I haven't been to a single show or concert since covid-19 kicked in and I miss it so much. I didn't quite realize how much going to (punk) shows meant to me before finding myself not having this in my life anymore.
I usually prefer small sweaty DIY punk gigs and the Ho99o9 thing was a bit bigger and more professional. I'm bad at estimating crowd numbers but maybe a couple of hundred people in all. My expectations were low, I hadn't listen much to Ho99o9 beforehand, I knew that it was good stuff but I had no idea how it would sound live. The whole thing was kind of spontaneous and an excuse to get out of town and go and do something fun for the weekend.
The whole weekend turned out to be amazing. Not just because it was the last show before everything closed down. There was something special about that weekend, everything just came together. I was in the company of good friends, ate fantastic food and drank lots of cheap beer. I hadn't met the person we were going to stay with before so there was an atmosphere of uncertainty which made everything fun and interesting.
The Ho99o9/404 gig was amazing. One of the best gigs I've ever been to. Sometimes I get 'cyberpunk is now' moments and this was an intense such moment. It felt like being in the club scene of a 80's cyberpunk flick cranked up to 11. Ho99o9 blew my mind.
That this gig was my last was, if nothing else, a very worthy last gig. It was a year ago but it feels like aeons.
This experience has made me reflect on how much going to shows means to me and how alienated I feel without having that aspect in my life due to the pandemic. For me shows are not only about the music, it's more than this, something bigger. It's a space where you can actually be free and be yourself, whatever that means. You feel connected to something bigger than yourself. It's breathing room from society at large in which the usual norms are somewhat lifted and tweaked. This is almost like a "spiritual" experience in lack of better words to describe it.
There is something is something inherently political about going to these shows and there's also a clear TAZ-component to it for me. You create and take part in a space very some of the usual "rules" are uprooted. You get a sense of freedom and a connection to others. It's a microcosm of anarchy in action. A stark contrast to normal everyday life.
Then there is also the real-political aspect of actually organizing these spaces. They don't appear magically. You have to get a place, have some sound and light stuff, people at the door, a sound person, booking bands, security, cooking food, cleaning up afterwards, take good care of the bands etc. It's a lot of work behind the scene to make this happen.
Without having this in my life it feels like there is no breathing room. I feel trapped in life and society. There is no good outlet for letting out steam. Sure, there are plenty of anarchist spaces online but it doesn't quite do it for me.
I'm most likely over romanticizing this but but I've had some time to think about this now and going to DIY punk gigs is not simply about getting fucked up and seeing some random band on tour. It's more about community than anything else.
Now when everything is closed down DIY punk houses like chamsi in Uppsala struggles financially and need all the help they can get. So if you have the means and like these kind of places find a way to support your local punk house.