Student goes to first concert, barely survives

Let me get this point across: I’ve never been to a concert in my entire life. The closest I’ve ever been to a concert-like experience is hearing my friends gossip about their own concert experiences. Frustrated at my lack of musical street cred, I asked my brother if I could tag along with him to South by Southwest. We stumbled downtown aimlessly one afternoon, hearing a little bit of this and that that Austin had to offer. A few bands and a lot of walking later, we finally made our way towards the famed Mohawk, an outdoor bar that was home to a large number of bands that night (and also the very site where two people died the day after). The line to get in was huge; the congested queue stretched across the street and down the expansive sidewalk. As soon as my brother and I found our place in the line, he flashed me his phone to show me the band we were supposed to see. The dimly-lit screen showed an incomprehensible, blurred cover, but complete with the underlined band name: Indian. Assuming it was just another rock band, we resumed our laborious wait in hopes of reaching the end.

By the time we finally escaped the line and paid the $15 cover fee, the sun was already melting away to reveal the moon. We found our place on the bottom floor, and awaited the triumphant arrival of Indian. The intermission gave me some time to examine my surroundings. My fellow audience members were not chipper old grandfathers and kids. Nay, many of them were at least decked out with horribly gaudy, studded bracelets, some even around their necks looking very reminiscent of a pitbull. Dark eye shadow was adorned on nearly half of the crowd. Nobody was complete without a leather jacket. This was no U2. This was no Simon and Garfunkel. Where were all the normal people?

Indian’s eventual arrival did nothing to soothe my nerves; all of the member’s had long, shaggy hair and were equipped with needlessly loud voices. I slowly began to back away, towards the corner of the room. And they began to play.

Almost instantaneously a beer bottle flew by my head, smashing against the wall and breaking into hundreds of little pieces. I crawled behind a stool in my corner, and proceeded to watch the chaos brewing among the crowd. People were pushing each other, slamming into poor unsuspecting metalheads and catapulting them into even more people, creating an incredibly painful domino-like effect. My brother retreated to where I was situated as well; not for his safety, but for fear that I would be trampled to death by the onslaught of angsty rebels. The songs that the band played, needless to say, wouldn’t be really considered “wholesome” by today’s parents. I can’t remember all of the names of the songs, but the one that really made me shrink back in timidity was this one: “Your Kid’s an *******.” Clearly being the youngest one there, not to mention looking half my actual age, I had reason to be frightful. My life was clearly on the line. The crowd was becoming increasingly more violent, the shoves sending beer after beer flying gracefully above in the air and smashing down on some oblivious raging hipster. More and more people were participating in the mosh pit. It was time to go.

I had my hat pulled down over my face as I shuffled to the nearest exit. What if somebody singled me out, the lone kid, and offered me in some sort of heavy-metal offering to Satan? It wasn’t worth the possible blood sacrifice. I eventually squeezed my way through the crowd, leaving the obnoxious blares of music behind me.

“Well … that was interesting,” my brother said.

I glared back at him.

“Next time,” I said through gritted teeth, “Look up the freaking band before!”

And I remain scarred to this day.