At some point on a Hampden Friday evening, as folks streamed in for a show at Holy Frijoles, I realized something, putting the clues together as I glanced up from my reading.
Huh. Another person is wearing a black leather jacket with a Darkthrone back patch.
Am I at a Metal show?
I’m at a Metal show!
I have always had a friendly relationship with Metal. I am a punk, sure. But, growing up in Southeast Baltimore in the 1980s, Metal ruled. My babysitter’s boyfriends would rumble in to pick them up in their Camaros, blasting early Metallica, jean jackets adorned with their favorite bands’ patches, some logos meticulously rendered in sharpie. A typical peer musical initiation moment was seeing if you could “handle” Slayer. Your biggest goal in life was to win that Mötley Crüe mirror in the games of chance when the carnival was in town. I have that in common with Kathleen.
But perhaps now I am wandering too far into the past, a dangerous place. You can get stuck there. Media has a million products to sell you through your fond memories (your brain retains the good memories and not the bad, barring serious traumas). Politicians make their entire careers on the false promise of returning things to how they once were, an impossibility on multiple levels. Ask Gatsby.
As the Friday PA music between sets segued from Gang Green to Minor Threat, I thought about my plans for Saturday.
I had not been to the Silver Spring AFI in eight years. Google knew and reminded me as I planned my trip out online.
The occasion? One of several (so far) sold-out screenings of a new compilation film of Fugazi’s fan-recorded live performances.
As many are curious to hear, the film is excellent. We were the “test screening” audience, more or less, and we were stoked. In short, it slaps. One more screening to go before the curators of the project decide where to go with it next.
And I wish I could keep focused there, but a lot has changed in Silver Spring in eight years. Sure, Hampden can get busy on a Friday night, but this was another level of money, an area steamrolled via developer cash into a megamall office building megalopolis. Certain folks have been trying to years to make over areas of Baltimore in the same way. They mostly fail and continue to mostly fail. But DC and certain surrounding areas? A model of the city that does not include me is in full effect.
The above flyer from the display in front of the theater screamed STOP GENTRIFICATION. The irony was so painful as to be exquisite at this cashless film venue.
Whatever despair I may have felt in that moment, please know I remain hopeful. The future remains unwritten. I have the privilege of seeing it unfold night after night.
Desolus, by the way? DC-based.
Maybe this old man needs to stop yelling at cloud and get back to headbanging in the pit.