headbangers bawl

I am at a goth punk rock show. I am at a goth punk rock show because a friend of mine has just run the LA Marathon, and we are celebrating. We are celebrating at this goth punk rock show because I, in charge of the evening's festivities, didn't realize it would be quite so goth punk.

My friend (around whose neck is the race medal I insisted he wear, and which I am having great fun shining the flashlight of my phone on as we walk into darkened bars, bragging to anyone who'll listen about his 482nd place finish, which among 26k runners translates to the top ~1%) is an '80s music fanatic. It's Sunday; there's not a lot going on; I thought it would be more new wave and less headbangers ball. I tried.

But we are making the most of it, the three of us. We venture gamely into the throng and watch one and a half sets, from a lineup of five bands. We don't understand a goddamn word of any of the songs. We joke a little, but we're careful not to be obnoxious and disrespect the scene, which from the seriousness of the faces around us, is clearly not to be disrespected. I take notes. Literally. On my phone, in two or three recesses while I withdraw from the crowd and slink off to the shadows, so as not to be disruptive. These are the ones I've since run through the filter of sobriety:

Everything is smoke, black, and damaged hair. 

Save for some halfhearted head bobbing, no one is dancing. Wait, one guy. Thrashing with his head down. The others make room for him but none seem interested in joining. Everyone looks so terribly sad, so glazed. Is this really as holy for them as EDM is for me? 

When you find yourself in the wrong church, you may as well see what you can learn from the prayers. If only I could make them out.

On stage: a waif-like blonde tries to seduce a microphone that wants nothing to do with her. She twists and dips around it, but any softness in her voice has been bullied down by drums and screeching guitar. I want to give her a cupcake. Some sugar, anyway. She looks like sugar, spun and spun and spun into near oblivion. 

A background scrim with visuals evoking fire or blood - or bloody fire. Just flashing blobs of light, really. (I've no business judging, though. The graphic I gawked at, captivated, two nights prior at Eric Prydz? A grotesquely skeletal face, gaping mouth and hollow socket eyes. The creepier the animation, the better IMO.)

Watching from the fringes, it's a sea of ripped denim and slouchy jersey. I studiously avoid eye contact on the way to the restroom, in my pencil skirt and tennis white pointelle sweater. Fucking white pointelle. What an obscenity I am in here.


We call a Lyft before the third set starts.