Entry No. 3: A Perfect Teenhood (May 29)
I had an odd adolescence.
I was a loner, a weirdo and a music geek in a remote area of the Maritimes.
There was no such thing as all-ages shows, period, minus the odd high school cafeteria extravaganza.There was also one or two battles of the bands at some point.
If we had shows, there were probably at someone’s camp or house and I wasn’t invited, because no one invites the loner with a ponytail who wears an obscure francophone punk band t-shirt. This is even stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Instead of finding out about bands through all ages shows in church halls or Lions’ Clubs, I relied on the internet. I spent hours researching everything I could about music. That’s how in the mid-2000s I found out about Erik Satie at 13, Cryptopsy at 14, Voivod at 15, Arcade Fire at 16 and NOFX at 17. Everything was weird in high school, including the timing of my musical phases I went through.
My first real contact with all ages shows was when I started playing in bands when I moved to Moncton at 18. My bands already played bars, but we were also playing any other show offered to us.
It was a weird experience. I was too old for the high school crowd with their unreadable death metal shirts, but too young for the older punks who showed up for their set and bailed.
When I was reading about concerts online at 15, it sounded like the coolest experience, with the camaraderie between bands,
When I actually started playing shows, I realized that a gig actually is a series of anxiety-fueled questions, no matter how good or bad the show actually is:
#1: Why do people not show up?
#2: Why did the other bands not even bother to offer a fake good set?
#3: Why the fuck did I ask my parents for a bass as a Christmas gift in Grade 7?
#4: Is it too late to go to community college?
And finally, if I’m playing an all ages show I can’t help but ask myself if I’m just trying to live the adolescence I didn’t have?
Here I go again with the whole Musicians Anonymous therapeutic thing.
I guess maybe that’s why I feel this weird compulsive need to surround myself with bandmates, other bands and an audience.
I’m a weirdo and a loner. I’m not one of the cool kids. I just hang out in the same jam room as them and happen to feed them riffs.
The all ages scene has evolved quite a lot since the mid-2000s.
The kids that come to my shows don’t wear obscure metal shirts anymore. Colt 45 and cheap McDonalds are not the poison of the youth because they’re too cool for that. Instead, they dress like I did when I was 8, in true Zellers fashion.
When I moved to Fredericton, Read’s was more of a convenience store than a coffee shop. In the last years, it became a real community hub, which is also the only place in town hosting all ages shows regularly.
God bless e’m, even if the kids don’t come out. They’ll be able to live the experience out later on, like I do.
Actually, do the kids even play music anymore?
The Trick played the second and last show of our international tour of southern New Brunswick with Mike Legere and Dante Mantas, at Read’s.
Mike, Dante and their bandmates are already helping The Trick to load-in our gear by the time I arrived with Mike [Nason].
God bless e’m.
I like their songs. Dante writes great pop hooks and Mike has cool guitar work. Mostly, they’re all sweethearts. It’s fun to play multiple shows with the same bands. You get to go beyond first impressions.
The Trick plays last, but it’s still bright outside. It’s nice to get out of bars. There’s another vibe that comes with playing music earlier in the evening. Maybe it’s just because I can actually see my amp and pedals settings.
This said, one day we’re gonna have to figure out this whole thing of “people don’t come out because it’s nice outside” or “people don’t come out because it’s raining” vs “people don’t come out because it’s an early show” or “people don’t come out because shows are late”. It’s gotta be one or the other.
Anyways, it’s not the quantity but the quality of the audience that counts. I’m glad Jean Surette from Music New Brunswick and Les Paiens was able to come out. He said he wasn’t expecting to see live music in Fredericton on a Tuesday, but ended up going to see our set and a jazz band at Dolan’s.
Clearly, those who walked in Read’s and left immediately after seeing a band playing, also didn’t expect to see live music in Fredericton on a Tuesday.
It’s their loss, but they gave me a lead for an ending to this blog entry.