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I didn’t know Lucky Boys Confusion personally the way some of my friends did (they went to high school with them, helped promote) and they probably wouldn’t recognize me if I introduced myself to them. But when I heard Joe Sell, one of the guitarists, passed away this week, I felt sad. I always thought of him as sweet. I was often in front of him at shows, and that’s a tiny bond. Even though I didn’t know the band personally, they are something personal to me and many others.

It’s a Chicago thing. They are a Chicago band. They were our punk (I purposely forgot the “ska” part). People have either never heard of them or are a fan and love them. I’ve never met a middle grounder. When you meet a fan, it’s an allegiance, you know where they’re coming from. You can talk to this person, you can trust this person, they love LBC.

I’ve enjoyed many of their shows but one in particular is a great story. It was at a venue in Downers Grove that had an indoor volleyball court. They put mats over the sand so the audience could stand on something that posed as solid ground. I enjoy LBC shows and I’ve often enjoyed their opening acts (this night I met Kirkland, who has a fabulous front woman, and Treaty of Paris, who are still doing well). The crowd at LBC shows can be major pains. Concerts are supposed to be fun, you can let off steam, etc, etc, but when you start hurting people to hurt people, I draw lines. That night there were many drunk white rich boys who had never been drunk before or using the concert to slum. They were jerks. The mosh pit soon turned into an anger management session ( you can blow off steam in there, but 1) if people are moving to get out, let them out and 2) wrestling? really?) people getting hurt and going under feet. Alcohol and the sand footing were not a great combination. Security was quickly losing control of the dumb bell crowd.

Joe Sell and Adam Krier, the other guitarist, were perfect. They played in a way that shut people up. You could watch the audience still (talk about “lulling the beast”) so they could marvel at what they were seeing and hearing. The moshing, the levels of heads of heads bobbed slower and slower to a stop. People were able to get back to their feet, get un-squished. I was sandwiched between two people and slowly felt myself returning to the floor as their bodies relaxed and eased up. That’s one of the powers of music. The crowd was getting out of control so they brought the attention back to the stage. It was one of those best of times, worst of times shows. I was bruised and had a major headache afterwards from someone coming down on my head, but it was really cool to see two guitarists just play solos and bring an audience back.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lucky Boys Confusion, please find them on YouTube or iTunes. Song recommendations: “Hey Driver”, “Atari”, “Cigarettes”, “Killians”, “3 to 10″…. “Fred Astaire” was on the radio for a while.

Were you a fan? What’s your favorite song?