The Masquerade, Atlanta 02-01-11
All photos by Rose Riot Photography
A downpour of cold, heavy rain washed away the fine line between punk rock and stupidity for fans who braved the Atlanta weather to make the soul doubt show at The Masquerade with NOFX and The Bouncing Souls on February 1, 2011. Upon entering the upstairs room, Heaven, each soggy fan seemed to have a beer in hand, eagerly awaiting the start of the Bouncing Souls’ set.
When they lazily took the stage, looking incredibly relaxed, the quiet voice of Greg Attonito thanked everyone for coming out in the bad weather. The irony of playing “Say Anything” with its chorus, “I wish I could say that I have no regrets today” struck me as I contemplated whether braving the rain was going to get me killed on the way home. I conceded to hope the rain would let up and the show would be worthwhile. Actually, I had been a Bouncing Souls fan way back growing up in N.J. enjoying punk shows at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony. After a few songs, I realized I still knew all the words to several classics like “East Coast Fuck You,” and “Lamar Vanoy” and “I Like Your Mom” which were played by the request of someone in the audience.
Attonito exhibited a true punk-community camaraderie with his fans as he shook hands and fist-bumped just about everyone in the front row as I stood just stage right, next to a homeless-looking guy who shined a light on my notepad and asked what I was writing. Gotta love those sociable punks!
The sway of surfers in the crowd and the fast-paced but light-hearted music reminded me of being a kid again. Perhaps that makes me old, but even the band had tinges of gray in their hair. I looked around at those feverishly trying to record every stage move with camcorders and iphones thinking they were missing the spirit of the moment; that which can not be hosted by YouTube.
“Kids and Heroes” and “True Believers” added a sad sentiment to the peacefully swaying crowd. Maybe that was just in my sappy, sentimental mind because all the happy bouncing ended with “Here We Go” as the Bouncing Souls bowed its 20-year history and gave the stage to NOFX.
During the intermission, the punks starting getting restless, native though they weren’t (all). Some antipathetic fan from Alabama decided to push the little girls in the front out of his way, me included only I refused to let someone push me down or back. By the time NOFX started to rock, it felt great to be around fans who seemed to be at their favorite band’s show. One girl brazenly told me and my photographer, Rose Riot, to stay out of her way because at some point during the show she intended on getting onstage. I’m proud to announce that she followed through during, “Leave It Alone” (again, the irony was not lost on me), as she put her head on Fat Mike’s shoulder as he sang, holding his bass and looking sideways at her like she was crazy.
The whole show included telling jokes with the crowd who continually threw everything from damp hoodies to crushed beer cans at the stage. An amusing instance occurred when Fat Mike introduced “Arming the Proletariat With Potato Guns” and took a poll of people who knew what “proletariat” meant. Always trying to educate, those punk rockers are.
Looking into the audience, I saw someone waiving a shoe as if intending to throw it in some sort of tribute to the album So Long and Thanks For All the Shoes shortly before hearing “Eat the Meek” from that album. The bass pulsed through the speakers and I decided, though NOFX put on a triumphant set, it was time for me to go so as not to fight the same drunken assholes on the drive out of Atlanta. The rain had let up and I had let off steam, proud of my punk rock roots.
If you haven’t by now, it’s not too late to get into NOFX. Start here: