The Holy Mess Live In Philadelphia (4/18/14)


I realized it’s been a full two years since I’ve last seen local Philly punks The Holy Mess, and my last attempt to see them a few months back was a total failure since I had to leave early.  So I headed out to Philly’s Kung Fu Necktie to see them play the upstairs in the backroom this past Friday.  I was running really late, but luckily so was the show.  I got there right as The Holy Mess were sound checking, perfect timing.

I’ve been to the Kung Fu Necktie before, but never upstairs.  The room they were playing in was tiny.  With about 20-30 people filled in it felt full and the room was about the size of a bedroom, which I’m pretty sure it was converted from originally.

The band was up to their usual banter, joking about new kicks, the terrible sound quality of the room (it was muddied and vocals were near impossible to hear) likening it to “It sounds like we’re playing inside my grandmother’s cunt…she’s very tall”.

In true Holy Mess fashion the band announced that they didn’t write a setlist, or practice, and “we’ll probably play some new ones… some old ones… who really gives a shit?”  Even though the sound levels were terrible due to the acoustics of the room, the band put on a fun set playing  a decent amount of new ones and a lot off of their latest Cande Ru La Degas (which side note: is fucking awesome, go check it) and the Benefits Sesh in it’s entirety (ok all three songs).

Unfortunately the show was cut short when the guitarist blew out his amp (on one of his last Philly shows too, which just seemed so appropriate).  Still, definitely a good time, and I might try to catch their secret show tonight with the Menzingers.  Sometimes it’s pretty rad living in Philly.

The Holy Mess – A Soulful Punk Tune About A Working Class Dreamer

The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
The Holy Mess – Dismount
Holy Mess – Briefcase Full Of Bruise

Official Site:
Holy Mess

Banner Pilot – Souvenir (For fans of Jawbreaker, Dillinger Four, Lawrence Arms)


Without a doubt, Banner Pilot is one of the best melodic punk bands around.  They first won me over with their catchy anthems when I heard Resignation Day, an energetic and solid punk album that you should definitely check out.  With Hearts Beat Pacific, the band slowed things down a little bit but didn’t really stray too far from their original formula.  Their latest album Souvenir (released just 3 days ago on April 15th) continues this slower evolution in sound, and is easily the most melancholy album Banner Pilot have released to date.

With twelve slower songs, I feel like Souvenir is going to be a grower for me.  I’m not usually a fan of when a band slows things down, but their songs still remain incredibly catchy and I’ve found myself listening to the entire album a few times now.  Souvenir is definitely meant to be listened to as a whole as opposed to individual songs, the album is just so incredibly cohesive.  Each song builds off the previous, and the melodic punk that Banner Pilot is known for is very present throughout the album, just slower.

That being said, on the first few spins it doesn’t have the same sticking power for me as most of the songs on Resignation Day or Hearts Beat Pacific, but a few more listens may change that.  Definitely a solid album, worth checking out if you dig melodic punk rock or any of Banner Pilot’s earlier stuff.

Banner Pilot – Dead Tracks

Banner Pilot – Hearts Beat Pacific
Banner Pilot – Resignation Day
The Holy Mess – Benefits Sesh
Dillinger Four – Situationist Comedy

Fat Wreck

Anvil, Lords Of Mercy, Fantasy Panther Live In Philadelphia (4/1/14)

anvil flyer

Last week, on a random Tuesday night I headed out to Philadelphia’s Barbary to catch local grind band Fantasy Panther open for what has been dubbed the real life Spinal Tap metal band Anvil.  I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know much about Anvil going into the show as I’ve never seen The Story Of Anvil documentary that helped relaunch their popularity, and the only thing I knew about them is Propagandhi payed homage to them by titling one of their songs “March Of The Crabs”.  I was blown away.

Fantasy Panther:

fantasy panther

Fantasy Panther (featuring ex members of An Albatross) have been really making a name for themselves as of late.  After releasing their debut under 10 minute Self Titled LP, they’ve been named one of Philly’s top bands to check out.  I’ve seen most (if not all) of their Philly shows previously, and I can definitely tell you that this is definitely the case.

The band took the stage and immediately broke out into what was easily the heaviest and most explosive set of the night.  Playing grind/power violence similar to Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Swallowing Shit, Fantasy Panther has always had a strong stage presence with singer death shrieker Eddie jumping, climbing, and hanging from rafters while guitarist Dan and drummer Stevie raged in the back.  If you dig heavy as shit music and have my type of attention span (aka that of a goldfish on speed), check them out on their bandcamp page here.

Setlist (From What I remember)

New songs

Lords Of Mercy:
lords of mercy

Next up was New Jersey’s Lords Of Mercy, which admittedly, wasn’t really my style of music, but their good attitude was infectious.  They had plenty of people in the crowd singing along every word to their metal influenced hard rock, these guys wore their influences on their sleeves, taking cues from bands such as Guns and Roses.



