Take Your Mama

28 Mar

If this old guy can like this band, so can I!

My daughter and I went to a concert in Pontiac last night to see a band neither of us know a lot about but both of us like: British Sea Power, a six-piece group that’s kind of like the Cure with a beefier guitar sound … and an electric viola. She came across them on Pandora then found a couple of their CDs, which found their way onto my iTunes library, which led us to standing in line outside the Crofoot Ballroom on a bitter cold March evening.

Neither of us knew what to expect of the concert or the crowd. My daughter was terrified that someone would catch us Googling the band to learn their names and instruments; “They’ll think I’m a poser!” she whimpered. I was worried I’d be the oldest one there but turned out to be in the middle of the audience’s age demographic; all was explained when I overheard a graying gentleman say that he had heard the band on NPR.

My daughter and I like about 67 percent of each other’s music. We’re very invested in our tastes and yet are open to expanding our horizons.  She keeps my ear updated by turning me on to bands that I never would have found otherwise. Conversely, she asks for recommendations as we rifle through the drawers of CDs at our gloriously appointed local library. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have a respected level of knowledge in a subject she cares about. It’s splendid.

The lead singer isn't the one with the guyliner ... it's the one in the ironic trucker cap. Who'd a thunk?

She began her concert-attending career in middle school via the Fueled by Ramen stable of acts: Cute is What We Aim For, All Time Low, Cobra Starship and the daddy of them all, Fall Out Boy, which was a little bit more famous than the rest because Pete Wentz, the “cute one,” married Ashley, the less talented of the Simpson sisters, and won the Asinine Celebrity Baby Name contest by dubbing his firstborn Bronx Mowgli.

I survived my first mosh pit experience as a result. My daughter and her friend wanted to go to the Magic Stick in Detroit to see four bands capped by Cobra Starship. The girls weren’t quite old enough for me to feel comfortable about just dropping them off, so I donned my earplugs and went with them. (The parking attendant shook his head. “You’re going—in there?”) I stood with them near the stage amid about 200 people half my age, fiercely protecting whatever it is that mothers want to fiercely protect, when the first goateed boy jumped into the center of the group and was quickly followed by several more.

My arms immediately flew up—in the same protective parental gesture my dad used to stop me from going head first through the windshield of our 1972 Chrysler when he hit the brakes too hard. I attempted to be a human shield between the girls and those horrid, sweaty boys knocking into each other for fun. The crowd heaved and billowed; my Converse got stomped on; I feared for my purse. (Not surprisingly, I was the only person in the venue carrying a purse.)

After three songs of this abuse, I realized something important. My protection wasn’t useless: it was irrelevant. My daughter and her friend weren’t suddenly going to light a joint, or dance topless, or be chloroformed by one of the horrid, sweaty boys and dragged out into the alley. They were there to enjoy the show, nothing more, nothing less. I could trust them to be okay. 

Plus, if I gave up my losing battle against the whole moshing thing, I could sit in the back in an actual chair (which for the money I paid for a ticket, I deserved) and keep an eye on them. So I ordered a beer, readjusted my ear plugs, and connected with them once the noise had ceased. It was a success.

Now that she’s older, my daughter and I are finding a lot more shows we’re both psyched about. She was happy to join me and thousands of Baby Boomers at the Tom Petty show at the Palace last year. We’re talking about doing a road trip to Cleveland in May to see The Airborne Toxic Event, a band we discovered together when their gloriously romantic first single came out a couple of years ago. And last night,  British Sea Power did a great show. I’m glad we went.

But I gotta tell you, the music was less important than the fact that my daughter wanted to share it with me.

So to close, here’s a little ditty from a band we almost saw live last month in Royal Oak … if only the concert hadn’t been on Oscar night. Enjoy!

See you on the flip side.

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4 Responses to “Take Your Mama”

  1. Tom Doyle March 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    What did you think of the show? You could tell your daughter that one of your readers agrees that checking up on a band (or any activity focused on the band) isn’t posing–the posers are the folks who yammer through the songs, or who spend the whole time online instead of listening. I’ve seen BSP before, and I’m seeing them again this tour (later next month in DC). First time out, I thought they were better live than on their Decline of BSP album. The band to see when they come to Michigan is Wild Flag–2/3 of Sleater-Kinney plus others. And we’re going to see Wire in a couple weeks. Enjoy!

    • lpon45 March 29, 2011 at 3:02 am #

      Loved the show! I hadn’t been to a concert in such a small venue before – about 50 people. Very up close and personal. Some of the songs – and forgive me, I don’t know them well enough to know which ones – are just gorgeous. Hope the bassist (Hamilton, according to Google) has gotten over his cold by the time he’s in DC.

      Thanks for the tip about Wild Flag – I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

  2. Hunter March 30, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    hey! All Time Low is signed with Interscope records, last I checked. and also, my first concert was opened by Cute Is What We Aim For, Gym Class Heroes and Plain White T’s, not Cobra Starship.

    just for all of the readers out there who care

    • lpon45 March 31, 2011 at 2:37 am #

      Thanks for the clarification; obviously I need to post earlier in the evening so I can do more fact-checking and refine my references … glad you’re reading so closely!

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