Parking downtown sucks, especially on a Friday night. I managed to get my car, blasting Bad Religion, into a parking garage (at that point, I didn’t care if I had to pay to stop driving). As soon as I got to the Shred Shed I realized that I had just missed Foster Body. It was a shame because I was looking forward to their set and I was told that they put on a really good show—if only I had left earlier. Well, no use living in hindsight. I walked into the venue to find that it was decorated with streamers, a “Happy Birthday” banner, and balloons with no helium strewn across the floor. I started mingling with some of my punk friends and the boys from Problem Daughter—I suggested that they play extra well tonight because someone important might be watching. Guitarist Shane Augustus smiled and assured me that they would do what is in their power to not disappoint.

Soon, Chalk took the stage illuminating the sound system with their smooth guitar melodies and soft sung vocals that alternated between each band member. There wasn’t a lot of movement in the crowd, obviously—it wasn’t the right music to be moshing to. However, a few shoves to my friends quickly escalated to a full-on mosh pit that lasted for about 60 seconds, and they just kept coming in waves like that. Chalk’s music wasn’t bad, though their stage presence was a little underwhelming. It also didn’t help that their vocals were constantly getting drowned out by the drums and guitars along with the occasional party balloon popping.

And I, The Lion was the next to take the stage, and while I’m not such a fan of emo music, they put on a pretty decent set. Their music started out really mellow and I was thinking to myself, “Oh God, I don’t want to sit through a set of boring, sluggish compositions. I’ll fall asleep.” However, they proved me wrong—their music eventually reached a breaking point to where the guitars reached maximum distortion while the drums continued to carry a brooding rhythm. It was during one of these breakdowns that my buddy and I grabbed each other’s shoulders and started spinning each other around in circles toward the dancing area. It wasn’t long before about five or more audience members joined us and started giving some shoves here and there, eventually erupting into a mosh pit. It eventually transformed into a circle pit, but it wasn’t long before I realized that I was the only one thrash walking, so I stopped and watched the remainder of their set from the back.

The band of the night started setting up their gear and my group and I decided to move to the front of the stage to get the “grand view.” It was “Grandview” that Problem Daughter opened their set with and then right into “Fat Neighbors,” and the Shred Shed came to life—nearly everyone was singing the lyrics, a circle pit had gone into full motion, and I was getting pushed all over the damn place. Problem Daughter made their presence onstage evident—whether they were cranking out classics like “Low Ceilings” and “Nothing Personal,” or making references that were oblivious to the audience, they made sure not a second of their stage time was wasted. Even when Augustus’ guitar shorted out, he still kept playing, keeping the band’s carefree demeanor at an all-time high.

They ended their set with my two personal favorite tracks: “There is no Pepe Silvia” and “Revel.” At this point in the set, singer/bassist Regan Ashton openly stated that he would let the crowd sing the intro to “Revel.” He might as well have let them sing the whole fuckin’ song—not one lyric went unsung. It was during that moment I realized how special this show was. This band had been together for five years—that’s pretty impressive for a local band. They have made some incredible music and developed a very dedicated fan base and have kept it going for that long. I took a second to really appreciate that I am here supporting these guys, because I know they are thinking the same about us. The show came to a blissful end with everyone singing the closing lyrics: “Looking for divine intervention. Searching for that guiding light.”