I often worry that I may have waited too late in my life to start writing about music. I was nearing my 28th birthday when I penned my first review -- Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, "Cardinology."
While I'll admit that 28 is young, it's not as it relate to an industry that markets itself to teenagers and college kids.
So now I find myself about a year and a half later, still writing reviews and running headlong toward tinnitus. The dichotomy is, though, I also live a very grown up existence. I'm married. I'm an assistant editor. I'm a Rotarian. I have a mortgage. I have a baby on the way.
How does this fit together?
The short answer is, it doesn't. I just choose to do it anyway. It's the same impulse that leads me to grow hair below my ears, even as the hair on top of my head clogs the drain in clumps each morning.1
But the real "Am I too old?" test is to come later tonight, when I cover the Flogging Molly concert in Indianapolis. The members of the band may be older than me (a lot older in some cases), but the typical audience member is not.
While I go to my share of shows, most of them are by band that either cater to people in their late 20s and 30s (the Avett Brothers, NEEDTOBREATHE) or bands that hit their primes a long time ago (X, Dinosaur Jr.).
Flogging Molly is different. Their high-energy Celtic punk caters to fans seeking a slightly different concert experience than I seek. I prefer to sit back, sip on a beverage and take in the sights and sounds of it all. Many of these kids2 want to be a part of it all. Their preferred position is down in front in a Guinness-fueled fervor of pogoing and slam dancing.
While I worry that I'm going to look like Johnny Unitas at Woodstock, I really love the music.
The blend of traditional Irish folk with punk's tempo and energy throws together many of the reasons I write about music in the first place. Taking two familiar things and making something completely new and original is an absolute delight.
The music connects with me as much as it doest the drunk 21-year-old in front of the stage. It just does so in a different way.
I can only hope there are others like me -- 29-year-old, fathers-to-be with desk jobs and an arthritic shoulder. 3
As long as there's safety in numbers, I won't be found out for the square that I am.
1 That's also why I try to buy cool hats.
2 See? I just called them kids!
3 I bet I'm still the only Rotarian there.