One of the perks of having children is accompanying them on outings you might not otherwise qualify for. Attending a boy-band concert, for example. Mashing it out in the mosh-pit to Nashville heart throbs, Hot Chelle Rae, at the Wellington Town Hall last month, has definitely been one of the highlights of my year. Honestly.
‘Mum, you’re the only mum in the mosh pit,’ teenage daughter, complained.
‘The sound is best here,’ I replied, undeterred. As was the view. I lapped it up, just like all the other females (less than half my age) squished in around me. Meeting the lead singer, the guitarist, the bass player and the drummer, while out shopping earlier had naturally heightened my joie-de-boy band. ‘Yeah come on mom get in the photo,’ they flirted. I giggled and obliged. Teenage daughter told me I looked like a cougar. Nonetheless, I half expected a dedication, to her of course. She would have called that golden.
Anyway, I wasn’t the only oldie in the mash-that-is-the-mosh, I had my sister with me. And who’d want to be one of those sad-o ‘rents at the back, watching disapprovingly at the waving warm sea of half-clad innocence for two hours.
Naturally the audience was 95% female. I was fascinated. A new generation, yet the personas were unchanged (social media comments aside). The betarted sluzzers in the queue, flesh exposed, caked in makeup. ‘I’m so totally gonna to make this my profile pic,’ said one in repose on a parking bollard. ‘I’m gonna move to Wellington with my boyfriend,’ said another, about 14. The moody beotch leaning against a column with the baby faced, barely moustached boy. The nerdy girls, the innocent pretty girls, the plump girls, the painfully tall girls, the limp haired pimpled girls. Appearances aside, they were all there for one thing: The promise that those cute boys on the stage loved them back. Honestly.
‘We love you Wellington,’ said Ryan, the lead singer. ‘We’re having the best time up here. Are you?’ The screams were deafening. Each teenage dreamer, together yet alone in her own private heaven. I blocked my ears. And my nose. BO, toe jam, mild perspiration and warm damp hair mingled into one pongy perfume. The bouncer-dude up front should have sprayed Lily-of-the-Valley Impulse, not water on the crowd. Intermittently a limp young thing got hauled up onto the stage, by the water sprayer man, and put in the recovery position. I was glad I’d come to chaperone.
The few males present had dates. One 20-something boy, spent most of the main act macking and pushing his way back and forth, with his completely out of it girl. She almost fell over several times, despite the mesh of bodies. At first, I figured she was bladdered, but all that tongue diving mmm? One thing was certain – unlike the rest of us, every carefully penned lyric was lost on her. She’d have no memory of her $90 night, teenage daughter and I agreed.
At one point two giraffe girls pushed in front of us. Then before I could say; hey, we can’t SEE. They fished around in their bags, donned heels and grew another six inches. The cheek. Meanwhile, a crop topped, denim-undie clad child squeezed in on my right. Holding fast in the mosh, was as fulltime as waving your cellphone. But Ryan was a showman and I’d been sent the links, I knew the words. Their out-of-love anthems were catchy. Honestly.
The next day, a music reviewer wrote of the; “popcorn-crunch of this mallrat muzak”. Poor thing. His feet weren’t in his teenage-girl-shoes. He wasn’t swaying in the mosh. He wasn’t wearing a white t-shirt with the band members’ names scrawled in indelible marker. He wasn’t living a new and imaginary love-life, just for one night. He didn’t know the words. These over-cologned, clean cut, incredibly polite and heavily tattooed young musicians playing their first headline act, revelled in the air-splitting girl-screams reverberating through their mics. They played two encores. And they too scanned the audience (especially Nash) looking for… something. Love? Marriage? A date? What, whatever.
Two girls called, Albany & Renee, held a plaque, it said it all: “Honestly, (we) Like it like that, Tonight Tonight”.