“Fuck tha Police”, a timeless classic released a quarter century ago by N.W.A., has never meant more to people in the Allston-Brighton area than it has these last few weeks.
This tale of the little man’s struggle against the status quo lives on to this day, and has now reared its head in the not-too-quiet burbs of Allston-Brighton, a neighborhood known for its undercurrent of house parties, basement shows, and generally alternative leaning population. It’s a nice place to live, despite msot of the houses being run-down internally as a result of cramming at least 8 people in them on a normal night. At least 6 of these 8 will be drunk or stoned, and blasting music, watching old cartoons, or playing some retro game before a house party or show is “scheduled” to happen. Allston Standard Punk Time = Show up at the time suggested, get wasted so you don’t care how late the show is. It’s a well-known fact that you’ll be catching the penultimate bus or train home should you take the chance and throw down with your fellow flannel flaggers.
The police and general lamewads around Allston, however, would rather this sort of thing cease. You see, they cite “frequent noise complaints” as a reason to shut these venues down. In their recent sweeps, they’ve shut down big spots like Uncle Crummy’s, Trouble Ahead, and one of my personal favourites, The Boxfort. Allston’s DIY venues, as phoenices, always arise from the ashes in a few months’ time, and of course, there are always venues that the BPD manages to overlook even when they’re under their piggy noses and beady eyes, lustfully thriving in spite of the turbulent insecurity and machismo perpetrated by our favourite boys in blue. Though this time, it seems the iron fist has come down harder than ever before. Myself and the Spaniard in particular were put to the test of nerves, the latter much more so. I must say, I’m especially glad I didn’t have alcohol in hand at that moment. It would spell premature doom for yours truly.
Good looking out, Boston Police, because your “noise complaints” (which totally means “people in black having a good time”) mean jack when there are still kids out there having dubstep douche parties, the average participant of which being far louder than any Orange amp used by a small touring act that’s just trying to spread the gospel of anti-establisjment. It’s a shame that the BPD don’t realise the damage they’re doing to the neighborhood by having these crackdowns on the local music scene. You see, it goes much further than just stopping a bunch of kids from having fun on a Friday night. Take into consideration the fact that people from other parts of town are flocking into the neighborhood. Said people get hungry and thirsty. Hungry and thirsty people buy food and drinks. Maybe they’ll stop by other shops while they’re around, who knows. Point is, shows -official or not- bring revenue, and the BPD don’t understand that these up and coming bands won’t be invited to play at The Great Scott, The Paradise, or O’Briens all the time, so these basement shows are necessary for musicians to survive.
And herein lies the fault in my faith in the godforsaken police: Thinking they’ll actually “get” how having local music scenes outside of dive bars and big venues is beneficial to the area they’re claiming to protect. People like to go out and enjoy themselves, and sure, there might be one guy or girl that up and acts a fool, but professional venue or not, stupid people exist. Should the House Of Blues be closed down because someone gets in a fight or causes a ruckus outside of its doors? No, so why should we do the same to a random basement? Perhaps I’m not making the best case for myself, but I’m too mad to make good sense. I’ll be damned if the cops are going to operate under the assumption that they’re doing good by preventing DIY spaces from existing in a world where the professional venues have grown too strict on people under 21 and people in general. In a city where a touring band has to either play only to people who can drink or a basement/loft with a strong sense of community where people of all ages can enjoy the live experience, which do you think they’ll logically choose? Of course, the latter, because fat idiot bouncers and soundguys being divas is not everyone’s idea of a good time.
Let us hope that the BPL either realise the error of their ways and start solving real crimes rather than following the scent of cannabis to an innocuous gathering of fringe peoples who are minding their own business. It’s high time Allston-Brighton started feeling like part of America again. I was planning on writing up a bunch of good memories I’ve had at Allston DIY shows, but fuck it, I was wasted for almost all of them, so go look through things I’ve written. Cheers, and to all a plate of bacon.