Anvil is probably the most important metal band that you’ve never heard of before.  They’ve influenced countless of metal bands including Anthrax, Slayer, and Metallica, forming back in 1978.  When it comes to metal I tend to the more punk side of it with more crossover thrash type bands (D.R.I, Municipal Waste, Suicidal Tendencies) but I have to say that Anvil completely blew me away.

These were dudes who have been playing shows for years, and you can tell as they played that they completely loved what they do.  Nothing but huge smiles on stage, good vibes, and entertaining… this was a metal band that didn’t take themselves too seriously.  At one point, the guitarist took a dildo out of his pocket and played a pretty rad guitar solo with it… which you really have to see to believe.

If you dig metal, definitely check Anvil out if they come around your parts (PHRASING!), and if you’re not really a fan, go see them anyway… they put on a hell of an entertaining live show.

March Of The Crabs
School Love
Badass Rock and Roll
Winged Assassins
On Fire
This Is Thirteen
Thumb Hang
Swing Thing
Hope In Hell
Eat Your Words
Metal On Metal

Fantasy Panther – Marionette

Pig Destroyer – Prowler In The Yard
Phobia – Cruel
Some Girls – The DNA Will Have It’s Say

Bane, Lifeless, Bottom Feeder Live In Delaware (3/28/14)

bane flyer
This past Friday night, I made the trek from Philadelphia down to Wilmington, Delaware’s Harmony Grange to catch one of my favorite hardcore bands around, Bane.  I’ve never been to the Harmony Grange before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I walked in, it reminded me a lot of Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church… a much colder church hall. I got there right in time as Bottom Feeder was setting up, and there was plenty of room.

Bottom Feeder:

It seemed like most people didn’t really know how Bottom Feeder was, myself included.  Regardless, I went right up front the second these dudes started playing their style of hardcore, which reminded me a lot of one of the bands that got me into modern hardcore nearly 13 years ago: The Hope Conspiracy.  These guys completely killed it, and they played a bunch of new songs that were thrashy as all fuck.  Definitely need to check their recorded stuff out, and if they come around, go check them if you’re into hardcore.


I’m going to be completely honest, I fucking hate beatdown/breakdown/tough guy/whatever the fuck you want to call it hardcore for the most part, minus a very few select bands.  However, they easily had the biggest pit and reaction of the night, with the younger kids completely losing their shit, and props to the band for keep yelling at the crowd “Stay the fuck away from the walls and just punch each other in the face” referring to the select few who think it’s tough to punch unsuspecting people off to the side watching the show.  I’m all about pits, shit I start most… but Jesus Christ hitting a girl in the face who is just trying to watch the band doesn’t make you tough.  It sort of makes you pretty fucking pathetic.  OK, rant over.

Anyways, not my cup of tea, and I actually dug them more than most bands that play a similar style (and I give them respect for putting their music online for free).  If you’re a shirtless dude who likes windmilling and punching the floor, you’ll probably like Lifeless.


The reason I fucking came to the show.  I’ve seen Bane plenty of times over the years, and yet they continue to blow my mind every time I see them.  Their show this past December at the Kung Fu Necktie was easily one of my favorite sets of 2013, and it saddens me that they are only going to be a band for another a year or so.  At this point most of the younger kids left, leaving us old heads more than enough room to dance, pile on, and stage dive (or as much as our near 30 arthritic bones could possibly take).

These Boston hardcore legends took the stage, and blasted straight into “Some Came Running” and into “My Therapy”, which caused a frenzy of pile-ons and two stepping (or maybe it was just me, I was sort of in my own world at this point).  They then stated they were going to play a few off their upcoming, and their final album with the caveat “We know it’s hard to sit through music you don’t know, but you don’t know what it’s like to play the same songs over and over the past 9 songs”.  The new songs were actually really tight, and have me stoked for the latest album.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but if they come around you, go see them… It’s fucking Bane.

Setlist: (might be missing one)
Some Came Running
My Therapy
New Song
Ali Vs Frazier
In Pieces
What Hold’s Us Down
The Young and The Restless
New Song
Swan Song
Can We Start Again

Bane – Speechless

I’d Rather Be Stage Diving:
Bane – Holding This Moment
American Nightmare – Year One
Chain Of Strength – The One Thing That Still Holds True Today
Dangers – Five O Clock Shadows At The Edge Of The Western World

Official Site:
Bottom Feeder

The Offspring – Self Titled (For fans of Bad Religion, NOFX, TSOL)


Chances are if you know The Offspring, you’re used to their signature “radio hit” sound, whether the grungier “Self Esteem” from their Smash days or the poppier sounds of “Why Don’t You Get A Job”.   But before their commercial success, The Offspring released their debut Self Titled which was one hell of a  punk album.

