Let’s be honest- the guys from Rancid and 7 Seconds are all older dudes who have been playing for 20+ years. None of these guys look like they’re in their 20s anymore. In fact, it was Lars Frederiksen’s (Rancid guitar/vocals) 44th birthday the day of the show. But what hasn’t aged is the power of their performances. Though Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds vocals) told us, “we’re out here acting like we're 20, but feeling like we're 60,” you’d never know it. Both sets were full of kicks, spins and punk rock dancing. And this was after both bands had just played Denver’s Riot Fest, Rancid on Saturday and 7 Seconds just eight hours before their Summit set. Colorado usually welcomes out of breath singers, due to our altitude, but no such excuse was needed Sunday night. Neither band put their energy on pause for even a second, and neither did their fans.
The electricity of the punk fans was apparent even at the beginning of Rancid’s set. As Lars started to introduce a song, he got cut off by the crowd screaming his own album titles at him. It didn't take long for the screams to turn into the entire crowd singing “Happy Birthday,” which brought a look of surprise and satisfaction to Lars’ face. He was stoked, and so was everyone around me.
And even when you might have expected things to slow down, they didn’t. At one point, Lars’ amp blew out and the show was paused for ‘technical difficulties.’ Lars shouted, “This is just punk rock!” and proceeded to entertain us with jokes while the roadies worked to get the show going again. Though there wasn’t music happening, everyone was still having a great time.
Sometime after this, a fight broke out in the crowd. Here, Lars actually stopped the set and basically told us that he didn’t care what had happened, that the fight had to stop, and that “this is our time right now, and on our time there is no fighting.” Everyone was quiet. And this is when I had the chance to look around the crowd and realize that one of the most amazing parts of any punk rock show is the fans.
The crowd was made up of old rockers in their 1991 Rancid shirts, the new punk rock kids whose leather hasn’t even been broken in yet, and a bunch of people wearing Misfit clothes from Hot Topic. And then there were the ones who looked like they didn’t even listen to punk. But no matter which category you fit into, the crowd moved and worked with each other for the rest of the night.
Punk has always been about giving people a place to go to do what they want to do: to dance, to jump around, to mosh, to whatever. The entire crowd moved with the music, from the front of the barricade, to the circle pit in the middle, to the people in the very back of the venue. The mosh pit was crazy; there were even small children moshing! There were crowd surfers flying, people falling down, and beer cans being thrown left and right. The crowd pushed and moved, but when the music stopped, so did all of the chaos, and everyone walked away just fine.
When I left for the night, I couldn’t believe it: Here were these middle-aged guys with a (mostly) middle-aged crowd and everyone was getting down like nothing’s changed. But I guess that's just punk rock for ya.
All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.