The punk rock tradition remains strong at the Polish National Alliance, as the fifth annual Small Town Helloween kicked off Saturday night in Adams.
Music lovers from all over the Berkshires came in costumes to unite once again in abounding circle pits for a Halloween party to rival them all.
With doors opening at 7 p.m., I walked in about an hour after as a Red Sox bleacher creature, donning a fake beard and big belly made from an old pillow. The bar was filled with a 21-and-up crowd wearing everything from Pokemon costumes to everyday wear.
Drinks at the PNA are pretty darn cheap, and after my one gin and tonic costing roughly $3.75, I knew my wallet was safe in this hauntingly old venue.
In the back is where the real music was already playing. The hall was decorated in spooky streamers, and a merchandise table had T-shirts for fans of any of the bands playing that night. But upon walking in, something looked different -- there is no stage.
Last year, bands rocked out from on high, pits forming at their feet. Not this year. I learned the PNA had dropped the stage so the whole hall was handicapped-accessible.
Even though there was no stage, the scene brought back memories of high school hardcore shows with my friends and I shoving each other back and forth to crappy scream-o music vocalized by the dreamiest of emo boys. Sigh.
I digress. These bands, while totally dreamy in their own way, brought on a crowd of late 20-somethings and early 30-somethings to the beer-soaked floor. Order of the Circle, Dead Radio Rebels and The Remones bashed out beats that any headbanger could jive to. Headlining, per usual, were The Damaged, a hardcore punk quartet featuring The Eagle's own Kevin Moran, his brother, Colin, Jay Williams on bass and Mark Jagiello on the drums.
Playing late into the evening, The Damaged had, by far, the roughest, most fun crowd in front of them.
And, since I was dressed like a rude dude from Fenway, I decided to join in on the "dancing" and watched, slightly disoriented by the lights and sounds, as these guys played their hearts out to forever-loving fans and newcomers alike.
Small Town Helloween isn't the only music event at the PNA. Every Friday, a band plays in the main bar -- not the hall -- and every Thursday is Football Night at the bar. Wednesdays feature trivia night, but check the calendar at www.pna-adams.org for more details, as dates may change.
The Polish National Alliance has some nice TVs and stocked-to-the-hilt bar with plenty of seating. The scene is usually a mix of older and younger, filtering into the establishment in that order throughout the night.
All in all, the PNA is a great local bar for anyone looking for a cheap drink and some decent music on the weekends.
If you're from around here, chances are you'll run into someone you haven't seen in forever while watching a football, or baseball game. While it's not the fanciest of bars, it has that nice Berkshire local feel to it that can only be achieved through years of music, droves of people and gallons of libations.
As for Small Town Helloween? It is a must-see for any punk rock lover or liker or for anyone looking for a local public Halloween party. Dress up in whatever you like, anchor your body for full-force shoves and prepare your ears for some loud, fast, heart arrhythmia-inducing chords.