In May 2018 I was walking downtown with a show to go to that night. Originally composed for Brad Monsma’s Non Fiction class
O Holy Night
By Tyler Mobley
Arriving under the marquee when we did by reordering our mural viewing up Main street before a premeditated pass by the tour bus parked in front of the Ventura Theatre. Just as the former frontman, now frontwoman of Against Me! leapt off the last step of narrow tour bus stairs and turned toward us. Still a recognition through the transformation to when I’d first heard a long ago live performance of “White People For Peace” on a network that no longer exists. “Hi Laura I’ll be at the show tonight” blurted out in a single breath. “Awesome” she returns with a smile, never breaking stride. Find it odd that all those years, all those times I heard her voice and screamed back the words, would lead up to an encounter in broad daylight on a street I’d traveled all my life.
Later that night the crowd was what you’d expect at a punk rock show; plenty of patches sewn into jean jackets among a herd of black leather. I moshed during “I was a teenage anarchist,” then was overwhelmed by nostalgia at “Tonight we’re gonna give it 35%” catapulted to a Tokyo balcony where those lyrics whipped up my world with latte burns. I began to recognize the same patch on many of the leatherbacks was a peaked cap with Turbonegro written below, a sign of what I was getting into. Waking up in the lion’s den.
A spotlight illuminates a man with his back to the crowd putting a load of energy into his keyboard, giving little over the shoulder teases to the crowd. The lead singer commands the stage brandishing the same black cap as on all the jackets and what appears as a leopard shawl. The bass player is in a sailor’s uniform rhythm strums away in overalls and a straw hat, and lead guitar frets about in a sequence onesies. The dots began to connect themselves, before I knew it the bear holding the mic was leading a chant of “Wooooooooooooo oooooooooooo oooooo, I GOT ERECTION” and continued for some time. Admiring the spectacle and my personal space their antics lead into the closing song which left a crater impact in my head because it was one I knew and loved. Used as the theme song to the MTV show Wildboyz, “The Age of Pamparius” occupied my playlist for years under false title thanks to the days of Limewire. Distortion resonating through my past I dissolve in the crowd then am struck by insight into the line “clock strikes twelve” as we enter the bridge.