When The Unseen's new album State Of Discontent hit my stereo back in May I knew I had found a new pinnacle of punk music today. The band mixed together their screaming Boston hardcore style with political bashing and melodic undertones. The Unseen instantly became more than just one of those "Liberty Punk" bands with their 10 foot mohawks and torn up jean jackets with studs and patches all over them. In my opinion they vaulted themselves to the same level as bands like Rancid, Rise Against, and Anti-Flag. Little did I know that this same band would have such passionate fans that they would cause a riot in West Hollywood in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. in front of the famous Troubadour. Well it happened on September 23, 2005 on a Friday night and I was in the middle of this punk war zone.
I decided to arrive at the Trobadour an hour early like usual to find my parking spot on the street behind the venue. After doing a 20 point parallel parking job in my wide ass Ford Ranger, I decided to get a spot in line outside. What I saw was astounding; the line to get in was all the way around the block. I had never seen this many people outside the Troubadour, which is probably one of the smallest venues around. I waited my spot in line surrounded by 15 year high school kids smoking cigarettes and having spikes that look like they used 10 bottles of Elmer's Glue to get them stuck up in their position. After about 45 minutes the line started moving and to my astonishment a lot of people were just standing around. I soon realized that probably half of the people standing outside didn't have tickets and I knew this concert sold out. After getting my tickets, a quick search, and a wristband I was inside. It amazed me that for the hundreds of people outside that the inside was still pretty empty. I was kind of bored standing around so I forked up $7 for a beer and took my spot against the stage. After waiting a good half hour no band had come on and the crowd inside was getting larger. The next thing I know a security guard comes up and says to everyone that they had to leave. I thought nothing of it until they turned on all the lights and the loud speaker said that the venue was closed and everyone had to leave, as you could imagine this pissed off the entire crowd who started yelling obscenities at the security guards. The security guards just kept saying the faster we all got out the faster we could get back in. This raised my hopes considerably not only for the concert but that I didn't waste $7 on a beer. I heard from some security guard that a mass of people outside without tickets rushed the door and the security had to call the cops. Like ants, all the punk kids in the venue filed out to an insane scene on the sidewalk.
The crowd outside was massive, with probably 200-300 people standing on the sidewalk or in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. I followed the line of people, but I squeezed into the crowd so I could stay near the door and get in fast. By this time there was 3 squad cars parked out front which didn't seem to bother very many people. This would all change when the last person left the venue and the security guards closed the doors. I knew this would piss off all the people outside who forked up $12 for a ticket, but I never knew that it would cause a scene like the one I witnessed. People started walking into the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. literally stopping traffic to a standstill. As you could imagine the police didn't like this very much and they started using loud speakers to tell everyone to go home. This just pissed off the crowd even more who stood in front of the venue in defiance shouting pig references at the cops. I knew I had to book it when 3 more squad cars and an SUV pulled up. I slowly walked around the mass of people off towards that Karate place right next to the Troubadour. The opening band had busted out some acoustics and was playing to a large crowd sitting there. The singer kept saying for everyone to sit down so the cops couldn't do shit to them. This backfired when the crowd got larger and larger. The next thing I knew there was the shattering a glass and tear gas rising from the entrance of the Troubadour. This caused even more chaos. Hundreds of kids poured into the streets running from the cops who stood at every intersection. I wasn't really in the mood to have my eyes melt out of my socket or get the shit beat out of me by some Beverly Hills Cop, so I ran around the corner and back to my car. I still don't know what went down after the tear gas went off. I've never witnessed anything like this before at any concert. It just amazed me that a somewhat obscure band like The Unseen could cause so much commotion among their fans. This night will always live on as a sign of the power of music and the stupidity of fans that don't get tickets ahead of time.