It's somewhat unsettling to think that there are mall-punk kids who attended the first warped tour in 1995 at the edge in Fort Lauderdale, who are now old enough to have their own hot-topic-shopping mall(rug)rats headed out to cruzan tomorrow morning for the warped tour's 16th incarnation.
As one whose life was changed drastically by punk rock 21 years ago, it's hard to imagine my dad in the mosh pit. But within a few years, a large percentage of America's breeding pairs will have spent quality time in one. They know the joy of being picked up by the crush of the crowdwhen you fall in a circle pit, or more likely what it smells like to have someone stage dive on top of you, armpit first.
Such is the co-opted subculture known as punk rock 2010. But while it makes perfect sense for most of it to be sanitized (Pop punk is perhaps the catchiest music ever made), it's hard to fathom why NYC gutterpunk act The Casualties have managed to cling to the rebellious youth so hard. Back in the early 1980s, after the first wave of english punk rock flamed out - a meaner spirited, leather jacketed subset of bands like The Exploited, GBH, The UK Subs, and The Anti Nowhere league emerged from the ashes to happily embrace all of the glue-sniffing glory of their predecessors, with decidedly less emphasis on songwriting. They wore liberty-spiked mohawks and sang about nuclear warheads, city babies attacked by rats, and nihilism. Considering that period was up to its elbows in cold war rhetoric and nuclear proliferation still bothered folks - it made sense that this brand of beat-your-face-in-with-a-sledgehammer-punk was the soundtrack of choice certain demographic of disaffected youth.
But considering most of those bands are still with us, why The Casualties, a band that is a straight up xerox of the aforementioned 80s UK hardcore punk bands, has far outstripped their predecessors popularity is somewhat bizarre. The most rebellious thing they probably do at the warped tour is butt in front of Face To Face at catering. Do the kids like gravity defying hair and poorly tuned guitars playing generic 80s slamdance riffs at 200 beats-per-minute? Or do they just need some musical MD 20/20 to wash down the 3rd wave ska spumoni of Reel Big Fish? Perhaps they are intrigued that their mom hitchhiked to see The Exploited at the Junkyard and are curious as to what it's like to pretend that music could still matter enough to be dangerous to someone.
Any way you slice that conundrum, there is one thing you can bet the suburb on: the punks wil be off your lawn tomorrow. They have a much bigger one to tear up in West Palm Beach.