Call me crazy, call me an amazing sister, I felt it time to take my 15-year-old brother to his first, proper gig, so last Saturday he and three friends ventured on the train to Sheffield.
An experience in itself for the teenagers; sorting out tickets and journeying to a big city, especially with our, sometimes seen as ‘cocooned’, countryside lifestyle.
We were heading to the 02 academy to see Lost Prophets, a Welsh rock band who’ve been around since 1997.
For this reason alone I was excited. On the night, I looked at my brother and his school friends enjoying the performance of one particularly well known song, and I thought, gosh, I was listening to this very song when I was their age, struggling with GCSE pressure and playground gossip.
Back then this song got me through, and now here I am, six years on, only a semester away from the real world, and I look back with ease: Life can get a lot tougher.
But my heart leapt out to them, part jealousy to be back there, part empathy. Who knows what these lyrics mean to them, I know they kept me going in my moody teenage days.
Back to the event though: We took position on the balcony, a perfect view over the crazy fans below.
We witnessed some interesting scenes, perhaps not much different to the wild fans of the Beatles who once played in Sheffield or the extremes of the punk rock culture that took the lives of famous artists like Ian Curtis of Joy Division.
Who started this sweat-heated, strobe-lightened, and uncontrollable nation?
Here is the next part of the experience – we spotted some under 18’s acting suspiciously.
The subtle handshake that led straight to a back pocket, a wink, and an exchange of cash.
During the second supporting act we were flashed by a drunken 20-something-year-old.
I think he may even have lost his pants completely in the crowd.
There was the usual crowd-surfing followed by a swift exit for a few with the bouncers.
By the time the main artists came on stage the crowd below were rowdy with anticipation.
Suitably warmed up, the usual moshing, and shoving each other began. I never understood the pushing and stumbling in a crowd at a gig. I suppose a lot of it is meant to add to the effect of hallucination with the drink, heat, noise, and drugs.
One boy, I assume only 18, caught our attention. Barely able to stand up, his eyes rolled to the back of his head as he swayed wherever he was pushed. We laughed, pointed out the waste of his health, and the event.
I want to give some credit to our country bumpkins: We do know our health and safety, and yes, many kids will make mistakes, and experiment, but the outlook of these four gave me great hope.