Sorry kids, D.C. Punk is out of Business

Punk is dead, and it’s your fault.

Have the kids lost all respect? Yes. Tuesday night D.C.’s Nation Nightclub hosted legendary punk act, The Business, a group whose credentials are unparalleled: constant touring, 20 plus years on the international punk scene and countless releases over the span of three decades. They’ve played with everyone who is or was anyone, and acted as inspiration for modern bands like the Dropkick Murphy’s and Rancid. So, you’d think there’d be a strong showing in D.C., the town that put ’80s hardcore on the map. Right? Hardly.

These Guinness-swilling hooligans were in full swing, but the kids weren’t. The District made a poor showing, as the room was far from full and the demeanor of fans was less than enthralled. True, pits broke out, fingers were pointed in the air, but there wasn’t any heart in it. It was a hollow effort – not enough kids and not enough energy.

With a stripped-down small stage setup, Nation became a different universe, one of the ratty basements where punk rock was born. Who could ask for more? You could touch real punk rock royalty, literally. Hats off to Nation for providing an intimate environment and a great opportunity. It’s just a shame no one came out.

The band played fan favorites like “Harry May” and “Hardcore Hooligan,” but were often met with a seas of fairly blank stares. They played not for an educated fan-base who knew its heritage, but for five or six kids who knew the songs and a rack of tots waiting for their moms to pick them up.

Complaints abound about the state of the D.C. punk music scene – no venues and no shows. The city has lost its punk credentials and is quickly being supplanted by Baltimore, the city that now draws most underground punk acts. The reason is because the kids don’t show up to the shows. Nation nightclub did the city a favor and brought veterans of the scene town, but the kids are too busy watching the new punk sensation on MTV to take notice.

The Business started with the Sex Pistols and is still going strong years after that bands reunion tour. And they put on quite a show, even after all these years. Unfortunately their booking sense has left them — they don’t know which cities are alive and which are dead.

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