After Love Punch and Pretty Girls impressively did their thing, the Blood Brothers took the stage to celebrate the release of their new album, March on Electric Children. Fifteen-year-old Sharla Paige was in the front of the crowd, holding her own in the pit of pulsating, spastic boys. Her smile never faded.
The band finished its raucous set of bratty hardcore and I asked Sharla if she was willing to talk before Botch took the stage. "Yeah," she said, fanning her face with her hand and trying to catch her breath. "But can we go outside and do it?"
Sweaty and tired, Sharla quickly maneuvered through the crowd to the outside patio. Luckily the rain had stopped for a few minutes, but I don't think she'd have cared either way.
"The Blood Brothers are awesome," Sharla gushed. "I love them so much. They have a lot of energy and a really good vibe."
Being such a fan of the band, she refused to settle in the back of the room and watch from a distance. "When I'm in the back of the crowd, it's like I'm not in there, in the show," said Sharla. "If you're gonna come see a show, you've gotta be in the show."
Crowd-surfing, shoving, flailing arms, it's all just part of the atmosphere, Sharla says. Since first crowd-surfing at a Murder City Devils show last year, she has yet to suffer any serious injuries or confrontations. Except once.
"One time when I was crowd-surfing, people kept spinning me around and I accidentally kicked a guy in the head. He must've thought I was a guy, because he threw his fist right between my legs, like he thought he could get me in the nuts or something." Sharla laughs. "It didn't hurt--I don't have any nuts!"
We spoke about music for another 10 minutes then went back inside to see Botch. When the overhead lights went out, Sharla once again fought the sea of people to gain a spot in the front. I lost her halfway through the crowd.
Botch played its set, announced its breakup [see It's My Party, Feb 7], and the crowd of sweaty onlookers began to disperse. By the exit, I spotted Sharla. Just as when I'd first seen her, she was smiling and exhausted.
"What'd you think of Botch?" I asked.
"Awesome," she said with a big smile. "Some guy elbowed me right here in the throat, and I think I got kicked a few times." She pulled up a pant leg to reveal a slew of small bruises. "But I'm all right." Megan SeliNg