The Holy Mess, Direct Hit Live In Philly (7/8/16)

This past Friday I was faced with a bit of a dilemma, as there were two shows I wanted to see at the same time.  My beloved World Inferno Friendship Society was playing at Philly’s Trocadero, but Direct Hit and Philly locals Holy Mess were playing the more intimate coffee shop The Pharmacy.  I opted to go to The Pharmacy show for a few reasons… cheaper, wanted a smaller intimate show, but probably most importantly, potentially the last time I get to see The Holy Mess.  There were rumors that it was their last show, and they made the announcement official on their twitter last week.

I got there right in the middle of Pkew Pkew Pkew, who’ve I’ve never heard of before but played a solid set of pop-punk in the veins of The Copyrights.  Toronto punks singing songs about skating as adults, pizza, and being broke (you know, the typical pop-punk topics) they put on an entertaining set and have me listening to their albums now.  Tight stuff, give it a shot if you dig straightforward pop-punk.

Direct Hit:

I’ve caught Direct Hit a few times now and they’ve quickly become one of my favorite pop-punk bands around, but after seeing them open for NOFX a few months ago, I really wanted to see them in a small, barricade-less venue again.  Direct Hit clearly was feeling the same, saying it was nice to be able to “suck again” after they played a few huge stadium shows opening for Blink-182.

Direct Hit was touring to support their latest Fat Wreck release Wasted Mind, and their setlist was obviously heavy with the new tracks.  The crowd stayed rowdy throghout the entirety of the set, making the small “can only hold 6 people across” room a chaotic and fun whirlwind.

Joking with the crowd about how there was no pressure to play well, how they are allowed to talk on stage now and how they’ve only been spit on once in their entire life and of course it was in Philly, Direct Hit kept things light hearted and fun.

I really enjoyed the new songs live, they definitely had more of an edge to them then they do on the album, and while I do like the album a lot I felt like it was a little overproduced, so it was good to hear them in their raw form.  A solid set, Direct Hit is one of the best bands playing pop-punk these days, go check them out.

Setlist (from what I remember, not in order):
Paid In Brains
Artificial Confidence
Was It The Acid
Infinite Pills and Infinite Alcohol
Do The Sick (I think)
Buried Alive
Snickers Or Reeses
Kingdom Come
Werewolf Shame
They Came For Me
We’re Fucked

Holy Mess:
holy mess

Lastly were Philly’s The Holy Mess, a staple of Philly punk for years now.  I’ve seen them in plenty of houses, dive bars, church basement, etc.  Unfortunately the band confirmed that the rumors were true and this would indeed be their last show.

Deciding to forgo the stage and play right on the floor, it felt just like a house show as The Holy Mess.  Furthering the house show feel was in typical Holy Mess fashion the band announced that they didn’t have a setlist, but mostly played songs off their last 3 releases (newest Trash Age EP, Comfort In The Dischord, and Cande Ru Las Vegas).

There was clearly an energetic yet bittersweet feeling in the air, but the band played a really tight set, and before I knew it they were announcing that they were about to play their last song, a song off Trash Age.

A solid show as usual, here’s to hoping they change their mind.  While you probably won’t get a chance to catch them live (unless they decide to reunite for a show here and there… and in an age where Danzig reunites with the Misfits, who the fuck knows what will happen) but for the time being, definitely check out their albums if you dig bands like The Menzingers.  So long fellas, it’s been real.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order)
It’s All Fun And Games Til Someone Gets Heard
Spencer Reid
Liza And Louisana
Goodbye 3713
Asleep In A Room Full Of Dog Shit
Captain We’re Drinking
For The Press
Trash Age
Flesh Of The Fresh, Blood Of The Dove (I think)
Caught Like This

Holy Mess – Spencer Reid
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

NOFX and Direct Hit Live In Philly (4/27/16)

On tour supporting the release of their official autobiography book The Hepatitis Bathtub, I got a chance to see NOFX again play a sold out TLA here in Philadelphia.  Unfortunately I got there a bit late and bummed that I completely missed that ska band I can never remember how to fucking spell their name (Mephiskapheles), but got there in time for Direct Hit.

