This week I don’t have a pick for you as such. Instead, I want to use this space to talk about what a great time I had tagging along for Public Acid’s New York and Philly shows last weekend. I think we all struggled with the idea of going on the trip given the covid situation in the US seems to be getting worse rather than better, but now that everyone is back home and has negative test results I can breathe a sigh of relief and reflect on what a great time I had.
The shows themselves were awesome. I’ve been going to shows long enough to recognize when I’m seeing something special, that (usually fleeting) moment when a band is at the height of their powers, and that’s the feeling I get when I see Public Acid in 2021. In terms of their performances, Public Acid is a total force, and their three post-lockdown sets give me that feeling of the stars aligning, of a band playing the music people want to hear at the moment they want to hear it. PA’s sets both nights crushed, and people went off. These were perfect punk rock moments.
The other bands were also awesome. I got to see bands I already love (like Dark Thoughts and No Fucker, who sounded even better than they did the first time around), new bands whose recordings had already gotten me excited (80HD), and even get blown away by a band I knew nothing about (ICD10). I spend so much time listening to new releases that it’s tempting to think I know about everything going on in the punk scene, but even all the stuff that comes through Sorry State only scratches the surface of what punk and hardcore have to offer right now. I hope that, as the world opens up, more of you can reconnect with your local and regional scenes. And when you do, tell me who the good bands are so we can stock their releases at Sorry State!
Even more important than the music was connecting and reconnecting with so many humans I hold dear. First and foremost, I’m so appreciative of the time I got to spend with the people in Public Acid. Even small tours like this one can be stressful and can bring out the worst in people, but our time together was totally chill. Beyond the fun we had from moment to moment, it was great to strengthen and deepen these relationships. I also got to reconnect with people I’ve known for 15+ years (like Jesse from No Fucker and Zach from ICD10), have great conversations with people whom I’d only met briefly or corresponded with, and meet a bunch of new people too. I’m astounded by the number of people who took me up on my invitation in the last newsletter to come up and say hi. It made me so feel so good to know that not only do people read this thing, but they appreciate and value it too. Thank you so much to everyone who paid me and the band any bit of kindness this weekend, particularly the very special people who booked the gigs, put us up, and ensured we had a great time. And I apologize if I was weird or awkward to anyone… my energy level waxed and waned over the weekend, but I didn’t meet or hang with a single person who wasn’t cool as fuck.
So many times my conversations (with both new friends and old ones) turned to how much we care about punk. A year and a half without shows, as hard as it was, reminded me how much fun all of this is and how important it is to me. And as I get older—I turn 42 in a couple of weeks—I realize the punks are my people, my family. The NC punks are like siblings, and going to these larger shows is like visiting extended family or a gathering of tribes. I’m sure plenty of people think I’m a fool for dedicating so much of my energy to punk, but immersing myself in the community this weekend made me feel great about the life I’ve carved out for myself.