Last night was Common Ground’s second night of performances. I was reminded of the words of one of this generation’s greatest thespians, Jack Black, from his 2003 film “School of Rock”: “That is so punk rock.”
Considering the heavier-sounding lineup, we’ve decided to create a Buzzfeedy list of the most punk rock things that happened last night. (Will we maintain this theme for more than a day? You’ll have to come back tomorrow and see. Spoiler alert: We probably won’t.)
1. When Josh Scogin threw his axe into the air: It was so sudden. Rock duo ‘68 was roughly 20 minutes in to its set when — during drummer Michael McClellan’s raging drum solo — vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin straight launched his guitar into the air. Things went into slow motion for a second. It was like a father lovingly throwing his sticker-swaddled infant to the skies. He must have thrown it at least four feet above his head. The audience seemed unfazed. Lansing, you’re a tough crowd.2. When Tim McIlrath threw his water bottles into the crowd: Speaking of majestic acts, Chicago-born band Rise Against seemed to be the biggest draw of the evening. Despite the heat, front man Tim McIlrath ran upstage and threw what appeared to be his only source of water into the crowd. Twice! The spray of the open bottles caught the light and was actually quite beautiful — you know, in a punk rock way. I cursed myself that I wasn’t standing close enough to be hit by the spray either time.
3. When McIlrath used the catwalk: The singer was on his game last night and therefore gets two spots on this list. Though the main stage provides a catwalk for its bands, few actually used it. McIlrath went against the flow, using it not only for the livelier songs but also to deliver a heart-wrenching acoustic number, during which the audience looked like the heart-eyed emoji.
4. Parents watching the shows with their kids: Perhaps I’m bitter because my parents never took me to any rock shows as a kid, but I noticed quite a few youngsters at Common Ground yesterday. Props to those who took their kids. There’s something poetic about seeing Bouncing Souls deliver the lyrics, “I like your mom and it’s no fad. I wanna marry her and be your Dad,” while 10-year-olds head hold their parents’ hands.
5. When Common Ground served the most heavenly corn dogs: Even at $4 a pop, I have to say the corn dogs provided this year were exceptional. I may have gone back for a second. Maybe. If getting a great snack while waiting for your favorite band to play isn’t punk rock, I don’t know what is.
6. When Heartsick crowd surfed — twice: Heartsick was my favorite group of the evening, largely because of the sheer amount of energy the band put into its performance. Who else dove into the crowd at the Pavilion Stage twice? Nobody, that’s who.
7. The tons and tons of moshing: Except… there wasn’t any. C’mon Lansing, how can you not mosh when groups like Heartsick are diving into the crowd? This was my only irk last night. Not punk rock at all, Lansing.
8. When Coldville got people to get up and participate during its set: Coldville got on stage at 6:30 p.m., while most people were either still making their way to the festival or trickling through the main gate. Even the few who showed up at the Sparrow Stage, save a few brave individuals, initially chose to sit. But Coldville warmed up the crowd and managed to get a sizeable chunk of the sitting audience to jump and sing along.