RANCID, THEN & NOW

Rancid announced a show in Barcelona months ago. The inevitable question following was, are they still active? Indeed they are, since 1991, except for a hiatus in 2004, Lars Frederiksen, Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, have kept the punk flame alive.

I’ve never been a diehard fan, nor a follower of this band, I enjoyed Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards’ album back in the day, yet I’ve always respected them over Green Day or The Offspring. I’ve found them more real.

My soul bro Pamp and his soulmate Lee Tang confirmed their attendance right away, and I wasn’t so sure of affording it. I like them, but not so much as to pay much money for a ticket, thinking of upcoming shows I’m more interested in.

As the date came close, I decided I couldn’t make it, and the last chance of attending the show was via contests. Believe it or not, I got a free ticket thanks to submitting my punk’est picture, that one I posted here long time ago, with me laying on the stage in ecstasy watching and waving The Wildhearts. Apparently, the image was punk and cool enough as to get me a freebie, so I was delighted I could enjoy another show with Pamp and Lee Tang.

Gotta remark that, for more than 11 years of friendship with these two rascals, and especially with my soul bro, I’ve lived many epic nights of debauchery, flash trips and shows. Some day, I’ll tell you some stories related to Diamond Dogs or Gluecifer… I love these folks!

Let’s get back into Rancid. I remember in 1995, we all loved their third album, …And Out Come the Wolves,  when it was released. As already mentioned, forgetting for a while all these dark bands coming from Seattle, we used to enjoy with “happy” bands which made us jump and dance insane. You know, the already mentioned Green Day, The Offspring, Clawfinger, White Zombie, Terrorvision… We used to spend Saturday nights at a huge venue, like a garage, named Devizio, dancing and sharing liters of beer and calimocho, and we tried to get on well with waiters in order to get free shots of tequila. Crazy times!

The first open air festival I attended, was held in Móstoles. It used to last two days and there were many Spanish bands but of course the headliners were from overseas. This first Festimad, in 1996 featured RATM, Cypress Hill, Smashing Pumpkins, The Posies…and Rancid.

Despite the date in May, it was a very hot day, we were all burnt by the sun, and Rancid came out to play at 18h approx. It was daylight, people were sweating, and the show was packed. When they started there was a massive moshpit, everybody, everywere, dancing, jumping, and kicking. I had this laugh attack because at the first chord, my beer was flying, I got showered, and everything was chaos. Many people fainted, but I was ok, “fresh” thanks to wine and beer over me. Imagine thousands of kids dancing Time Bomb, Roots Radical or Ruby Soho… it was insane. Plus the impression, we were the first generation of youngsters attending to rock festivals in Spain, before this, there wasn’t any! Anyway, being showered wasn’t the only incidence that occurred to me. Schedules were terrible, we had beer for breakfast and well, while Rancid were playing, I was starving, so I decided to eat my Spanish omelet sandwich. Everything was fine in the beginning, I managed to eat the first half without any trouble, eating and dancing, don’t try this, please. But something happened that made my arm to get shorter so I wasn’t able to reach the sandwich. WTF was going on? Well, there were two arms holding mine, I was in the middle of a moshpit eating!!! The scene was hilarious and the moment was so surreal I had this laughing outburst…and focused on finishing my sandwich.

This anecdote aside, this show was so cool I kept in in my memories as one of the funniest and most enjoyable ones in my life, thus, having the possibility of attending to a show 16 years later, with my friends, was something really attractive.

Razzmatazz in summer should be christened as Hellmatazz. I don’t know was going on with this venue, but air conditioning is poor or nonexistent. Although the show wasn’t sold out, the venue was packed, people didn’t stop dancing, and it was terribly hot. So damn hot my friends, and ¾ audience took off their t-shirts looking for some kind of relief. I was wearing my tee so my friends are such basterds that were rubbing against me to get “dry”.

The audience was in a great mood, mainly in my age, by the way, the supporting bands were warming up the crowd and everybody was in the mood.

The band started at 22h sharp, and focused on hits for one hour and a half, which meant 31 songs. People were delighted, the band seemed to be sharing our same enthusiasm and the show became another massive party, with me having another laughing outburst with my friends.

Really, the band sounded powerful and very solid, and the rhythm of the show was reckless. Hit after hit, with no mercy. Absolutely insane!

I Wanna Riot, Tenderloin, Black & Blue, Fell Back Down, Lock, Step & Gone… I got the set list again, so you can check the quality and intensity of the show we witnessed.

Thus, the experience of this journey to the past was a blast. It was like getting back to my 20′s, plus being surrounded by great friends who, once the show was over and lights turn on, were hugging me in absolute happiness…it couldn’t be better!

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