bad brains, minor threat, 1982 and the changing of the guard
the lady in chains...
I went to see Minor Threat and the Bad
Brains at Irving Plaza when I was 15. Wow, was that a historical show. I will
never forget entering the club with this guy Chris that I asked if I could go
with, because I really wanted to be there and I did not want to go alone and I
did not know anyone else who was going. The foyer of the space was tiled or
marble, the stairs were hard stone. The sound of hardcore records being spun
was mad and muddy. I was tapped into the adrenaline of all these kids waiting.
We were chomping at the bit for the show to start, for life to start. The
energy in the room was on overload, the air was electric, humid with sweat and
body heat. Before we went upstairs to the room, I remember being part of a
conversation where a girl, I feel like it was Jenny, was saying that straight
edge was pointless. She said “why go on a diet if you are skinny?” Everyone
thought her analogy was profound. I was thrilled and terrified.
Then there was a woman in the lobby that I
will never forget. She was older than all of us teens. She was from the older
school of punk. She did not have short messed up hair, hers was set in some
cool version of a 50’s hairstyle. And she wore a tight skirt, it might have
been leopard skin, and sexy stiletto heels. Her style was definitely not just
50’s bombshell, she had that unmistakable punk edge. Most vividly, I remember
that she had chains on her body. I think she had metal cuffs around her ankles,
above her pumps, that had chains attached that went up to her wrists or her
waist or something. She was radically out of place in the sea of hardcore
teens, and also pretty amazing bravely commanding her space as she walked in tiny steps in her very tight skirt
and heels. I couldn't stop staring and wondering. And yes, I appreciated her style even though I was now into this whole other
thing of boots and overcoats and short hair.
The bands need no description. It was 1982
and they were the most amazing bands on the planet at that time.