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No Age @ the LA River, 11/17/07

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What could have been a humdrum Saturday afternoon turned out to be the most memorable I've had this entire year. No Age and a lucky crowd of about 75 broke history.

Actually, I'm not even sure if we broke history. However, I am certain that no other band has had the gall to execute a renegade show of this particular nature before. This is what happens when you combine an Arthur Magazine editor-type guy, a shoddy generator from OSH, and the awesome punk-revival antics of No Age.

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I found myself on the banks of the LA River in Atwater Village at around 3 p.m. with a handful of wandering No Age fans. Because of the secrecy of the show and the fact that this hasn't been done before, lots of us were confused about whether or not we're even in the right place. The nature of renegade shows is such that you are not afforded the comfort of relying on what you're told. Everything is up in the air.

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Sure enough, No Age stroll in with their equipment and start hauling it down the vertiginous banks of the LA River. One simple miscalculation and you could arrive at a tumbling demise. Once they started the leisurely process of setting up, it's made clear to me that they're also filming the beauty of this singular, once-in-a-lifetime event. The handful of people I discovered when I first arrived has now augmented to a healthy crowd of seventy some-odd people.

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With the sun on its descent and a thick haze suspended in the LA sky, No Age tore through a short-lived shredfest of about three or four songs adjacent to the river. Onlookers perched themselves on the slant of the bank to watch the spectacle, some danced gleefully atop the bank. We basked in the luxury of experiencing No Age in their natural habitat. Simply shredding through some songs in the middle of nowhere with a manageable crowd on a potentially mundane Saturday afternoon. The memorable experience afforded us all a small sense of community.

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That was...until the rangers showed up. I noticed a man in a featureless, beige uniform during No Age's third song. The man stood in awe, as though he had never seen such a thing, peering from the bridge overhead. By that time, we were perfectly aware that the show would be coming to an abrupt end. The dudes in No Age shrugged it off and continued to plow into a new song. Then, all of the sudden, I heard Dean say, "Oh shit!" I turn around to see two SUVs full of rangers heading our way.

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Truth be told, the rangers probably hadn't ever witnessed anything like it. This many people sitting on the banks of the LA River, a band rocking out with the help of a measly generator, this much heart invested into a slice of our concrete wonderland. The whole experience encapsulates what I love about the LA scene. Some ingenuity, elbow grease, the best punk band in LA, and you've got yourself history in the making. It takes nothing more.

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Despite what outsiders think, the LA music community has its fair share of communal musical outings. They've just receded into the clandestine corners of the punk revival scene. I'll add this to the heaping hoard of zany offerings LA has afforded me. Seriously, where else do you get to experience this type of thing? Only in LA.

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