This past Friday, I headed up to Philadelphia’s new venue, The Foundry in order to two of my all-time favorite bands: Bigwig and Less Than Jake. I grew up listening to both of them and playing their music ad-nauseum, and the fact that Less Than Jake was playing Losing Streak in it’s entirety had me incredibly excited. It’s 2016, ska’s pretty much been on life-support, and they’re still able to sell out shows.
I got to the venue, and I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan at first. The Foundry is the definition of a Live Nation venue: with $4 waters (and taking the cap off for insurance reasons), barricades and signs saying “No Moshing/crowd surfing/etc.” I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The one good thing is that they played the side venue, which is a lot smaller than the main venue over at The Fillmore Philly. The room itself was actually pretty intimate and small, making it much more suitable for a punk show.
These NJ punks were setting up when I got there, and having seen them a few times lately, I was pretty excited to catch them once again. Last time I caught them in Philly opening for the Queers, there was a decent amount of people who were there for them. This time, not so much. Besides a small handful of us, it was apparent most people had no idea who they were, but that didn’t stop a (very) few of us from shouting along and dancing throughout their set.
Bigwig killed it, playing an energetic set composed of songs off all four of their full lengths, with a lot of emphasis off An Invitation To Tragedy and Stay Asleep. Bigwig sounded incredibly tight as usual, although a bit strange to see them behind a barricade and the lack of crowd movement (my girlfriend put it best when she said to me: “whoa, I feel safe at a Bigwig show. This isn’t supposed to happen.”)
Regardless, a sick set as usual, hopefully they keep up the increase of shows in the Philly/Jersey area and maybe even record a new album.
Setlist: (from what I remember, not in order)
Sink Or Swim
A War Inside
Best Of Me
Girl In The Green JacketQueers cover
Less Than Jake was my favorite ska band for many years, and I can’t even begin to describe the sheer amount of hours I’ve spent over the many years riding the school bus and skating to my Losing Streak cd. I still listen to both LTJ and ska pretty regularly, so I was beyond excited to finally catch them play the album in it’s entirety.
The band took the stage and announced how they were amazed by the fact that people still love and show so much enthusiasm for this album they wrote 20 years ago. The speakers boomed the all too familiar intro: “This is the old dude, Howie J. Reynolds, and you’re listening to Less Than Jake.” The place was suddenly pandemonium as a pit opened up with people pushing, trying to skank and all around just having a good time to the opening chords and horns of “Automatic”.
The band ripped through Losing Streak, taking the occasional break to talk to the crowd about some of the history of the songs (and thank god, we’re all old now, this skanking/dancing shit isn’t as easy as it was 13 years ago). At one point the band was talking about how no one liked the next song, but they have to play it because it’s on the album… and of course it’s one of my favorites “Ask The Magic 8 Ball”, which I realize was probably my only opportunity to ever hear that song live.
Before I knew it, they were playing “Lockdown”, the closing song off one of the essential soundtracks of my youth, and it was over almost as soon as it began as they left the stage. When they came out to crowd demand of an encore, they started playing songs off their newer albums(read: anything after Hello Rockview), and while I really love some of them, I burned all the energy I had during Losing Streak. A fantastic show, even though I was filled with a bittersweet feeling of both excitement from seeing it and sadness that I may never get to see them do the majority of those songs live again. But this is a ska post, so I’ll stop getting all emo on you… besides I’m hopeful they’ll do Pezcore in it’s entirety near me one day.
Unfortunately their show the next night of Hello Rockview sold out before I was able to get tickets, but I heard that was insane as well. If they’re doing these shows near you and you ever were a fan of LTJ, definitely go, you won’t be disappointed.
9th and Pine
Sugar In Your Gas Tank
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts
Never Going Back To New Jersey
How’s My Driving Doug Hastings
Just Like Frank
Ask The Magic 8 Ball
Jen Doesn’t Like Me Anymore
Look What Happened
Give Me Something To Believe In
The Ghosts Of Me And You