Clubbin' and Lovin' in the Twin Cities by Alex Sandell

Part 2:  Punk rock, Nightclubs, Sellouts and Smelly Armpits:

I jumped fast and hard into the punk scene, and didn't look back.  I watched Green Day play a basement, along with 50 other diehard fans.  It was strange to see them become the trendy band that they became, once they started swearing in their songs and singing about hookers, to please young fans of MTV.  They probably moon their audience, now. 

A punk highlight was pushing my way to the front row and witnessing the magic that was (and will always be) the Ramones.  They played at some outdoor festival in Wisconsin, which also featured boring bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and the semi-okay Faith No More.  The Ramones (along with a few glasses of overpriced beer, and the worst bratwurst I've ever consumed) made it possible to endure the boring bands. 

Only 500 people -- out of approximately 15,000 -- stayed to watch The Ramones.  Their loss.  It turned out to be one of the last concerts the Founding Fathers of Punk ever played.  It was also one of the best concerts I've ever had the privilege of attending.

I've been to too many punk shows to list.  Non-Ramones addicts may be interested in hearing that I saw NOFX both at 7th Street and at 1st Avenue (if only I could have witnessed Prince in his early years, playing live at the Ave.).  I saw Goo Goo Dolls at 1st Avenue, opening for The Libido Boyz (who woulda thunk?). 

I watched crossover bands, including DRI, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus at 1st Ave.  The band ALL played a few times, both at 7th Street and First Avenue.  First two shows ruled, the third bored me (I hated the sound of their new singer, although I lied to their lead guitarist and told him the new singer was "pretty rad."  People used the word "rad" in those days.). 

I saw Rancid at Marti's in Mankato, before anyone had even heard of them.  I would have witnessed them a year earlier, in their most hardcore days, had they not cancelled their opening appearance for SNFU, at 1st Ave. 

I still remember some cocky drunk chick with awesome boobs, responding to my bitching regarding Rancid's cancellation by saying, "who the fuck cares?"  If I had been single at the time, I probably woulda had sex with her.  But now I'm getting horny and totally off-topic.  I saw Jawbreaker at Marti's in Mankato, before they went on to sign to a major label and destroy their career.

I had a funky time at the Profane Existence House, watching Cringer and Christ on a Crutch.  Some annoying neighbor busted the party up.  It was good while it lasted.  Plus, I've never seen so many mohawks and liberty spikes in one place, before -- and I've never smelled so much B.O.  I guess smelling like a mixture of armpits and shit is how anarchists make their statement.  I bet  those "anarchists" are now stockbrokers.  Oh well. 

Having the balls of titanium that I have, I attended another show at the Profane Existence House -- with earplugs in my backpack, just in case I needed to stuff them up my nostrils -- and watched the short-lived, but phenomenal anarchist punk band, Blatz.  I also drank my first can of Blatz beer at the show.  It was the last can of Blatz beer that I would ever drink.  I guess one of the lead singers of Blatz is now some multi-millionaire CEO.  She must have bathed.

I saw a lot of good bands at the club known as "The Hole" (located at the University of Minnesota), but, outside of Screeching Weasel, The Queers and The Mr. T Experience, I doubt any of y'all woulda heard of any of them. 

Ben and the Weasel gang only played 20 minutes, which started a violent fistfight between the band and the fans.  Later, Ben Weasel wrote in one of his MRR columns that the Minneapolis show was his favorite.  No wonder the group broke up. 

The Hole was always my # 2 spot to watch a concert (after 1st Avenue), due to the fact that it had current videogames, pool tables and bowling alleys.  Yes... you could actually geek out with Mario and bowl a game before the show.  How punk is that?  Not really?  Okay, I'll shut up now. 

I encountered an ex-friend at The Hole and was quickly reminded why he was an ex-friend.  I shoulda bashed his head in with a bowling ball, but I'm too into peace, love and not going to jail.  I think the "not going to jail" part is really what prevented the bowling ball murder from happening...

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