Sometimes, just sometimes, I can put away my nearly crippling prejudices, even my misogyny (but never my racism) and give credit where credit is due. Today before class I was speaking to the titular shorty about how I spotted her across the crowd while at this weekend’s 3rd annual Mad Decent Block Party (and was far too obliterated to try and hold a conversation with her) and eventually our conversation veered towards the changing social atmosphere of Philadelphia which was when she made her insightful comment and she’s right: Philly is getting cool, but we’ve still got a long way to go before we’e awesome.
Trev here. Ever since I was old enough to hop on SEPTA and go into Philly to see a band without any parental supervision, R5Productions became my go-to guide for planning much of my life outside of school. If you’re from around the area (Philly and its ‘burbs) then chances are you know of R5 and have attended a show that they brought to you. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me put it out there right away, I love R5 and this city’s music scene would be exponentially worse off without them and all of the wonderful bands that they bring to you at very reasonable prices. It is this excellence that just exacerbates the hurt that R5 causes my musical soul; I am, of course, talking about the dreaded 21+ show. I’ve missed way too many great bands to count because of damned 21+ shows at venues like Johnny Brenda’s and Kung-Fu Necktie.
I’m not writing this as a plea, or an attempt to get things changed, really I just wanted to reach out to others who have experienced the thrill of reading that one of your favorite bands is coming to your city, only to have crushing disappointment sweep the rug right from under your feet when you see that 21+ tag. It fucking sucks, I know.
I’ve realized that even thinking about trying to get some change to occur is beyond futile, for two reasons mostly. One: You gotta be 21 to drink. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon (no matter how much any of us think the drinking age should be lowered to match the rest of the civilized world)It’s not really even about the drinking age itself though. A while ago a friend of mine explained to me exactly why R5 has so many shows at places like Brenda’s or Necktie. The reason is that it is hundreds of dollars cheaper to put on a show at a bar (the bar’s gonna make it’s money regardless of whether or not anyone actually watches the band played, the booze covers those costs) compared to somewhere like the First Unitarian Church. I’m still going to complain about all of the shows that I can’t go to, that is, until I actually turn 21 in December. But I will continue to feel for those of you who still have months (or years) to go until you can actually see your favorite band live in a bar. In the meantime though, at least we can enjoy all of these bands in the comfort of our own bedrooms, headphones on and heads bobbing. Here’s a small mix of some of the bands I really wish I could be seeing over the next month, but alas, they are all playing 21+ shows.