PRINCE: Oh, I see it. Here you go.

WOMAN: It's not mine. I thought it was yours.

PRINCE: It's somebody's driver's license.... I'm looking in the crowd, and I don't see anyone who looks like this. Do you?


PRINCE: Oh, wait a minute. I think I see him.... Hey, dude, you dropped your driver's license. Here.

WHITE DUDE: What is this?

PRINCE: Your driver's license.

WHITE DUDE: That's not me.

PRINCE: This isn't yours?

WHITE DUDE: This guy doesn't look anything like me.

PRINCE (actually yelling out loud): I can't tell white people apart!

At which point I pocketed the license for later investigation.

The concert was fist-pumpingly awesome. The band played some of its oldies, as well as a handful of songs from New Wave (one of my favorite albums of all time) and from the new album, White Crosses—which is full of melodic punk gems such as the anthemic title track, the short but impressionable "Rapid Decompression," and the lead single, "I Was a Teenage Anarchist." Yup, political punk is alive and well in the 21st century, and the music video for the latter track is a slo-mo, one-shot wonder...

...and Tom Gabel smartly explains the origins of the song and his political leanings here.

By the way, my many years of developing Internet stalking skills helped me find the right white dude who lost his driver's license (Facebook saves the day!), and I'm going to mail it to him. A happy ending for him, and a happy ending for me—'cuz I'm alive and not bloodstained.

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