Everyone who regularly goes to see live bands is familiar with waiting in line. That buzz of anticipation that comes from getting there too early because you were nervous about parking but it’s cool cause now you can get a spot by the barrier. Then when you get to the front they check ID before they check your ticket because they’re more concerned with following liquor laws then they are about the band you’re there to see.
All my friends eagerly whip out their ID’s while I give my hand for an X. When we get in, the floor is sticky and it already smells like beer. I hold our place in the front while everyone grabs their drinks. The band starts playing and everyone’s having a good time. I’m focused on the music and my friends and I forget about the way my sneakers are sticking. Then it starts to smell like weed and the guy next to me keeps spilling his beer on me. We leave early because one of the girls drank too much.
I’ve left my spot in the center of great shows because of drunk people more times than I would like to admit. Despite the spilled drinks and skunky scents, I’m not planning on giving up moshing any time soon. There is just a certain something that can’t beat going to an edge band or artist.
The last time I went to see an edge band, a girl I met in line X’d my hands before I got to the door so we could get in quicker. I made friends with guys who looked after me because they were worried I was too small for the pit that night. They gave out free water instead of free shots, no one threw up and the floors weren’t sticky. I stayed the whole night.
There is an unexplainable camaraderie I instantly feel at an edge show. Everyone seems to hold a mutual respect for each other. Like all music lovers, I’ve always felt that music brings people together. When I go to see any band live, I like to take a moment to think that everyone here has at least one thing in common and it’s that band. That was always really special to me.
When you go to see an edge band you have two things in common, mutual love of that music and mutual sobriety. If you’ve ever felt isolated by being sober it is the quickest way to get over it.
At its core, straight edge is about music, acceptance and living clean. So, it only seems natural that the place I feel most comfortable and at peace is screaming with a couple hundred strangers. There is an incredibly safe feeling that I get knowing that I’m actually excited to see the show and not anxious about what will happen that night. It’s the kind of calm that only comes from community, the kind of love that comes from mutual respect and an energy that I could never put into words.
The straight edge community has saved me in more ways than I would have ever thought possible but at the end of the day it will always be the music that brings us together.