Apr 7

American Hangover

7 months ago • No Comments

A smoky, dim warehouse erupts with the sound of eager, belligerent punks. An ear-piercing shriek from a blown-out amp bounces off the rusty walls of the Guerilla Venue triggering a chain reaction of Profanity and Disgust. The front man flips the crowd off and instructs them to gather up front. “Ok motherfuckers, get up front. I want to see everyone fucking moving!” The atmosphere is filled with an electric charge. The bloodthirsty crowd seething with anticipation. The band begins to play with sonic fury and the crowd whips into a collective frenzy. A flailing whirlwind of elbows and knees erupts in the center of the crowd, sucking in unsuspecting onlookers like a supermassive black hole. Scrapes and bruises worn proudly like war paint in battle.

That is what it is all about. An outlet to channel your aggressions and unleash anarchic chaos onto an unsuspecting world of conformity. With such a radical shift from societal norms, however, comes an inevitable barrage of criticism and propaganda. Bullies and Good Ol’ boys alike will forever protest punk’s brand of rebellion against Corporatism and Fascism with fists and scathing threats of violence. Some forms of expressionist oppression may ultimately stem from parental figures.

Just a Phase. A condescending, outdated archetype that parents and peers often impose upon the youth. It is simply an old-world notion that was told to them as a tool for conformity. “Fall in line!” the obedient worker-bee crows to the sullied masses that secretly pine for individuality. “Suckle the teet of consumerism, capitalist drone!” Cries Uncle Sam, his frothy mouth filled with diamond studded teeth, wild glazed over eyes still glowing from a fresh kill. Lady Liberty cowers in a dark corner like a battered housewife. “What has become of us?” She murmurs between shudders. A live studio audience applauds. Cue end credits…

While fads do come and go, the core structure of punk culture is discovering a style for yourself devoid of outside judgement. With the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunities for today’s youth via social media, it is more possible than ever to truly personify your punk style while being free to live a lifestyle your parents only dared to dream of. While pursuing financial freedom to obtain a license to completely express your punk identity is an optimal goal, there is something to be said about just saying fuck it and letting your freaky punk flag fly.

But what fuels this battle cry for anarchy? The answer is social conflict and the call for protest. The boisterous outcry of antidrug campaigns and palpable subtext of impending nuclear strikes from the soviets fueled the fire that set punk ablaze into the cultural landscape of the 1980s. While the movement flourished throughout the Reagan-era and Bush administration, American culture waned its interest as it searched for the “next big thing.” Fortunately, history has proven that wherever there is oppression, there are a group of enthusiastic punks ready to challenge the system.

The broken promise of a United utopian country bathing in a patriotic afterglow has withered and is now replaced with a collective historical hangover. As history repeats and the opposing forces ebb and flow like the tide, there will always be a call to dawn your studded denim vests and fling yourself into the sticky, sweat drenched battlefield we call the Pit. The moment you dare to throw down the shackles of pseudo patriotism and step into the musty confines of a local punk venue, you are a member of an ever-growing movement. A feeling.

The feeling of being completely in the moment. The excitement of hurling your drunken carcass into the fray while being sonically assaulted is an experience that every punk yearns for. Fuck the World. Fuck the System. Fuck your problems. Get in the pit. Sweat. Bleed. Fucking LIVE!


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