My tour journals are frequently filled with references to the Peter Pan like nature of some local scenes; in parts of the US you are perpetually playing to a different group of under 20 year olds, no matter how often you go back over a period of years.
The biggest drawback of this level of transience is that discussions are sometimes perpetually stuck at entry level, see for example any internet discussion of power violence, something that everyone over the age of 30 was bored of ten years ago. It's hard to build on ideas and concepts if everything has to cycle back to the beginning.
Sometimes on tour i feel like i'm the man that time forgot, every year i get older than my audience. There's definitely something that reminds you of your own mortality to be found in touring in an underground band when you get over 30.
I've Been Looking at Everything Backwards Until Recently
The success of the international underground is one of a strange consistency and permenance despite the almost ever changing audience.
The audiences change, but the form of DIY shows stays the same; cram as many of your friends as you can into a small room with no adult supervision and go fucking nuts to a band. There's an undeniable beauty to that kind of simplicity.
The core values and approaches remain consistent despite the transient nature of the audience. It's almost like some kind of tenuous proof that the path many of us in the life have followed and are still following is a vital aspect of existence that's embedded into a wider consciousness. It's music and specifically the culture of music as an atavistic urge. I loosely verbalised an aspect of this eternal nature of ideas in the Blockade song Irrationalism Uber Alles.
Fellow old guy in a band, Sean from Suffering Luna, sees shows in terms of Victor Turner's concept of Liminality. I'm just going to be lazy and pull a quote from Wikipedia here: Liminality refers "to in-between situations and conditions that are characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and uncertainty regarding the continuity of tradition and future outcomes".
There isn't much of a conclusion to be had here other than to say that the comfort i find in underground culture is not to be found in the consistency of the audience (because it isn't consistent), but in the consistency of ideas and approaches.
Shank, 2003, a show that happened a life time ago by hardcore standards