Direct Hit:

direct hit

In my opinion, Direct Hit is one of the best bands in pop-punk today and one of my favorites.  I listen to their EPs and albums so regular that Metamucil would be jealous, and was excited to get a chance to see them live again.  They recently just signed to Fat Wreck, and have a new album coming out June 24th.

From the second the band started, it was pretty obvious that there were only a handful of us who knew who they were and their songs, but those of us who did were singing along loudly.  Even those who didn’t seemed to be really digging them.

I was pleasantly surprised by their setlist, playing a bunch off of both Domesplitter and Brainless God, with a few of the upcoming new songs sprinkled in.  The newer songs definitely sounded a bit poppier than we’re used to from Direct Hit, with more melodies and harmonies, but were still incredibly solid live. Definitely a fantastic show, albeit a bit strange seeing Direct Hit play on such a large stage with barricades (I’ve only seen them in small bars and church basements previously), these guys always put on a great show and is a must if you dig pop-punk.

Setlist: (not in order, from what I remember)
The World Is Ending (No One Cares)
Satan Says
Getting What He Asked For
White Robes
Back To The Tower
A Message To The Angels Pt II
Snickers Or Reeses
Kingdom Come
Boredom Addict
They Came For Me
Werewolf Shame
We’re Fucked



NOFX has been a band for well near 33 years now… let that sink in for a second.  Like most punk fans, NOFX was one of the earliest bands I ever got into, and one of the few that still put out good music and play a solid live show.

The band took the stage, joking about how this was one of the last few nights that Fat Mike is able to party as he needs to go to rehab soon, and they mentioned that the show was being live streamed on Yahoo because apparently that’s a thing and Yahoo still exists?  They also introduced one of the members of Dancehall Crashers, with her doing keyboards and female vocals on the songs as well.

The second the band started playing their opener of 60%, the place erupted in a large chaotic circle pit that continued throughout the entirety of their set.  All songs seemed to get a big reaction, whether it was the newer Tony Sly tribute “I’m Sorry Tony” or the obvious fan favorite of “Linoleum”.

As always with NOFX, it was comedy hour up on stage wit the band taking some jabs at everyone including people under 21 (“Anyone here under 21? You all make me very uncomfortable” before launching into “Fuck The Kids”).  One particular memorable moment was after playing “Louise”, Fat Mike tells the crowd how he realizes out of all the bigger punk bands, no one would play a song like that… “Take a moment and try to imagine Al Barr of Dropkick Murphy’s or Tim Armstrong of Rancid singing the opening lines of that song”.  You got a point Fat Mike.

While the band may pride themselves on not caring and just having fun on stage, they still are easily one of the tightest and fun live bands around.  And at this point, you don’t need me to tell you to go see NOFX, you know who they are, and you either love them or you don’t (and if you don’t, you’re fucking up).

72 Hookers
Perfect Government
Seeing Double At The Triple Rock
Murder The Government
Leave It Alone
Eat The Meek
Six Years On Dope
Stickin In My Eye
What’s The Matter With Parents Today?
Franco Un-American
We March To The Beat Of An Indifferent Drum
I Believe In Goddess
Moron Brothers
I’m Sorry Tony

Fuck The Kids
Dinosaurs Will Die
Bottles To The Ground
The Brews
Kill All The White Man

NOFX – The Moron Brothers
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

Direct Hit! Priceduifkes Live In Philadelphia (6/21/14)

This has been the week of goddamn shows (FUCK YOU, GET PUMPED) and I’m falling a bit behind in posts due to all of my running around (add trying to find a new apartment to the list and yeah…)

Anyways, last Saturday I headed to Philly’s bar and venue The Fire to catch one of my favorite pop-punk bands around these days Direct Hit.  I missed a few of the openers due to being out watching the US vs Portugal depressing draw (which, by the way… if you saw some asshole decked out in soccer face temporary tattoos and 94 world cup shirts, that was yours truly), but made it in time for Belgium’s Pricedufkes.

