I went to the Rise Against show at Festival Pier on Saturday night and had a great time. I also realized how much the people at punk rock shows have changed since I started in the scene almost fifteen years ago.
Some people haven't changed at all. You'll still see the pierced, the mohawked. The Doc Marten boots and the pants with more zippers on them than actual fabric. Tattoos and hair dye, it's all still there. But age and technology have precipitated changes I never could have foreseen.
First, there are the phones. While I do find texting immeasureably useful at a show for finding people and not having to talk over the music, the people who try to record the show on their phones are absolutely ridiculous. I haven't experienced this, but some people tell me they've actually been shushed them so the sound wouldn't interfere with their amateur recording efforts. I remember when they used to confiscate all recording devices -- sound, video, and still photos -- at the door of the venue. Now the devices are both so ubiquitous and of such crappy quality that there's no use trying to stop people from doing it. Not only will you not be able to decipher anything in the recording on your phone besides white noise and bright lights, no one will buy it from you as a bootleg either.
However, with the advent of camera phones and digital cameras, comes the type of person who doesn't even take pictures of the show but turns around to take pictures of their friends. At the show on Saturday I had the misfortune of standing behind a group of these people. Not only did they keep blinding me with the flash from their camera, but they also kept massing together in order to fit in their badly framed shot, blocking my view of the stage. For Pete's sake, you came here to see a band, now turn around and see the band! No one wants to see more shots of your friends grinning with thier arms around each other on facebook.
Finally, and most disturbingly, I now run into students at shows. I can't pretend not to see them because A) our school is so small there's no excuse and B) the venues are so small there's no excuse. It's not like we're at the Susquehanna Bank Center. So I go and say hi, introduce my husband, but I always leave wondering if I now seem cooler to them for being at the show, or did I just make being at this show utterly and tragically unhip by my mere presence?
I wonder if I'll still be at shows 15 years from now and who else will be there then?