Concert Reviews

My First Show: Red Animal War and The Light Fantastic's Matt Pittman Was Left Disappointed by The Ramones at Lollapalooza '96.

Welcome to My First Show, where we give bands a chance to talk about the first shows they ever attended -- no matter how uncool and embarrassing those tales may be.

Matt Pittman is a busy man as of late.

When not working on new material for the (thankfully) still-active Red Animal War, he's working on his own band, The Light Fantastic. Pittman has recorded before under this name but it wasn't until last year a full-band show occurred.

He recently took time out to talk about his first show experiences -- the first shows he saw, along with his first performances with Red Animal War and The Light Fantastic. And perhaps it isn't surprising to hear that the first show he ever spent his own money on was the same touring festival in the '90s with which so many others around his age popped their show-going cherries.

What was the first show you ever saw? Did your parents come with you?
My father took me to see Dwight Yoakam and I cannot, for the life of me, recall the venue or the year, for that matter. I was probably 11, so it was possibly '92. I do remember it as more of a rock show than a country show, which definitely took me by surprise at the time.
What was the first show you saw with your own money?
Aside from a few all-ages punk shows at a venue called God's Place, the first big show I can remember saving up my allowance to go to was Lollapalooza '96 in a small field in Ferris. Being an avid fan of punk at the time, I had eagerly awaited to see Rancid and The Ramones, but it turns out Soundgarden is the one who put on the punk show I was looking for. Rancid played a solid and energetic set that day, but, sadly, The Ramones did not really cut it for me -- especially because it was one of their last shows ever. I was left disappointed. I have other fading memories of Sponge's short-but-sweet set, Metallica's three-hour firework show and all the water from the fountains tasting sweatier than I was at the time.
With Red Animal War still active, I have to ask, what do you remember about the first Red Animal War show?
It was in spring of '99 at a venue called Zombies in Arlington, with Tendril and My Spacecoaster. I was just about to graduate high school and determined to start playing in a serious band with serious and, in my eyes, super-talented people. From my point of view, we all felt good about our short, five-song set, but some people did not react to it very well, which was always kind of the case with Red Animal War and first impressions. It always seemed like most reviews and fans stated that they didn't quite get "it" at first, but that we gradually grew on them in a lasting way. We had also just "stolen" our drummer from a recent debunked local band called The Briefing Room, which resulted in some heckling of that nature.
The Light Fantastic made their live debut last year. How did it go and what do you remember about it?
I think it was preferred to most of my other first shows with newly formed bands. It was in October of last year at the Double Wide in Dallas with Sunrise Cemetery and The Prospect Before Us. I remember feeling a little anxious before the set, with it taking some years to have finally formed this live band. I felt we played with the energy that we have in practice, and I did not have to blame anything on it being our first show. With two shows in the bag and many more coming over the next couple of months, we have just started to find that live groove and connection to the audience that only comes with playing more shows.

The Light Fantastic play on Saturday, February 12, at The Annex House

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs

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