This is a cool story about 2 bands that played at the Commodore Ballroom. Which also happens to be the best concert venue in the history of Vancouver, BC. I dare you to name a better place to see your favourite band, up-close and grand. One of the bands in this story is old and good, and the other band is sorta old and sorta good. But they both shared the same dressing room, the same stage, and satisfied screaming fans of the same age. One of the bands had fans who came, and the other had fans who were paid. Kinda the same?
There's a stack of questionable wardrobe choices on my kitchen table and my breath smells way too scotchy for a work night. But wait, tonight is different, work doesn't start until noon tomorrow! 'Actor's hours!' We load in at noon and then the wardrobe people will rifle through our 'punk' selections and dress us accordingly. When you wear different costumes at every show, it's hard to try to 'dress punk' for a fake punk show commercial shoot. Rabbits, Slashes, Cowboys, Bees…these are our punk identities. They told us to bring our 'most punk' clothing. I opened my closet door and the fearful laughter began.
NOFX is my favourite band. They shine a beautiful twisted light on the weird and wasted world we have. They hug hard like a bro, and pick up the speed when the going is slow. Seeing both shows was a powerful victory. Very different set-lists, yet very similar feelings bleeding everywhere. Surrounded by bros, jumping and yelling and punching the air. Aggression is a gift of relief. It's kinda like religion, without the grief.
Setting goals is a free drug available everywhere. You can do it whenever you want, and get as high as you allow yourself to be. No cops will come after you for setting high goals. No people will film you and put it online in very exposing ways if you try to achieve your goals. Playing the Commodore stage was the biggest goal we had as a band. And if it means sorta faking it for a dumptruck of money, I'm cool with that. Pause, reflect, analyze. Fantasize about the mountains that this revenue could climb in terms of new gear and old wine. And mastering the new album. Your smiles, and mine. Sign, seal, deliver. Sing, soak, shiver. Stack clothing, stay up late, we are the actors, on a very special stage.
The next thing that happened in this story is that NOFX played 72 Hookers at BOTH shows. When they started playing it on night 2, I looked back at Shafer and spit a real-life golf ball in his wine glass. A Titlelist. Been saving it in my cheek for months. Got wine EVERYWHERE. Some songs pull powerful behavioral triggers in me, making me do weird stuff and act real crazy. They also played Perfect Government at both shows. I closed my eyes and slowly peeled off my clothes.
I bonked my head as a little guy and ended up with way too many favourite bands. And they all happened to play at the Commodore Ballroom. I have a thousand memories and very little proof of seeing the greatest yellers on that stage. Gord D, Conor O, Matt G, Ryan A, Joey C, Fat M, Paul B, Tony S, Mike D…and so on. Setting up was fun, sound check was fun. Even loading our gear up the back elevator was fun. Looking out over that floor from centre stage, at the opposite perspective, fake as it may, still sent shivers through me in a thousand ways.
So many flavourful flashbacks. Russian Tim was on stage. We chanted his name. He deserved to be there, with the elite, and the respected, along with the un-named lead singer of a famous band that was escorted off stage by security at BOTH shows. A cool thing about going to 2 shows in a row is the strange and amazing things that happen twice. However, to anyone who only went to 1 of the shows, worry not, you saw the best show. That's how good both of them were on their own. The amount of 'middle album' songs was vast and aggressive. So many cute rarities and modified cuts, mixed in with the glitter of dancing friends and bouncing nuts.
Here's the spilled beans: We are a punk band hired to play a punk band in a Hallmark TV commercial. Kinda cool? Is it punk? Am I drunk? What expectations lie within this hiring? Remember, we are a bit of an odd duck on the punk band platter of poultry choices. We don't look punk on paper. But there-in lies, the ultimate punkness. It's punk to not look punk, right? Did I ruin it all by writing this? Shit.
When they started playing Herojuana, we all started screaming Shafer's name. When they played Scavenger Type (fast), no one believed I was right, yet again. My brother at my back, the Duke at my side, and Hogie hovering like an angel sent from the sky. Lachlan and Evan, near-by. It will always be fun screaming along to NOFX songs with a gang of drunk friends. I hope they never stop. And I hope we get to play the Commodore stage again, on our own terms, with an equal enthusiasm and in costumes of our choosing.
So we beat on, and played the cards as they were dealt,
Warriors bested, feelings felt.