Thoughts From the Pit:
“Don’t Be Afraid to Pogo” Gears Documentary
The Gears and Lawndale at Café N
Another Friday night, another couple of bands, another couple of beers…not so this week! Again, I found my feet scurrying to Café Nela for the Gears documentary, “Don’t Be Afraid to Pogo,” presented by Chris Ashford for the sole entertainment of the Glassel/Cypress Park local crowd and a few others that made the trek from farther distances. It was nice to see my favorite local band friends larger than life on the big screen, or should I say the large, white back wall of the Café Nela. Most of us flocked to the local theaters for the “Damned Documentary: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead” this summer, but I bet many of you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this one. Chris, who also manages The Gears, put together a concise chronicle of the entire lifeline of this brilliant, resolute, and extremely influential Los Angeles punk band that we know and love. From the modest beginnings of pre-pubescent friendships to riding the wave of popularity and notorious success, Chris created an exquisite patchwork filled with old band footage, candid thoughts from all members of the band including Dave Drive that passed almost a year ago on October 3rd, and loads of lighter moments of sincerity that aren’t often captured in a format like this one. After the film, we were treated to the effervescently surftastical sounds of Lawndale before the Gears took the stage at midnight. The Gears did what they do best, played every song they ever wrote, according to Jeff Spike Austin. (Tip: Don’t let Mike Manifold write up the set list next time!) Axxel wowed us with his charismatic self, and the crowd responded accordingly. Their friend Patrick French came on stage to lend a hand, or mouth, with his harmonica. The night ended with sweat dripping from band and crowd, which means full on success in my book. But truly folks, please try to catch the “Don’t Be Afraid to Pogo” documentary whenever or wherever the opportunity presents itself. I believe the next stop is Portland!