Released back in 1989, The Offspring’s Self Titled is a solid southern California skate punk album through and through.  Reminding me a bit of Bad Religion and T.S.O.L, The Offspring really shine on fast paced skate jams like “Elders” or The Dead Kennedy’s sounding “Crossroads”.  Like many of their contemporaries at the time, lyrically the band was incredibly political with songs like “Jennifer Lost The War”, “Out On Patrol” and “Tehran”.

If you’re a fan of Bad Religion at all, definitely check out The Offspring’s Self Titled.  Don’t let their poppy hits fool you, these guys definitely played solid punk rock that is worth checking out.

The Offspring – Elders

More Punk Rock:
Bad Religion – How Could Hell Be Any Worse?
Nofx – Ribbed
Youth Brigade – Sink With Kalifornija

Official Site:


Dangers – Five O’Clock Shadows At The Edge Of The Western World (for fans of American Nightmare, Ceremony, Punch)

dangers five o clock

“What if this was the best day of your life?”  Southern California’s hardcore Dangers is back with Five O’Clock Shadows At The Edge Of The Western World, a six song EP that is some of their most introspective work yet.

The EP starts off with the same pissed off aggression we’ve seen from Dangers with opener “The Mourning Routine”, and blasts into a slower instrumental “(Santa Anas)”.  The rest of the album manages to sound different from their earlier work, yet still contains the same anger and fury, but just in a much more focused manner.  The incredibly melodic “Midnight Traffic” is a perfect example of a song that shows how the band evolved while still very clearly being the pissed off Dangers that we know.

Dangers has always stood out from their hardcore peers by their gut-wrenching honest lyrics, and the EP is no different.  Dealing with themes of breaking routine and escape, Al Brown has always had a knack for penning down often difficult to express emotions, quite vividly.

While I don’t think it’s my favorite release by them (I prefer the blasted unfocused fury of their previous stuff), it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of Dangers.  Easily one of my bands around, do yourself a favor and check out all of their stuff (and their side project Ghostlimb and Graf Orlock as well… also completely sick).

Dangers – Midnight Traffic

We Ain’t Stopping. We Ain’t Turning Around.
Dangers Live In Philly
Dangers – Messy, Isn’t It?
Dangers – Anger
Dangers – Demo
Ghostlimb – Infrastructure

Band Site:
Dangers Bandcamp

Ratkicker – Fuck Off Thank You (For fans of Ceremony, Discharge, Every Time I Die)


Not even two seconds in and “Fuck you and your fucking friends” is how Philadelphia’s Ratkicker starts off, giving you an idea of what to expect on their album Fuck Off Thank You.  Aggressive, high energy punk hardcore, Ratkicker is not for the faint of heart.

I first heard these guys when I saw them open for Fantasy Panther at Philly’s Barbary the beginning of the year and after their set I knew I had to check them out.  Fuck Off Thank You contains ten songs clocking in around 23 minutes and is a must if you’re a fan of hardcore.  Mixing elements of dbeat, hardcore, and good old fashion rock and roll, everything about the album is brutal, including the more melodic “Acoustic Song” (which is far from acoustic) and I’ve never heard such a heavy NOFX (Stranger Than Fishin) and Offspring (No Brakes) cover.

Ratkicker also shines through with their no holds barred lyrics.  Whether it’s the reckless “don’t give a fuck” anthem of “Drugs and Sluts” (“I just wanna live inside a box on Kelly drive so I can drink and smoke and motherfucking die“) or the more introspective “Heartbreaker” (“and well I wanna be a man
but I can’t understand why I’m so shaken by a girl“), it all comes off as pretty damn sincere.

Definitely check these local Philly dudes out, I’ve been listening to it pretty much nonstop lately.  Oh, and they have their album up for download for free, so you really have no excuse.

Ratkicker – Street Rat

Ceremony – Violence Violence
Discharge – Self Titled
Coke Bust – Confined
Pig Destroyer – Prowler In The Yard

Ratkicker Bandcamp

The Lawrence Arms, The Copyrights Live In Philadelphia (3/7/14)

Chicago’s Lawrence Arms are one of those bands I’ve been listening to for nearly 12 years, but never had a chance to see live.  I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t come out to the northeast very often and I’ve never been to The Fest, or if I just somehow happened to be out of town every time they’ve played, but when I saw they were playing Philadelphia’s TLA this past Friday I knew I had to go.  The fact that The Copyrights were playing?  Oh fuck yes.

I got to the half empty venue right during Elway’s last song, and it reminded me a bit of Direct Hit, so may have to check them out.

