Orlando, Fl Oct. 26, 2006
by Jen Cray
As I walked down Pine St. headed for BackBooth I passed The Casualties' colorful guitarist Jake chatting it up with fans. That image right there is what I love about punk shows. There's no hierarchy (at least not usually). No Us and Them between Artist and Fan. Everyone's equally unwashed, intoxicated, and looking to have their personal idea of a good time.
By the time I get inside the club, the crowd is so packed in that they're spilling out into the street. I squeezed my way through the smoke-stenched heatwave to discover that the third band was already onstage. "Hey, who is this?" I ask several different people who are nodding their heads, obviously into it. "I have no idea!" is the general response. Looking at the long list of bands on the bill I'm gonna venture a guess that it was None More Black, but I could be wrong. All I know is, I was more entertained by the people surrounding me than the band onstage.
I spied a wide array of punk fans ranging from the awkward and insecure teens and a militant skinhead (?), to a Rod Stewart-looking man in a suit who ended up being a guitarist for the following band, The Briefs. Each member of this Seattle outfit sported very retro 80's sunglasses that, when combined with the visual of their platinum blond hair, somehow made them sound that much cooler. And it was during their old skool set that the audience really started building up heat. Their set ended with guest vocalist Graeme from earlier opener, Wednesday Night Heroes, onstage.
To introduce The Casualties, the theme song from Indiana Jones played. Before vocalist Jorge could even get out a "hello" the stage crashing began. Climbing their way up to the band, fans threw their arms around bandmembers for the single second's thrill of singing/screaming into the microphones before dive-bombing their sweaty selves back into the confusion of the crowd. It's all part of The Casualties experience.
Atop the tiny, corner stage the band managed to maneuver around one another without collision and Jake managed to kick off into a jump or two. The New York veterans have been at this long enough that no stage is too large or too small. And no crowd is too crazy.
The band's raucous set focused heavily on their latest, and most ambitious, album Under Attack. The title track of which caused such complete anarchy in the pit that I saw at least 2 fights break out that security had to intervene on. In order to allow for the show to be all ages it had to be an early one, so the masses of bloody, dripping, sticky bodies poured out back out into the downtown streets by 11pm. Ahh, organized rebellion!
To see more photos of this, and other, shows go to www.jencray.com.