Monday, March 20, 2006
Starting the March Break with 5 Kids and a Rock Concert
Me, my 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son, and my best friend's daughters, KC who is 18, KK age 15 and J, age 11, went to a lovely club in Kitchener ON on March 13 to see a skate-punk-pop band called Hedley. This band is fronted by the love of my daughter's life, Jacob Hoggard. KC digs him real bad too. KK and J aren't quite as crazy about this band but I couldn't leave them out. My son just likes anything with power chords. He rocks.
We had to take a bus from my friend's place to the club. It occurred to me as we waited in the bus shelter, in the dark, that my kids had only been on a city bus once before, so long ago that the Boy didn't remember. I have this hick mentality that in order to get anywhere, you fire up the truck and go into town. My kids strolled right past the bus driver, with no clue that they had to give the ticket to him. Funny. Hey Cletus, what's this here ticket box for??? We drove through a pretty seedy area to get where we were going. Poor old Kitchener. It's been beat up pretty bad for the last 20 years.
Element used to be a movie theatre, and before that it was an actual theatre. It's gorgeous. All of the intricate plaster details have been miraculously retained, in a town known for recklessly tearing down its history. No surprise, it was jammed full of slobering drooling teenagers that evening. I was one of the few oldsters there. In fact, one of the two opening bands played something for those of us over 30- all ten of us. "Died in Your Arms Tonight" originally by Cutting Crew. Somebody trendy must have covered it recently for it to even show up on the set list. Conveniently there was a waist high countertop along one side of the packed room, so I boosted the three youngest kids up there while the teenagers got assimilated into the mosh pit. This made me nervous. First of all, me not so good with crowds...and I'm responsible for these two girls and what if what if what if...then I thought, if I was 15 or 18 and my mom's best friend was like, gettin all up in my grille an stuff, I'd be like totally get back...so I let them mosh. Those two are so much more streetwise than I was at that age. They assured me they could take care of themselves. Well sure. They can even figure out how to get onto a city bus!!!!
So the kids and I patiently and politely rocked out to the opening acts until finally the big moment: Hedley took the stage with our boy Jacob dressed fetchingly in black work pants and a pink camoflage "Hedley sucks" t shirt, with a big red lollipop on the front. As far as concerts go, and I've seen a few, this rates as a good one. Everything was there: the enthusiastic crowd, the energetic frontman, the tight band, funny stage banter, and a few gimmicks thrown in.
The band were way more impressive than I expected them to be. They're actually excellent musicians which is a pleasant surprise in this genre. The singer was as good as I expected; I knew from watching him on TV every week for a whole summer that he can pull it off.
At one point, getting ready to do the Big Single, which I'm sure they're all sick of doing by now, Jacob enlisted the help of a few lovely audience members. My girl KC got pulled up onto the stage to dance along with four other stunned kids, which was one of those thrill of a lifetime moments for her. Another kid had his left hand duct taped to the singer's right hand and yanked all over the stage for the entire song. This is the stuff that kids eat up like candy.
What about the old mothers in the crowd? What was my candy? Obviously the sheer thrill of a good band, operating like a well oiled machine. And, shamefully, four good lookin' fit young fellas. But my ears did prick up when I heard a familiar bass line. "We'll take requests now! Waddaya wanna hear? Hey, they wanna hear that Rage Against the Machine song!"
When faced with "Killing in the Name Of", I really have only one reaction. Dance. Like a maniac. Like the suppressed go-go dancer in all of us. Waving the fists over my head, throwing the old horns, shimmying the shaking stuff. Yeah! Then a big security guard tapped my leg and told me to get down. Well, duh, I WAS gettin down. But you know what I did? I'm so ashamed and embarrassed. I sat down. There I was, shouting at the top of my lungs, "FXXX You I won't do what ya told me!!" and then what did I do? I did what he told me. It's so lame. It's so NOT rock n roll. But in the split second that I considered singing this nice song to the big man, I thought of the five kids for whom I was responsible. And I sat down.
By this time the two 11 year old girls were just dying of embarrassment. Just dying. Well, I've done my job as a parent. I've heard that kids are embarrassed by their parents, but I never was. I always thought my parents were cool. In their own weird way, but I liked them consistently. So now that we've got that embarrass- your- kids part out of the way, we can get on with it.
We stayed til the bitter end, filed past the merch table, clutching the full colour 8x10 glossy band photo, and got the autographs.
I survived. I faced driving, public transit, crowds, drooling teenagers, and another drive late at night. And I have proven a theory of mine: Nothing cures a panic attack like a little screaming and horns-throwing. I felt like I got hit by a truck for the next two days, but it was okay because all I had on my agenda at that point was chores two or three times each day and a run to Tim Horton's with my mom and my sister. The bonus? There are five kids who think I'm pretty okay.