Jackson goes to the Melvins…

So the Melvins. Here’s some history. The Melvins have been around for 30 odd years, have 23 or so albums, a plethora of hand-made limited edition merchandise, have set a world record for a 51 gigs in 51 states in 51 days, and are very well renowned by the people that know them but not heaps of people know them.

Their influence over music has been massive. Buzzo was the one who taught Kurt Cobain how to play guitar. The attitude they have has influenced me and I always think just do it. Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, or complaining that you’re not popular enough. Do good, build your name and eventually your name will become its own currency.

I saw the Melvins in December of 2013. This is the letter I wrote to one of the venues I saw them at.
(Also, does it look like this video is shot in a library?)


“Dear     the    hi    fi,

This is a letter regarding the 15th of December 2013.

First and foremost I would like to thank you… for cementing my opinions and views about idiocy of society into reality.

Also, thank you for showing me the narrow minded banality and discriminative tendencies of the unproductive, ever constricting “quality of Control”. No matter how hard you try you’re still ugly; and pointless. I’m offended as a customer, a concert goer and as a being.

I arrived to the hi fi at approximately 8:30pm to watch the band the Melvins. I was wearing a lovely patterned purple dress. This is a gig where the guitarist wears a planet moomoo and the bassist wears a turban.
As I’m standing and waiting in line the first security guard who sees me singles me out and tells me to remove myself from the line.

Wow. Special Treatment. What for, why?
Because of the clothes I’m wearing?
Because I’m different?
Maybe because I’m a freak or because I’m actively going against culture and the ugly authority feels a threatening stab to the status quo. I move out of the line.

‘Whatta we gonna do with this one?’ the first spotting security guard asks another.
‘Listen mate, you have to use the UNISEX TOILET, I don’t wanna hear about how people are scared because you’re in their toilet’
“Dude, I’m at a Melvins gig…” I reply through laughter.
‘How much have you had to drink?’ I’m asked quizzically from security.
“I had 3 drinks on the walk over here while I listened to the Melvins for an hour and a half.”
Now I don’t want to say I know more than anyone else but I clearly have a better grasp of the situation and the performance that I’m about to see then these people do.

1)    I use the men’s toilet because I have a penis and I do not use the women’s toilet just because I’m wearing a dress. Gender is based essentially on genitalia, not dress sense. I can’t believe I had to write that down.
2)    Dressing up for an event is half the fun and recognised by cultures worldwide.

‘Other places wouldn’t let you in mate so consider yourself lucky’.

I don’t feel lucky, I feel like I’ve paid $74.10 for a gig that I really want to see so I’m here to watch it, and the $74.10 I’ve paid covers their wages so some of my money is going into their pocket and they’re trying to humiliate me through misplaced dominance… really, scared of a man in a dress?

Since I’ve been removed from the line, I walk back to the end and once again start proceeding my way inside the venue.

It starts to sprinkle water from the sky and the other concert goers, backs against the wall, try to avoid it. One security guard says ‘That’s the way I like it, youse look good, backs up against the wall.’

This statement may have been meant as a joke but came out as if it was a prison warden striding back and forth, hands behind her back staring down the fresh meat that’s now in her compound. Or as if we’re at a firing squad and once everyone is standing still and straight like, the bullet is released from the chamber.

In actuality we’re at a concert in Sydney in 2013. The attitude shouldn’t be of 70’s Cambodia. They try to tell me to move under the 80 centimetres of cover along the wall but it has nothing to do with them whether or not I stand in semi rain.

The first security says he has to check my bag, which is understandable. It’s the same reason bins in public are becoming more rare, because of the terror…

Security Guard: ‘Is that a water bottle?’
Me: “Yes”
Security Guard: ‘What’s in it?’
Me: “Water”
I open the bottle and he smells it.
Security Guard: ‘You have to tip it out. Can’t take your own water in…’

I wouldn’t have wanted to after he put his nose so close to it and since there’s water all over the ground anyway I thought oh well all the water can be together in the gutter.

As I’m walking out of line for a second time the security guard keeps talking as I’m walking over and tipping the water out, ‘…yeah… I don’t want this place to become a druggie junky kinda place.’

Me: “Lucky I’m not a drug addict then”

Security Guard (re-stepping): ‘oh no no no I didn’t say that’

Well actually that is exactly what you said. They were the words that just came out of your mouth.

I finally got inside and the bands were great. I was jumping around up the front with others, enjoying ourselves and helping instantaneously anyone who fell. It’s a connection, we’re all one in that moment of the release of energy with no hostility but only love.

More security guards were at the front watching back with lighthouse birdlike eyes and when they were seen it was like we, the audience, were the trail of people walking alone in the dark in a horror movie and someone would get picked off from the back for doing nothing and never be seen again.
It was like we were the victim, the security the predator.

I left the gig about 10 minutes early (I could judge the set because I saw it at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle two nights before, which was very lovely), got my bag from behind the bar which was in the $5 cloak room and was gone.

My hair was tied up, I was sweaty, I’d had fun and as I walk to the exit there’s was a security guard staring me down from the distance. I knew they were staring me down because I was staring back.

She was shaking her head in disgust at my appearance, indicating to the others to ‘check out this guy’ and point at me.

‘IF YOU LEAVE YOU CAN’T COME BACK IN’ I’m screamed at as I leave.
“I’m done, I’m going home.”

I will never go back to the hi fi again in my life. It was a horrible experience that took away from me the sense of excitement about seeing a band I quite admire. It made me feel disgusted and slightly helpless in a society where force and paperwork bureaucracy reign. It also en-flamed my sense of self-righteousness which doesn’t need gasoline added to it.

I know you don’t care. I’m just one person that you won’t make a lot of money off.
I’m glad a band I like can fill the venue you have, but fuck the gig culture you present.
I’ll give the band I want $50, straight in their pocket, and we’ll do a park gig where we can jump without the command of how high.

Copies of this statement have been retained for distribution to the press, television, social and other mass communication media.

Sincerely, Jackson Hodge.