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Our friends, the Delagarza brothers, play in this really neat indie rock band called “The Offal Syndicate”. The missus and I heard that they would be among some other musical acts giving a free performance at the McNamara House Museum, so we decided to go check them out, it had been awhile since we have seen them play live.

Apparently, the reason The Offal Syndicate was part of a free concert was that the McNamara House has a new exhibit: “A Century Of Teens”. The exhibit displayed artifacts and information about teenagers from 1880-1980. I found the topic to be curious so we wandered around the exhibit for a while.

One thing that struck me about the issue of teenagers is that it is such a broad topic, it is almost impossible to cover it all. Personally, as a music nut, I’d like to hear a little bit more about the music of the roaring twenties, and the rock and roll rebellion of the fifties in which parents were worried that their kids were being seduced by devil music. I think that the sixties could have used a little more than a few mentions of “flower power”, how about the problems of segregation in schools and life, and the power of real soul music and doo wop of the sixties?

The other thing about the exhibit that struck me as odd, is they totally left out my generation. (I turned 13 in ’89). The nineties were weird. We were the kids who grew up with MTV videos and thanks to modern communication, fads that took years to catch on were over and done with in a matter of weeks. Slap Bracelets, friendship bracelets, Z Cavarraci pants, Acid wash jeans, MC Hammer pants, Chess King and Miller’s Outpost dictated the masses’ fashion sense.
Music was no exception. Grunge stands out pretty badly in the nineties, but also hip hop and rap became staples in the top 40 charts. “Alternative” music became mainstream and festivals were revived with a couple of “Woodstocks” and also “Lollapalooza” festivals that made the word such a household name…. It doesn’t trigger my spellchecker.
I remember as a teen. One band… that was proud enough to be a garage band and stand out for all the bored kids. “Carpetfish”. I remember seeing them as a kid and being blown away by the Black Flag covers they used to play in house parties. Afraid that the cops would show up, and we would take off running dodging them in backyards and trees, a rush of plastic cups the only evidence we were there. I was there when the majority of that band a few years later started another punk band by the name of “Worm Suicide”, and how they became local legends in Victoria, even though the Advocate wouldn’t print their name in the advertisements in the classifieds section because of the word “suicide”, I remember when a show was advertised they went under the moniker “The Worm Boys”. As a kid, rock and roll was exciting, a bit dangerous, always involved girls, tattoos, and at least one cop car a week.

I think about all this as the Memorial High Jazz band plays a calming melody as I stand on the porch of the museum. It’s a beautiful night… not hot at all. A good turnout for Victoria. Lots of teens are there, probably there to see the Offal Syndicate (Who is a really great band, let me tell you.) Some are dressed in clothing to accentuate the different time periods. It’s nice to see kids involved in things nowadays.

Eventually, Offal Syndicate takes the stage. The energy is electric. For a minute I am almost transported to my teen years over ten years ago. I am quickly brought back to the present moment. The band is great. Their recording is awesome. I suggest you check out The Offal Syndicate sometime so you can say you saw them before they became really big. I stand there for a minute soaking up the band’s second song. If this was me in 1995, I’d be in a house party, not a museum, no way the city of Victoria would let a young band take the stage that wasn’t a cover band… Wait a minute… no booze, no cops, everyone looks so jovial, pretty and young…

To tell the truth, last night didn’t really make me feel nostalgic at all, it made me feel kind of old.