Youth of Today
June 6, 2011
The Glass House
There have been a few thousand beers between the time when I was a straight edge punk and now, but that didn't stop me from having a good time at last night's Youth of Today reunion show at the Glass House. Although, in all honesty, a few beers pre-show would have been nice, too.
The seminal New York straight edge icons played for about an hour and
ran through the hits in a very tight, cohesive manner. Because I'm 31
and Youth of Today hadn't played Southern California since 1989, I never
saw the band before, but I did have some live bootlegs as a teenager
and last night the band sounded much tighter than I'd ever heard.
friend Aaron–my best friend in high school and fellow (former)
straight edge compadre–leaned over and said something about how good
they sounded, which he attributed to the fact that Youth of Today is
really just singer Ray Cappo, guitarist Porcell and whomever else they
decide to round up.
This theory, he suggested, meant the twosome were
allowed to get the best rhythm section they could find. I think he might
have been correct because bassist Ken Olden and drummer Vinny Panza
played the shit out of those songs in a way that a lot of other
musicians wouldn't have.
Cappo started the evening by announcing, “We're back,” before launching
into a tune of the same name. Throughout the set, the vocalist climbed
atop the barrier and stuck the microphone into the crowd for
sing-alongs, breakdowns and mosh parts.
Cappo is known for his stage banter, but last night the singer toned it
down. Yeah, he talked, but there were no long rants or anything.
Instead, the audience was treated to a few self-deprecating jokes about
how he's not a good singer and how they were going to play requests
based on whomever traveled the farthest to get to the show.
like someone from either Louisiana or Indiana would win that contest,
but then Cappo found a fan from Korea, whose hopes and dreams were
crushed when a kid said he flew 25 hours from Singapore.
A snafu occurred during “Youth Crew” that nearly derailed the entire
show. Cappo was standing on the barricade and wanted to get closer to
fans, but as he positioned himself closer to the crowd, he slipped and
fell between the stage and the barrier. After a few seconds and no sight
of the vocalist, the band and the crowd knew something was up. The
three musicians looked at each other as they played and a friend ran to
the microphone to sing the words. Cappo was helped to his feet and taken
backstage while Tim from Mouthpiece sang Minor Threat's “Out of Step.” Cappo reappeared, visibly shaken and hunched over as he told the fans
that he hurt his knee. The audience applauded loudly for his effort, but
from this point forward, Cappo moved much less swiftly as he did before
I guess I'm not in the minority when I say that seeing Youth of Today
created a heavy dose of nostalgia last night. For me, it was deeper than
just the band because I attended the show with my aforementioned friend
Aaron and it was just like how we used to see bands in high school. We
walked in, but then decided to get some food instead of being social
creatures (of which we are not). Then we re-entered the venue and talked
about how distant we felt from the straight edge scene, even though we
were somewhat a part of it.
Neither of us ever dressed in basketball
hoodies or put Xs on our hands, which seemed to be the modus operandi
for many straight edge kids then and now. By the end of the night, we
talked not about music but of writing (Aaron's always been a solid
writer, but his damned music career always gets in the way) and I made
the long drive home feeling kind of sad for a few reasons.
Aaron's been around the world doing his music thing since we were
teenagers and I'm still a totally unrecognized, unknown, unfamous,
un-everything writer; second, the show reminded me of how much happier I
was as a simple kid who went to high school five days a week and shows
six nights a week; finally, we live very different lives these days and
we don't speak as often as we used to, but I really should make more of
an effort to hang out with Aaron because, even after all these years, I
connect with him in a way I don't with the rest of the world.
I missed the opening bands because I'm 31 years old and 31-year-olds who
prefer Jay-Z and Miles Davis to youth crew breakdowns don't show up for
opening acts. Sorry fellas. Next time. I promise. (Ok, that's a lie. I
The audience: Dudes in their late 30s who waited too long to get
ticket's to Sunday's sold-out show, a handful of 20-somethings who
dressed like it was New York circa 1987, eight really cute girls (and by
that I mean, there were only eight girls in attendance and all eight
were very attractive) , a guy in a Mohawk, a guy in a wheelchair and two
members from seminal gay edge band Gayrilla Biscuits.
Overheard: “Break down the barricade!”
Personal bias: I still think they should have called themselves Youth of Yesterday.
Random notebook dump: The guy in the wheelchair who didn't let something
like his wheelchair stop him from moshing in circles absolutely stole
“Thinking Straight” ”Make a Change” ”Positive Outlook”
“Can't Close My Eyes”
“No More” ”Together” ”I Have Faith”
“A Time We'll Remember”
“Break Down the Walls”
“New York Crew” (with Porcell on vocals)
“Out of Step” (with Tim from Mouthpiece on vocals)
“Young 'Til I Die”
“Minor Threat” (with Cappo and Tim from Mouthpiece on vocals)