The Priceduifkes:

I’ve never heard of these Belgium punks before, but I was impressed with their energetic, fun set.  Playing catchy 3 chord punk that any fan of Screeching Weasel or The Queers could get behind, the band seemed pretty pumped to be touring the states, and their positive attitude was infectious. Definitely worth checking out, they even had an old Blink-182 vibe about them with some songs.

Direct Hit!:

direct hit

These Milwaukee/Chicago punks have made waves with their concept album Brainless God and their explosive live shows, and the past show was no exception.  The band took the stage, and while it seemed like most of the people weren’t too familiar with them and were there for Masked Intruder, a decent number of us were singing along every word and even a small pit broke out.

The band themselves fed off the energy, jumping into the crowd and putting on a quick but fun set. I unfortunately had to bounce before Masked Intruder, and while I’m not too familiar with their music, every time I’ve seen them they put on a good set.

Setlist (from what I remember and not in order)
White Robes
Satan Says
Buried Alive
Getting What He Asked Us
Kingdom Come
A Message For The Angels
The World Is Ending (No One Care)
We’re Fucked

Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

Maybe all you need are snickers or reeses:
Direct Hit – Brainless God
Direct Hit/Hold Tight Split
Off With Their Heads – Hospitals

Official Site:
Direct Hit

Off With Their Heads, Morning Glory, Direct Hit Show Recap (Philadelphia 12/11/13)

Wednesday after a day of abusing my body snowboarding, I headed to Philly’s beloved First Unitarian Church basement to catch one hell of a lineup.  Any of these bands on the bill would be good enough for me to go to the show, having Off With Their Heads, Morning Glory, and Direct Hit all together was just a god damn mind melt.  Unfortunately I missed almost all of The Headies, but the last two songs I was able to catch were sick.  So I’ll need to make a point to catch those dudes.

Direct Hit!:
direct hit

I’ve been completely obsessed with Direct Hit as of late.  Their album Brainless God turned me from “hey, that one hardcore split they have with Hold Tight is kinda cool” to “holy fuck these guys rule”.  I caught them once before open for The Copyrights back in July, and while I didn’t know any of their  songs by that point, their pop-punk set blew me away.  This time, I knew the songs and was ready to get rowdy.

The band took the stage, and broke out into “The World Is Ending (No One Cares)” which had many of us in the crowd shouting along.  Direct Hit is incredibly refreshing to see live.  You can tell they are legitimately having a blast on stage, love what they’re doing, and are here to have a good time.

Playing songs from the both Brainless God and and Domesplitter, the band played a tight set even though they were plagued with a few technical difficulties.  Regardless, they powered through without missing a beat, with one of the guitarists throwing his guitar down, saying “fuck it” and just singing along every word.

Probably my favorite set of the night, definitely check them if they come around… or if their side project Galactic Cannibal comes around, check them out too, you lucky son of a bitch.

Setlist: (Not complete or in order)
The World Is Ending (No One Cares)
Buried Alive
Getting What He Asked For
Back To The Tower
Satan Says
A Message To The Angels
They Came For Me (I think)

Morning Glory:

Formed from the ashes of Choking Victim years ago, Morning Glory was one of the more prominent crack rock steady bands (Leftover Crack, INDK, etc).  It’s been a few years since I’ve last seen them, and they’ve actually recorded another full length semi recently called Poets Were My Heroes.

The band took the stage, and a small but dedicated group of us started skanking, singing along, and piling on while Ezra kept jumping into the crowd.  As usual Morning Glory played a fun and solid set even if they didn’t play Gang Control and most of the people in the crowd weren’t sure who they were.  Oh god, I’m getting old.