The Copyrights:

I’ve been a fan of The Copyrights ever since I saw them open for Teenage Bottlerocket a few years back, and try to catch them anytime they come around.  Usually I see them in smaller venues such as The Barbary, but they fit right at home on the larger TLA stage.  It seemed like most of the people in the crowd didn’t really know who they were, but that didn’t stop us dedicated few up front from shouting along every word and dancing around a bit.

Playing an incredibly tight set with songs mostly from North Sentinel Island with plenty of older songs sprinkled in, definitely catch The Copyrights if you want to catch one of the few bands doing pop-punk right.

Setlist (Not complete and not in order):
Hard Wired
Planet Earth 1994
Kids Of The Black Hole (I think)
Shit’s Fucked
Trustees Of Modern Chemistry
Button Smasher
Worn Out Passport

The Lawrence Arms:


The Lawrence Arms have been around since 1999, and I know that The Lawrence Arms tend to have an older crowd (cough…like myself…cough).  For this reason, I was sort of expecting it to be a more of a “clutch your drink and shout as loud as you can” type of show, so I was pleasantly surprised that the second the band took the stage to the theme of Indiana Jones, the place exploded into a pit full of dancing and singalongs that didn’t really let up much of the night.

The band recently released their 6th album (and their first in 8 years) entitled Metropole, and I haven’t really had a chance to check it out so I was worried I wouldn’t know the majority of songs (although really, I didn’t care what the hell they played as long as I would hear 100 Resolutions), but they played plenty off of their older albums as well.

Oh, and they played 100 Resolutions.  All is right in the world.


Chilean District
Great Lakes/Great Escapes
Alert The Audience
You Are Here
Recovering The Opposable Thumb
Drunk Tweets
The Slowest Drink At The Saddest Bar
Brickwall Views
The Ramblin’ Boys Of Pleasure
The Devil’s Takin’ Names
Lose Your Illusion 1
A Toast
Beautiful Things
Like A Record Player

100 Resolutions
Are You There Yet Margaret, It’s Me God

The Copyrights – Trustees Of Modern Chemistry
The Lawrence Arms – 100 Resolutions

This is My Year For Sure:The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
Banner Pilot – Resignation Day
The Holy Mess – Benefits Sesh

The Movielife – It’s Go Time (For fans of Midtown, Saves The Day, Lifetime)


Growing up in a NJ high school 15 years ago as a cynical punk kid who despised most things considered emo, I sort of never even gave The Movielife a chance.  I just knew that people who liked Taking Back Sunday and The Starting Line were fans of The Movielife, so my ignorant teen self wrote them off as other “whiny emo shit” and if I was going to listen to anything remotely close, it would be Lifetime’s Hello Bastards or Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool .

It wasn’t until about a year ago, I was going snowboarding with a friend when I heard some solid pop-punk/melodic hardcore blasting through her car stereo speakers that I said “this is really tight, who is this?”  “Oh, this is The Movielife.”  Noooooooo shit.

I went out and grabbed their debut full length It’s Go Time and immediately became a fan.  Playing pop-punk that reminded me a bit of Midtown, the 9 song It’s Go Time has plenty of faster punk influences as heard on opener “Barefoot”.  Catchy and melodic, the album does slow down a bit with tracks like “Maybe It’s Nothing”, but still has enough of an edge to keep me interested.  If you dig the poppier side of pop-punk with bands like Brand New or Midtown, definitely give these guys a listen.

The Movielife – Barefoot

“But I know you don’t have a clue”
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Dag Nasty – Can I Say
Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Weekend Nachos – Still (for fans of Coke Bust, Punch, Infest)

weekend nachos

I have to give Weekend Nachos credit… I went to a local power violence show recently and it seemed like every younger kid was wearing a Weekend Nachos shirt, and saying that it was these Illinois dudes that got them into power violence to begin with, so they definitely have a sizable following.  I will admit however, that when I first checked out Weekend Nachos a few years back, I wasn’t a fan at all.  I listened to some of their earlier albums a few years back, and it was too sludgy/slow for my personal tastes so I essentially wrote them off for years until I kept reading rave reviews of their latest album Still.  Holy shit, I’m a fan now.

Playing incredibly aggressive hardcore, Weekend Nachos is reminscent of bands such as Coke Bust or Punch.  On Still the band blends the perfect amount of sludgier riffs and chunkier breakdowns with plenty of blast beat to keep a speed freak like myself interested.  Lyrically, the band tackles a bunch of issues including the ignorance of the punk scene (S.C.A.B and You’re Not Punk) while songs like Ignore and title track Still deal with more personal matters.

If you were originally put off by the band’s earlier slower sound like I was, definitely give Still a chance.  One of my current go-to when I need a quick adrenaline rush.

Weekend Nachos – You’re Not Punk

After All These Years I Still Haven’t Found My Way:
Coke Bust – Confined
Pig Destroyer – Prowler In The Yard
Phobia – Cruel

Official Site:
Weekend Nachos