The GF is a huge Veruca Salt fan. Eight Arms to Hold You “got [her] through high school.” So she was super-excited when she heard that not only has Veruca Salt’s original line-up gotten back together, but they have released a new album (the awesome Ghost Notes – my current fave: “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl”) and were going to be playing in LA!
On my birthday. 🙂
The GF was torn – she wanted to go to the show, but she was also prepared to defer to what I wanted to do on my birthday, and if that didn’t include Veruca Salt, then so be it. So, of course, I said we should go to Veruca Salt on my birthday. I wasn’t about to deprive my boo the chance to finally see one of her favorite bands in concert. Meanwhile, I love live music, no matter what it is – and they’re the band that does “Seether” right? I remember that song. Oh, and that other one that goes like…you know the one. It’s about Spider-Man? 🙂 I wasn’t a huge Veruca Salt fan, but they were a female-fronted band from the 1990s, and I thought it’d be cool to see them live and see how their stuff holds up almost 20 years later.
We got the tickets a couple of months ago, and as I was brushing up on my Veruca Salt catalog, I realized two things:
1) Veruca Salt is awesome! Why haven’t I been listening to them all this time? and
2) I was so painfully mainstream as a kid.
I grew up during grunge. During Riot Grrrl. During a really great time in indie rock. But you’d never know it from what I listened to. I was a Top 40 girl through and through. I mean, I listened to those grunge/punk/rock songs that managed to make it onto the radio, like Nirvana, or VS’s “Seether.” The most “alternative” thing I listened to was Fiona Apple – but that was also at a time when Lilith Fair artists were popular, and songwriters like Fiona Apple were mainstream. I’ve never been the kind of person who was a geek about music. I’ve never been the kind of person to seek out my own stuff. I listened to the radio and relied on recommendations from people I know. I absorbed music when I was a kid, I didn’t seek it out. It was through literature and film that I expressed my tastes, not music. And so a lot of great stuff passed me by.
However, as fate would have it, whereas most people get more conservative as they get older, I’ve gotten more liberal – and in some ways, more radical (thought I’m still a moderate most of the time). And I’ve started to appreciate the music from my youth that was a little more alternative and rebellious. Don’t get me wrong – I am UNASHAMED of having listened to The Spice Girls and TLC. But that’s the great thing about music – or any art, really. It’s always there for you when you need it, even if you need it almost 20 years later.
The concert had a great first opening band in Talk In Tongues. I dug their sound from the moment they got out on stage. And then, I fell absolutely in LOVE with The Muffs, who were the most punk band I’ve ever seen.
It was once The Muffs got on stage that I realized why this concert was so important to me. When I say that The Muffs were “the most punk band I’ve ever seen,” I mean that bassist, Robbie Barnett looks like Bill Nye, but plays like Dee Dee Ramone. I mean that lead singer and guitarist, Kim Shattuck uttered the phrase “I’m a grandma, but I don’t give a fuck” before launching into her next song where she proceeded to scream like a banshee. That is punk. A young person being all “down with the establishment” and “I’m a non-conformist” ain’t no thing. That’s kinda part of the job description. But if you can carry that attitude with you through the rest of your life. Holy crap, that’s amazing. That’s what I aspire to!
The awesomeness continued as Veruca Salt took the stage. Having never seen them play live before, I was totally transfixed by them. Everyone’s musicianship was on point, the vocals were amazing, and the energy – oh, the energy. I felt older than they are as I started whinging about having to stand for so long. Meanwhile, their energy never flagged. They brought the same in-your-face, feminist rebelliousness of their youth, but also brought all the wisdom they’ve acquired in the subsequent seventeen years of breaking up and getting back together. It was inspiring.
I needed this show right now. I needed to see women older than I am rocking the fuck out. It inspired me and reminded me that it’s more than OK to not “settle into” getting older, but rather, come into it kicking, screaming, and screeching. Happy fucking birthday to me!