I drove out to Newcastle with a mate on Wednesday night. He lives in Toronto, but he’s back Sydney-side for a few months, and it’s been great catching up.
We decided to get out of Sydney for the night to catch a small hardcore show. A UK group, Basement, was headlining, with a few local Australian acts. Tiny little warehouse gig.
It was the first time I had been to a “local” sort of show in years. Back when I was younger, I’d be down at The Den every Thursday, and the Hype rec centre each weekend. We used to memorise every lyric from the local acts. Bands like Game On, The Valley, Die Trying…It felt vibrant and alive back then.
Wednesday’s show felt like stepping back in time to 2006. There were even a few familiar faces, people who we used to hang out with, back in the day. As I looked around, I couldn’t help feeling excited for the younger kids there. For some of them, it might have been their first gig. I recognised the looks on their faces, slightly intimidated but thrilled to be there. That’s how I used to look.
Over the last few years, some of that old excitement has faded for me. I don’t go to many shows, and I gave up playing music. I’m quieter now, than I once was. More inclined to stay at home and work on art or writing, less interested in cutting loose.
Maybe the biggest difference between now and then is in my mindset. I no longer believe that everything I am doing was never done before. That’s how it used to be when I was a kid. I thought we were doing something unique and remarkable.
I guess feeling and thinking that way was pretty ridiculous. I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense now. Maybe it’s feeling that way that enables great music and great art to sometimes burst out of nowhere and change the game. I don’t know.
I’m writing this over a coffee in a small back alley cafe. The kind of place I would never have been inside 10 years ago. I’m feeling calm, I’m feeling relaxed.
Looking back, I miss who I used to be. But all the same, I like the guy I turned into. I might not ever feel a fire inside me again, and I might not ever make art that changes the world. But I’m happy.