Everything’s a Song To Me
Last Caress (partial Misfits cover)
So You Wanna Be A Cop?
Orphan’s Holiday
Always Alone (Off With Their Heads cover)

Off With Their Heads
Off With Their Heads

Straight up, Off With Their Heads are one of the hardest bands around there.  They’re always recording new music, and they always seem to be on tour, even though I realized it’s been 2 years since I last saw them.  I’ve seen them play all types of venues in Philly from headlining the smaller Barbary and house shows, to the larger Electric Factory supporting bands such as Bad Religion and The Bouncing Souls.  It only was appropriate to finally see them headline a show at The First Unitarian Church basement.

The band took the stage and opened with “Nightlife” off of their latest album Home, setting off the crowd into a huge sing along.  At one point, the band played “Theme Song” from their Hospitals EP, and after we completely went off in the crowd, Ryan said “fuck it, that was fun, let’s just do the entire album”.  Fuck yes.

The new songs translated pretty well live, but some felt a little out of place (such as the slower “Don’t Make Me Go” and “Altar Boy”).  Still, it’s always a good time to see Off With Their Heads, and good to see them on a headlining tour again after supporting so many bands the past few years.  Oh, and they played Ten Year Trouble, a song I’ve been requesting forever but they’ve stated in interviews they don’t like playing live.

Setlist (Pretty complete, although not in order)
Focus On Your Family
Start Walking
Theme Song
Die Today
Your Child Is Dead
Hard To Admit
Heroin In NYC
Jackie Lee
Don’t Make Me Go
Stolen Away
Clear The Air
Ten Year Trouble
Fuck This I’m Out

Off With Their Heads – Drive
Morning Glory – Poets Were My Heroes
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

Read these or else:
Off With Their Heads – Home
Morning Glory – Shelter From The Spoon
Direct Hit – Brainless God

Direct Hit! – Brainless God (For fans of The Copyrights, The Dopamines, Hold Tight)

direct hit brainless god

I’ll be honest, my exposure to Wisconsin/Illinois pop punks Direct Hit! before their latest Brainless God was pretty much a hardcore split they did with Hold Tight and their side project (with I’ve been fucking obsessed with lately) Galactic Cannibal. However, let’s cut to the chase: I’m completely blown away by their latest album and have been spinning it seriously non-stop.

Direct Hit manages to blend elements of pop-punk, hardcore, and just all around party music to create a cohesive and catchy 12 songs.  Brainless God is a concept album, telling the tale of a world facing certain nuclear destruction and staring death square in the face through the eyes of different characters, and defiantly giving it the finger. Each song tells it’s own story, but is flows so well to paint a bigger picture.

However the beauty of Brainless God is the fact that there is a much deeper meaning and more practical one within the black humor, and that is overcoming any adversaries that life may throw at you, as shown in the closer “A Message For The Angels Pt II”.  Talking about invading heaven, with lyrics Your brainless god should take some time, climb off his throne/and give us all an explanation of his own/We want our whiskey bottles back now/our guitars and amplifiers,
because this night ain’t over until we say it’s done.

Persevere motherfuckers.

Easily one of my favorites this year, it’s definitely a must for any pop-punk fan.

Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

Off With Their Heads – Home
Dillinger Four – Situationist Comedy
Off With Their Heads – Hospitals
Direct Hit/Hold Tight Split

Official Site:
Direct Hit

The Copyrights, Direct Hit! Live In Philadelphia (7/2/13)

Yesterday evening I headed to Philly’s small venue/dance club/bar The Barbary to catch pop-punk torch carriers The Copyrights.  It was a very small intimate show with only about 30 people there or so, and I knew going in that while everyone usually sings along… dancing is often at a minimum at these pop-punk shows for some reason, which would usually piss me off… but since I’m coming off an injury I was surprisingly ok with it.  I wound up missing the two openers, but made it in time for Direct Hit!

