Taking my Punk to Punk


Jeffrey turns twelve next week. It’s hard for me to wrap myself around the idea that he’s leaving primary, starting Junior High, wears shoes larger than me, and looks me in the eye. Next week I’m sure I’ll pen a sentiment-ladden tome about the passage of time and the anniversary of his making me a mother *sniff*, but this week, I took him to his first concert. Well, his first concert-concert. He’s been to the theater, the symphony, and plays in the school brass band… but you know what I mean.

There is only one band he truly loves- mostly because they’re the only band I know of that combines all the typical rock instruments, but adds in mandolin, accordion, banjo, fife, AND BAGPIPES. We went to see the Dropkick Murphys.

Seriously, is that not the coolest rendition of Scotland the Brave? We love bagpipes! (and coolest hymn ever, if you’re me…)

For a kid who sings along with these songs in the car with the windows down at the top of his voice, he was surprisingly nervous. I told him being unsure in new situations was normal, and I would have no problem selling the tickets, but I wanted him to ponder it. As a mother, it was fascinating watching him grapple with his own desires and fears— I knew he would be okay either way, but I also knew he would lay the foundation for courage in other situations if he persevered through his uncertainty. But I had to let him figure it out on his own, knowing he was okay with me either way. He decided to go.

It’d been years since I went to a small venue show. While I had read him in on what to expect, I had forgotten about the under-21 wristbands and the security pat-down. We had an interesting discussion on why some underage teens would want to buy beer, and how the wristbands kept kids protected from stupid people. There were a fair amount of kids his age, and that made him feel more comfortable.

The show was at The National, an old converted theater in the state capitol. Cool architecture, winding staircases and heavy curtains, peopled by folks in Boston t-shirts and some wearing kilts. The opening band was horrible, and we ended up leaving the floor for the balcony where we could find a seat and wait for the Murphys. We scored seats right at the railing of the balcony and had a great view. I love general admission all-ages shows. There were a surprising amount of families.

Then the lights went down. The energy went up, the curtain dropped, and the Murphys were on fire. It was an amazing show— there’s no way to adequately describe the energy of the music, the tightness of the band, and the camaraderie of the crowd. The Murphys really like their fans, and it shows. (Another reason to stick with small venues)

By the end of the show, he was actually standing and swaying, though not fully ready to jump in and dance. Not bad for a twelve year old punk. I sure do love this kid.

IMG_0848Thanks to my old friend Susan M. for showing me by example the richness available in being open to new experiences and the joy in taking your kids with you.

2 thoughts on “Taking my Punk to Punk

  1. How awesome! Great band for a first show, too. I remember taking my oldest to see 3 Inches of Blood when he was 12, and feeling like I would take down any slam/mosh pit dancer who threw a punch his way as we made our way from the front of the crowd to the rear (where it was safe). And my youngest after another 3 Inches show sitting around talking videogames with the guitarist. Great memories. Jeffrey will always remember his first show!

  2. Yeah, it really was the perfect band for a first show. Plus, he adores them so he knew most of the songs. There wasn’t a pit, but they invited kids up on stage after the show.

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