In or around 2000, I went to the Trocadero Theatre to see the Bouncing Souls with Lifetime and Weston. It was one of Lifetime's final performances "ever," and my first time seeing them. I had seen the Souls on numerous occasions by this time, and I made my way up to the balconey with my then-girlfriend, to watch the show perched atop the wild crowd. Everything about that night, in my mind at the time, was taunt with a sense that age was creeping up brutally on all involved parties. I was getting 'too old' perhaps, too spend the show amongst the sweaty, dancing hoardes, Lifetime was clearly ready to move into a different phase of their lives (eventually spawning the spectacular Kid Dynamite & Paint It Black, amongst others, as you know), and god only knew how much longer the Souls would keep at it.

So I left the pit to the 'kids' for that one. Of course, attending the show with a 'high maintenance' date who would never in a million years come anywhere near a pit made this an easy decision, and this 'mature adult,' for one, had a great time, enjoying the bands despite my relative distance from the action.

That premature burst of curmudgeonly 'wisdom' passed, assisted by the eventual departure of said 'high maintenance' girlfriend, and I've found myself in a respectable number of pits and dancefloors in the ensuing NINE years.

I thought I was old then, at 20!

So it was good to be back at the Troc for a Souls show, and the addition of somewhat recently reformed Lifetime (who I last caught 'from the pit' of the Church about two years ago for an absolutely amazing 7" release show) made purchasing a ticket all the more justifiable.

Over the past few years, that sense of being an increasingly 'elder statesman' of the scene has increased sharply, especially with the generally increasing rise of the population of 11-16 year olds interested in the scene (a wonderful development). But on this night, the crowd seemed populated by folks mainly of the 18-35 demographic, so I at least didn't have to feel like I better run to the balconey bar, lest I be ripped to shreds by the 'we are/we drink young blood' crowd. Nonetheless, my wife and I made our way to the balconey bar, content to watch the show perched atop the 'wild' crowd, since, for all intents and purposes, we really are old now. Gone are the days of naive reservations of age, replaced with genuine reservations.

The show opened with an acoustic performance from Avail's Tim Barry, who rocked the enthusiastic crowd with a smattering of spirituals, blues folk trips, and Avail classics. When, during his final song, a string on his guitar broke, Mr. Barry quickly grabbed a new git box, hopped down into the crowd, made his way to the center of the room, and finished the song surrounded by an impromtu choir of punked out enthusiasts. It was one of those classic moments where audience and musician merge with and become experience, and it looked and sounded great from above.

Lifetime followed with a typical Lifetime set, by which I mean to assert was: awesome, energetic, on point, full of all the classics, and spectacularly Dan Yemin-fied. That guy can really get down with a guitar and with a crowd. Ari and the rest were groovin hard throughout as well, and just sitting and watching their intensity was enough to cause me and most of the rest of the balconey to break a sweat. It gets hot in there!

The Bouncing Souls played in France. They played in California (where Karl once classically got into the show with the help of Kate-is-Great), New Jersey, everywhere else in the world and universe, and the Trocadero Theatre. I don't know who holds the record for most shows held @ the Troc, but the Souls MUST be in the top ten. They play there sooo often, and they have never disappointed when I have been in attendance. I don't think they disappoint too often.

But over 20 years (20 years!) the Bouncing Souls have managed to keep it up in the grandest of fashions, with record after record of solid 'manthems' and soulful punk ballads unparalleled in the scene. When you see them live, they invariably cull from their vast repertoire of crowd pleasers, to put together a set that gets the kids dancing, and the shlubs in the balconey up off their feet, and (perhaps, even) down to the dancefloor.

Such was the case for my wife and I. Despite our pre arranged decision to 'sit this one out' it only took a few seconds into their second song, 'East Coast! Fuck You!' before my wife took my hand and said 'let's get down there.' I am down. (As a quick aside, this act alone highlights why I am lucky and smart to have married my wife, as opposed to previous, higher maintenance options ;)

Literally seconds later, we are making our way through the pit, right to the center of the action. We made our way in and out of the pit as the night progressed, dictated (for me) by how long I could go before fearing an imminent heart attack, and returning to the action once this sense had subsided. We enjoyed, from front and center, such classics as Neurotic, These are the Quotes/I like your mom/Joe Lies, Cracked, Kate, Sing Along Forever, Sarah Saturday, Quick Check Girl, Moon Over Asbury, and many more.

I think in the 13 years that I have been seeing the Bouncing Souls, they have aged far less than I have. If Greg's hairline has receded even 1/8 of an inch, I'd be surprised. Brian & the Pete look much exactly the same, if only slightly bulkier in Bryan's case, and slightly more haggard in Pete's case. But they ALL look great, and Michael McDermott keeps them in line like a drill seargant, drilling away at the band and the crowd.

The two song encore ended with one of my favorites: Gone, and I quickly made my way back to the center of the action for one last groove.

The volumes of sweat that I squeezed from my shirt as I walked shirtless down the streets of Chinatown nearly made my wife sick, but was a testament to all the truths laid bare by the events of the previous hours. We are getting old: out of shape, beat up, hardened and heartened. Time flies, whether you are having fun or not, so we might as well have fun. And maybe, even, some golden things can stay.