This past Saturday after the Thanksgiving running around, I headed out to Philly’s intimate Voltage lounge for Day 3 of the Take This Bird And Shove It fest, a 3 day punk fest featuring a bunch of great bands from all over the country. I was beyond excited to see The Unseen again, as it’s been seriously over a decade the last time I got to see the Boston street punks. Also sort of a bummer was the fact I have an injured knee, so I had to participate (mostly) from the sidelines and going up front only a bit.
The place was decently filled when I got there, with plenty of studded jackets and mohawks (something I don’t see that often at shows anymore it seems).
I got there right in time for NJ pogo punks Blanks 77, and was stoked to see them again as they always put on a good show. It’s been about a year since the last time I caught them, and this show was definitely rowdier. Taking the stage and opening with “Up The System”, the Voltage Lounge was filled with people pogo-ing and all around having a good time. I was covered in beer with a few minutes.
They ripped through a relatively short set, leaving not much room for stage banter, although singer Mike Blank would start to talk some and guitarist Renee would remind him that they were on a tight schedule and didn’t have much time for talking. Blanks 77 doesn’t play often, which is a shame considering they seem to have a blast while playing.
Up The System
No Big Deal
I Wanna Be A Punk
We Are The Punks
NY’s Murphy’s Law have been at it since 1982, and while vocalist Jimmy is the only original founding member, holy shit they still put on an insane live show. I never listened to Murphy’s Law much besides a few songs, but their hardcore punk party anthems mixed with a saxophone definitely made for a unique sound.
Throughout the entirety of the set the band was giving out PBRs and all types of alcohol, bringing up a newly-wed couple on stage to do shots, and biting into cans of beer to shotgun over the crowd. Occasionally they’d throw in a more traditional ska song “for the skins” before jumping right back to their circle pitting songs.
One of the most energetic sets I’m seen in a while, even with the singer at taking a break to sit on a speaker with a cautionary “don’t eat cheesesteaks before a show” during their song “Vicky Crown.” Catch them if you get a chance, it’s definitely a rowdy ass time.
Quest For Herb
Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight (Fleetwood Mac cover)
It seems like many punk fans get into street punk these days through The Casualties but for me it was The Unseen who got me into it over 15 years ago, and to this day remain one of my favorite street punk bands. It’s been fucking over a decade since the last time I got to see these guys play live (probably at Club Krome in NJ, which closed down in 2004) so I was beyond stoked to be catching them again.
Years later, and they still completely kill it live. Being able to see them at the intimate Voltage Lounge was definitely a bonus. With plenty of stage dives and circle pits throughout, Mark Unseen and company threw an incredibly energetic set. Also interesting were the age differences at the show… While there were plenty of older fans like myself who were more familiar with everything pre-Explode, there were also a lot of younger fans who were more familiar with their later (well 8 years old being their latest) like State Of Discontent and Internal Salvation.
Playing a solid mix of all their albums, the band played for a bit over an hour and completely killed it. Even an injured knee couldn’t stop my excitement once they played “Social Security”. I don’t know the next time I’ll get to see these guys, they’ve been pretty inactive show-wise as of late, but hopefully it won’t be another decade.
Highlights (I had a bunch of their songs written down after the show which they did from memory, but unfortunately I fucking lost it. From what I remember now):
Live In Fear
Children Of The Revolution
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison cover)
Are We Dead Yet (I think they did this one)
So This is Freedom
The Unseen – Social Security
Blanks 77 – Radio Hits