Direct Hit!
direct hit

I’ve never seen Direct Hit! before, and the only music I know by them is their joke hardcore split with Hold Tight (which completely slays by the way).  We weren’t treated to any of those two-step worthy songs, but they did completely blow me away with a solid pop-punk set.  The band was loud, energetic, and had people singing along through out their set.  I need to check some of their more traditional music out it turns out.

The Copyrights:


The first time I ever saw the Copyrights a few years back on tour with Teenage Bottlerocket, they were a goofy pop-punk band who played fun jams similar to Screeching Weasel or The Queers.  These days The Copyrights have turned a bit to a more melancholy side with the release of North Sentinel Island (which was one of my favorite releases of 2012) and their live show shows that.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but the stage banter has now been limited to a complete minimum, and there is just a much more serious stage presence, which is fitting with the newer songs (or maybe being in Philly just brings out the sadness)….

The Copyrights took the stage and thanked the few of us who came out on a rainy Tuesday night to listen to some pop-punk jams.  The crowd as I mentioned earlier was pretty subdued except for the occassional spontaneous dancing (and physical therapy be damned, I couldn’t help but do so during Cashiers).  Playing through songs over the course of most of their catalog, even though the show was running really early, the set remained short at approximately a half hour.

No matter, anytime I get to see The Copyrights it’s a good time, as they easily are one of the best pop-punk bands around these days.

Setlist (From what I remember, and definitely not complete or in order):
Kids Of The Black Hole
Shit’s Fucked
All My Heroes Are Assholes
Button Smasher
Stuck In The Springtime
They Say (I think)
Trustees Of Modern Chemistry
Hard Wired
Worn Out Passport

The Copyrights – Trustees Of Modern Chemistry

The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!
Mean Jeans – Are You Serious
The Lillingtons – Too Late Show

Hold Tight and Direct Hit Split (For fans of Paint it Black, Sick of It All, Black Flag)

(The cover is like a mix between Damaged, Blood Sweat No Tears, and a bad acid trip)

True fact I made up: every pop-punk band has a hardcore alter-ego.  Newfound Glory has International Super Heroes Of Hardcore, Hold Tight has Tight Hold, and Direct Hit has umm… Direct Hit.  So what does it sound like when bands like Hold Tight and Direct Hit decide to play hardcore on a split together?  It sounds pretty fucking good… pretty fucking good.

Midwestern dudes Direct Hit give us 5 songs on their side, with the goal “to be more hardcore than Bane” (impossible as this commercial proves).  The songs were written by the members for a different project when they thought Direct Hit was going to break up, and they got one of their friends to fill in on vocals.  The riffs and vocals are abrasive (in a good way) with plenty of mosh breakdowns.  Kind of reminds me of Sick Of It All.

Now anyone who reads this site even semi-regularly knows that I love Richmond’s Hold Tight.  I think they play some of the best pop-punk around these days, and it turns out they play insanely good hardcore too.  11 songs in 11 minutes, they definitely are incredibly reminiscent of Paint it Black and at times, Cut the Shit (however my non-hardcore friend gave the helpful tip “Don’t bother with who they sound like, all hardcore sounds exactly the same”.  Thanks bud.)

Hold Tight slows things down a little bit and experiments a bit on Stagger I and II, just like the band (Black Flag) they’re paying homage to.

Definitely check out this split, comes out March 20th on I Hate Punk Rock Records.  Very good hardcore music by non-hardcore bands.

Hold Tight – Always
Direct Hit – Oregon Entrails

You’d Probably Like These Too Dudes and Dudettes:
Hold Tight – Call The Zoo
Hold Tight! – Can’t Take This Away
Lighten Up – I’d Rather Be Snoring
Paint It Black – Amnesia
The Steal – Bright Grey

Hold Tight
Direct Hit