Our boys hosted a garage concert on the last day of school. Three bands were slated to play and kids had been invited representing several Bay Area high schools. I don’t recall ever fully signing on for this, and was silently panicking at the thought of 700 moshing metalheads. I demanded a guest list and again went over the house rules of no booze - no drugs – no disrespectful behavior. Only one mom phoned to make sure parents would be home and I confessed that this was uncharted water for us too.
As the bands warmed up, our driveway resembled the scene in Bambi when the forest is on fire and all the bunnies and skunks are evacuating in a wild panic. All wildlife in a 2-mile radius had scampered or flown away. The sheriff that arrived moments later helpfully suggested closing the garage door. He gave me his card in case I ran into any trouble. I gave him my name and number for my pissed neighbors to call so he didn’t have to drive back.
The first two bands were lite punk if such a thing could exist. They were loud for sure but I could still watch Colbert Report without a problem. Then the hosting headliner band came on, with corpse paint and a plastic skull goblet with homemade corn syrup blood for the full effect. As their mother I can honestly say it was horrible. Like a fissure had opened at the end of our driveway and drums as loud as a Hell’s Angels memorial ride and vocals like gargled nails. My garden wilted. Paint peeled from the walls. The mosh pit was at full tilt when the garage door opened just a few inches and a kid literally rolled out and the door shut behind him. I was refilling a bowl with chips and asked him if he was ok. He was holding a broom. He said, “I’m fine.” I went back inside and waited for the phone to ring.
The first call was from a man who asked if they could please take it inside. I told him it was in the garage. He asked if they could close the door. I told him that, sadly the door was closed. When I told him the sheriff had already come by he then claimed to be from the Sheriff’s dispatch office. I thought it was curious that he had a English accent but told him I’d have the band turn down the amps. He lightened up and admitted to having been in a band and I told him it was their first real gig with girls. Those poor girls.
The next neighbor was civil and politely asked if we could please never do it again. She asked if it were perhaps Satanic Jazz. No, not Satanic, but in that Back Metal tradition of Norse mythology, the earth based pre Christian…… never mind I’ll be pulling the plug soon. She told me I was a good mother for letting them flex their creative wings and hopefully for all our sakes it was a phase they’d quickly outgrow. I gave the band a 5-minute warning.
In the end only twenty or so kids showed and the bands were disappointed at that, but clearly they’d earned their stripes by the sheriff coming and pissing off the neighbors. We earned major kudos from the other parent roadies who had opted to go out to dinner during the concert and were now loading amps and guitars into their sensible hybrids.
While my older son was dutifully washing the corn syrup blood off the garage floor I heard a rustle in the tree and a mourning dove coo. One of our cats squeezed back under the fence and reclaimed her perch in the garage.