You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore

I learned the meaning of community this weekend in a worn-out former excelsior mill now known as The Masquerade, a concert venue in Atlanta.

My wife Victoria, my brother, his friend and I went to see Underoath on their farewell tour with The Chariot and mewithoutYou.

I wasn’t actually there to see Underoath; I was there to see mewithoutYou. Their eclectic and experimental sound lines up more with my current tastes in music, while Underoath and The Chariot are more of the noisy, chaotic stuff that 14-year-old me listened to.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been near anything remotely close to a hardcore show, so this show served as a loud reminder of the experience.

During The Chariot’s set, what had previously been a relatively calm and stable crowd turned into a gigantic, floor-wide mosh pit that lived and moved and breathed as one being.

Everyone pushed their way toward the stage in a combined frenzy that probably would have looked like a riot from an outsider’s viewpoint.

In fact, leaving a show like that with a few bruises and sore limbs is not all that uncommon.

It was in this stormy sea of people that Victoria accidentally stepped out of her shoe while moving to a less chaotic part of the room. We pretty much assumed that the shoe was history but asked around the room for folks to look for it.

Well, those folks looked for it and asked others around them to look for it as well. Within five to 10 minutes, a guy about 10 yards from us held up the shoe and was asking whose it was.

Maybe it’s just an odd moment of sentimentality from me, but I felt like this was a basically good model for how large groups of people should act.

We weren’t all there to see the same band but did want to enjoy the music and have a good time.

Furthermore, I honestly felt like everyone there wanted everyone else to have the best possible time.

Why can’t everyday life be like this? Why can’t we be thrilled at the concept of others succeeding and being happy and even encourage and help them reach their goals?

If someone’s a die-hard fan and knows the words by heart, we should recognize that passion, collectively pick that person up and crowd surf them to the front to scream the lyrics with the band.

Likewise, something as simple as losing a shoe can completely ruin someone’s day, and all it takes to fix it is taking a moment to lend a helping hand instead of just as easily saying, “Not my shoe, not my problem.”

Sure, it’s a long and convoluted metaphor, but if we all acted more like the hardcore scene and tried to be more supportive and encouraging, if we cared more about the people around us, wouldn’t life in our communities be just as crazy awesome?