Teenage Mash Note To All-Ages Shows

Some people look back on their teenage years as a golden era. Granted, it might seem great in hindsight compared with the responsibilities of being an adult, but the way I remember it, being under 21 can be really rough. High school, high hormones, high tension with your parents. All that teenage electricity can fizzle and burn without an outlet to channel into something positive. That might bring up images of after school programs and clubs, keeping kids “off the streets” as they say… but I would also volunteer the live music show as an excellent conduit for adolescent energy.

I spent many youthful hours wrapped up in my headphones, but I was unfortunate enough to grow up in Seattle at a time when it was almost illegal for teenagers to hear live music. Due to the notorious and much reviled Teen Dance Ordinance (read more about it here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Dance_Ordinance), all-ages shows were virtually banned in the city, as the costs involved were too high to make them profitable. While I was longingly reading the newspaper listings of all the cool bands I was too young to see, my Californian contemporaries were enjoying the thrills of live music first hand as young as 14 and 15. Even if it was just seeing an aging punk band on their umpteenth reunion tour at the local YMCA, these early experiences were crucial for the friends I’ve spoken to on the subject, always informing a life-long love of music and often inspiring a desire to create music of their own.

I had not given the topic much though until this last weekend when I attended a couple of all-ages shows at the Verdi Club and Thee Parkside as part of the Burger Boogaloo festival. Initially, I felt a little put off sharing space with kids- they seemed soooo young and silly! But I ended up reproaching myself when I remembered how much I would have appreciated the opportunity. So in honor of live music as a pleasure not reserved for adults alone, let’s hear it for the abundance of local clubs with all-ages shows in the SF area! There are the aforementioned Verdi Club and Parkside; I also recommend checking out the Bottom of the Hill in Potrero for all-ages shows, such as the one coming up this Saturday with Hunx and his Punx, Shannon and the Clams and Grass Widow.

And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion… This Thursday the 31st is “Web of Sound” at the Make-Out Room (3225 22nd Street at Mission)- it’s a free dance party with myself and guest DJs Mychedelic (Space is the Place) and Moondoggy (KUSF/Shred the Gnar) playing all kinds of crazy vinyl to inspire your feet to move. Since it sadly is not an all-ages event, there will also be lots of tasty alcoholic drinks for extra dancing “inspiration.” If you like sixties and seventies garage, psych, soul, funk, glam, folk and beyond, you should come check it out any time from ten pm until last call!

— Jackie Sugarlumps

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