To me, The Urge was more than a band. They were a big part of the way I defined myself during the transition from high school to college. Like a lot of people, I saw this transition as a chance to recreate myself, to try on different identities to find one that fit. Back in '91/'92, I was Mosh Hard, the guy who was in the pit at every Urge show.
I idolized the members of the band while basking in their reflected rock star glory. If they called me up on stage or even looked at me during a show, I felt like I was somebody. All I have to do is hear the opening notes of a song off "Puttin' the Backbone Back" or "Magically Delicious," and instantly I'm 18 again, throwing my motorcycle-helmeted friend Greg off the stage into outstretched arms before diving off myself.
In a chance encounter last year, I bumped into Karl Grable, The Urge's bassist, at the Black Thorn Pub. He invited me to be in the stage show for Ulcer, a punk rock opera about working in a cubicle farm. Suddenly, I was back in the fold. St. Louis is that kind of town if you stick around long enough, there's a good chance you'll find yourself backstage drinking beer with your idols.
Scott Lokitz took the pictures below at The Urge's third-to-last show on Friday, December 21, 2001 at The Pageant. From the moment the curtains went up, it was clear that the three sold-out farewell shows weren't going to be a weepy swan song. Nobody puts on a higher energy live show than The Urge. Even the oldsters in the balcony were on their feet the entire time.
Down in the mosh pit where I spent the evening, the raw energy was as powerful as ever. As the crowd shots show, the average age on the floor at an Urge show today is the same as it was ten years ago. Urge concerts are a right of passage in St. Louis, a celebration of youth.
Or, I guess, they were. The days of The Urge are behind us now, although they've already recorded a new CD, "Escape from Boy's Town," that will be released in the spring. Greg, who lives in Portland, couldn't make it back to town for the show. He said he'd always thought he'd get another chance to see them. Me too.
Scott Lokitz is a photographic artist and Urge fan. He shot six rolls of film at the show and is selling the prints for $4 each. Give him a call (314-664-4692) or stop by his studio (2001 Russell Blvd.) if you'd like to have something to remember The Urge by.