On Saturday night I trekked westward towards Manhattan to attend a Bouncing Souls concert. It was my second show that I have seen in the last twelve months that featured the band.
For those unfamiliar, the Bouncing Souls are a punk rock band from New Jersey that have been making music since the late 1980s, and they are still rocking today. They are easily one my top-5 favorite active bands and both times I have seem them they have put on a spectacular show.
If you’ve never been to a punk rock show, you should be warned. At such shows, mayhem unleashes, especially as you become nearer to the stage. The direct center just before the stage becomes a giant mosh pit, with drunken people shoving one another, and you always need to keep your eyes open for stage divers. In short, if you plan to be in the thick of things, you should expect some injuries to occur.
Needless to say, every time I depart from a Bouncing Souls show, I am drenched in sweat. But it’s worth it.
So I mentioned stage divers just a moment ago. What this is, quite simply, are people who get a leg-up from a friend, and then crowd surf their way towards the stage, only to jump onto it and momentarily join the band, and then dive off and hope that the crowd catches you. Nine out of ten times, they do.
The first time I went to a Bouncing Souls show, the two friends I was with both stage dove. Me being too self-conscious and fearful, I decided not to, and I regretted it.
This time, I wasn’t going to pass it up. I was there with three friends, and after one of them stage dove, he asked me if I wanted to go up there. I thought about it for a minute and said, “Fuck it. Lift me up.”
So he gives me a leg-up, and surrounding concertgoers helped raise me, and then start directing me towards the stage. I was slightly concerned as to how I was actually going to physically step onto the stage, and I basically ended up trampling and stepping all over some person who was right at the front. I basically — and unintentionally — used their face as a staircase. Whatever. You should expect it when you stand so close.
Suddenly, I found myself on the stage with the band. Stage diving is perfectly acceptable at these type of shows, but the etiquette is that you do not linger on stage. I made sure to do some type of signature dance to embrace the moment, and then I veered towards the crowd wondering where I should jump.
Most people just jump first and think later, but I actually surveyed the crowd to see which would be the safest point to jump. I’m pretty sure one audience member pointed away from him, signifying me to not jump in his direction. And I actually think I obliged and avoided him.
From observing others, I realized the best method would be to simply fall into the crowd as opposed to jumping, since it would make it easier for people to catch me. I made the right decision, because not only was I caught, but people actually continued to guide me and I managed to crowd surf for a little while. it was maybe only about fifteen seconds — but it felt like an eternity.
It was my first crowd surfing experience, and it was freaking awesome.
Everyone watches movies and sees somebody dive off stage expecting to be caught by the audience, but very few actually attempt it. And now I did.
The coolest thing about these type of shows is even though it is quite the rowdy and rambunctious atmosphere, punk shows are well-known for having the most polite and considerate concertgoers. Inevitably, people are going to fall down in mosh pits. Except rather than being trampled, when somebody falls, everybody — and I literally mean everybody — surrounding that person will immediately stop what they are doing and help him or her up. It’s also the same after somebody falls after stage diving.
In all seriousness, if everyone in the world behaved always like they do when they are at a punk show, the world would be a better place.
Another awesome incident was when a gorgeous brunette approached me and asked if I could lift her up so she could surf her way towards the stage. When this happens, you are pretty much given free rein to touch every part of her body. It’s not creepy — you actually have to if you want to lift somebody up. So that was fantastic. And easily the most action that I have gotten in a good couple of months.
All in all, it was a solid night, and I can officially cross both “stage diving” and “crowd surfing” off my bucket list. Now onto the next task.
*Checks list* Hmm, how does one go about getting a date with Taylor Swift?
Something tells me this one will not be scratched off anytime soon.