“I Really Can’t Hear You.”

Earplugs are an important item to have when you are doing certain things or you find yourself in certain places.

Whether you are using them to avoid a bout with swimmer’s ear or simply trying to politely ignore the toddler that is telling you her age for the 100th time in the airline seat ahead of you, it’s sometimes good to have a pair in your purse or man bag.

Of course, the real reason that earplugs must exist is to make it tolerable to stand in the front row at any rock and roll show and not inhibit permanent damage to your hearing.

Ironically, while walking into the Skid Row show the other evening, I realized that I must have left my pair of earplugs in my other pair of leather pants.

Let’s just start with this little explanation: The big news in town this week that has drawn CNN and the major networks to put us in the “it bleeds, it leads” portion of the broadcast is so despicable and has caused me to vomit in my mouth at pretty much the very mention of it. Aside from the sheer brutality of the whole thing, it certainly isn’t going to fall into the category of “all press is good press” for our little beach town.

I’m going to tell you right now, I’m not touching this story with a 10-foot pole. There really is only one angle to take and that is complete and utter shock that it happened here. It’s the 800-pound Gorilla in the room that no local really wants to talk about, but inevitably can’t help but talking about.

It will certainly make me think twice before calling a cab.

Like everyone else that lives in this town that had heard the news, I wanted to do something that was the exact opposite of anything that felt real, scary, adult-like, or had any real merit of importance. I wanted to blend in like this wasn’t my town, and that I was only visiting.

So I went to Seacrets, the 800-pounds gorilla of nightclubs in the middle of summer, (which is very un-local like in late July) and went to see 80’s hair metal band Skid Row (which the cheesiness of that whole genre of music lacks any bit of merit and maturity.)

So, I struggled into my leather pants, cut the sleeves off my shirt and practiced sticking my tongue out while rocking out my “devil horns” (which is extending your pointer and pinky fingers while either screaming or saying something like “F’ in A!”).

How can one in my line of work pass up an opportunity for such aesthetic fodder and spectacle? I knew it would be like strolling through the crowd at the Lynyrd Skynyrd show a few years back at the Delaware State Fair.

Skid Row was (or I guess still is) a “heavy” metal band that sold millions of records in the 80’s based on basically two songs. One rock song, “18 to Life” (which was part of the soundtrack to high school woods parties and usually came somewhere on the mixtape between “Cherry Pie” and “Dr. Feelgood.”) and the obligatory monster rock ballad “I’ll Remember You” (which I always found weird that men wearing that much spandex and eye makeup needed to write songs to show how sensitive they were.)

Their most famous member, Sebastian Bach left the band years ago, and is now on Broadway (irony #1), and their new singer (I believe I caught his name as John, or perhaps Johnny) looks kind of like Bret Michaels from Poison. (irony #2). Their guitar player looked like SNL’s Chris Kattan with really long hair, and I swear the drummer was Phil Ritchie from Lennex.

I’ve been a proponent of getting good concerts in this town for a long time. I have bashed the OC convention center on numerous occasions for giving us a musical lineup that doesn’t get any heavier than Neil Sedaka, unless you count the “pot sting” that was disguised as a Ratdog concert a few years back. With that being said, I’m not a huge fan of bands that tour around based on name recognition. What I mean by that is bands that still go around and tour without all or even two of the original and/or key members and sell the new product with the old formula so to speak. It’s as false of advertising as saying that your business makes the best crab cakes.

I digress.

The spectacle of a Skid Row show was way more impressive than the actual show in my opinion. It was glorious. Chants of “Where’s Sebastian?” were quite funny, and there was a mini-mosh pit that was attempted but thwarted by the true 80’s head bangers that had since lost their long locks to male pattern baldness and sported the “shaved head with intense goatee look” instead.

Heavy Metal, when described in the old Webster’s dictionary, is: any metal heavier than 5.0 (usually poisonous ones like mercury or lead) and a type of brash rock music that is greatly amplified, often shouted, and filled with very loud and violent lyrics.

The band was certainly that, but by the end of the night, when they were trying to play songs from the new “era of Skid Row”, it just seemed like they were trying a bit too hard to make up for the lack of star power in front of the microphone. It was like they were trying to keep the party going a little too long.

I get it, you guys are hardcore, you like to party and you prefer morally liberal women that don’t wear a lot of clothes, but seriously, can you play the hits and call it a night?

I’ve got a babysitter to pay over here.

My ears are still ringing and though the events of this week will not be one that Ocean City is the most proud of, it will certainly be a turn of events that makes the community ban together and try to turn the bad publicity that the town is getting into something positive in the long run.

At this point, it’s hard to really imagine a good thing coming out of such a heinous situation.

At least I won’t be able to (physically) hear all the bad news for the next few days.

For that, I thank you, Skid Row.

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com.