To Dance or Not To Dance
My very first opportunity to dance with a real live girl in public I completely
fouled up. I was in 6th grade at the public school as a guest of my public school
friend. I was completely shy and a group of girls approached me and acted as
a mouthpiece for a girl named Darlene who wanted to know if I'd like to dance
with her. Panic hit me like assorted kitchen utensils and I politely declined,
stating, "I can't Dance". It was a remark I was to rue in the ensuing years when
puberty hit me full force and I constantly thought back to that night when I
could have touched a girl, at least for a few moments.
Today I still can't dance. But I do whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I owe my lack of dancing inhibitions to my friends, who likewise shabbily bust
moves whenever possible. I remember many a night at Tania Alvarez' house, dancing
to the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat" as Scott Visco, wielding a pool cue, mimed
the very act in time with the music. Or New Year's Eve in Ernie Kim's basement
dancing to "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by the Police.
| "I thought that they were bored out of their skulls but
it turns out they were having a ball" - Dismemberment Plan
'Do The Standing Still'
Perhaps my fondest dancing memory comes from the third Lollapalooza during
Dinosaur Jr.'s set. Throughout the 45 minute performance, 3/4 of the AKU (myself
included) screamed at the top of our lungs for the prehistoric beasts to play
"Sludgefeast", the song we covered in our own shows. We were pretty far away
from the stage in the midst of several thousand people so there was no way they
could have heard us.
Yet for their finale', J.Mascis and Co. answered our pleas and launched into
that very song. So overcome were we with excitement and adrenaline, that the
three of us began to rock out in the most insane way imaginable. Not in a slam
dancing way (which was in fashion), but in a purely physical form, as if our
bodies had become the channels thru which the heavy feast flowed. Suddenly the
crowd, several thousand strong slowly backed away from us. Most times when one
rocked out independently, he/she ran the risk of getting checked by annoying
meatheads out to destroy any form of fun (and there were plenty at this festival).
Instead, the crowd, either by fear or disgust or just plain dumbfoundedness,
backed away and watched while we flailed and leapt; as we assumed our Iron Maiden
rock-guitar stance (which we did live) for the second part of the song, for that
long, wah-wah solo.
After it was done, people came up to us and patted us on
the back, saying we made the show for them.
"This is one thing that puzzles me, my brother; What's wrong with all these
people?!?" - Flavor Flav
'Bring The Noise'
So perhaps this explains my own puzzlement. How can people stand in the presence
of a powerhouse group like the Wicked Farleys or sell out a club to see the Dismemberment
Plan and not seem to have ANY kind of physical reaction to this amazing music?
When I first arrived in the Boston area, I didn't have any friends but forced
myself to go to shows alone. Eventually, I began rocking out as if my buddies
were by my side. A guy approached me at a D-Plan show and said he recognized
me, not from my own band, but as the "Dancing Guy" that was at their last show.
He told me he was hoping I'd show up.
I can understand the idea that perhaps such music and performance is such
a sensory overload that it may leave people with blown minds. I understand the
reluctance to move about when the lingering fear of getting checked by meatheads
For example, a completely opposite Dino Jr. experience occurred when I saw
them in a club around 1994-5. "Mosh pits" had become legitimized by MTV and Spin
magazine and ANY and EVERY show, regardless of genre, volume or heaviness had
an obligatory "mosh pit" or "crowd surfer". Usually, the "moshers" or surfers"
were either complete novices at their first show, thinking that that was what
you had to do OR meatheads who came to the show specifically to hurt people in
the guise of "slam dancing".
|"Here's what I want you all to do: Feel the Groove, Bust a Move" - DJ Yella
'Something to Dance To'
The dancers at this particular show were equal parts of both these factions.
Although much of the music did not warrant any dancing, the amount of stage divers
onstage (waving at their friends instead of jumping) outnumbered the band by
about 7 to 1. I over heard two shirtless jocks congratulate each other for slamming,
one saying "That's what its all about, man!"
So perhaps you non-dancers out there have similar memories. I understand.
But times have changed. The underground music is underground again. Most clubs
have a ban on slamming. The meatheads have Korn, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit shows
to pummel one another at.
In the meantime, don't be afraid to let yourself go; to express yourself to
your favorite music in whichever fashion you chose (even if it aint dancing).
Kevin Bacon fought long and hard for our right to cut loose and kick off our
Sunday shoes. Hopefully you'll understand why you might see me trying to eat
the stage monitor at the next Les Savy Fav show. Perhaps I won't understand why
you'd be there simply watching... but I'll try. But don't be shy. Don't let your
shiny skin color or your fear of insults prevent your from getting the most of
your rock experience.
"Dance everybody... c'mon and Dance" - E.Kim 'Dance Track' Reese's Peanus IV
Written By: Sir Brian C.