Last night I headed to Philadelphia’s sweaty basement of the First Unitarian Church to catch Philly’s own adopted punks The Menzingers. I actually got there so late that I missed every opening band, but somehow made it in time to catch the headliners (I really lucked out).
The place was sold out, sweaty as fuck, and packed. I’m not going to lie, there was a period of time back in 2011 where I was seeing them all the time, but I sort of started taking The Menzingers for granted. Any time they’d play a Philly show I’d just say “oh I’ll catch them next time they come around.” Some time passed, and I realized that it has been at least 2 years since I’ve last seen The Menzingers, and holy shit was there a much different vibe at the show (more on that later).
The Menzingers themselves played a solid, tight set… although they seemed to not have the same stage presence they did a few years back where they’d be jumping and diving into the crowd, and with the slower jams of their latest On The Impossible Past I totally expected it to be a bit more mellow.
Most of the material they played was off the newest album, and it was good to finally hear those songs played live. They actually didn’t do that many off Chamberlain Waits with at one point a member of the band said “come on, you guys really haven’t heard I’ve Been Born enough yet?”
After closing out, the band returned for a cover set encore which included songs by The Lawrence Arms, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Bouncing Souls (which I lost my shit to harder than probably any other song).
My only real complaint about the show was a small minority of the crowd. I guess a lot has changed over the past two years and they’ve gotten huge, but I noticed there just wasn’t as much respect at the show. There were some cases where kids fell and people would just step on them (while veterans would rush over to help them up) and people dancing in the pit with everyone just targeting them and not letting them (I actually heard someone say “if you see someone dancing, fuck them, push them out of the way”).
I think it really has to do with the fact that for a lot of people, The Menzingers are now a gateway into punk and they just aren’t used to show etiquette. Again, it was a small minority and you’re going to find assholes at every show, and at least these people just seemed more ignorant than intentionally being dicks, but it was worth mentioning that the vibe is definitely different.
Still a good time and didn’t really take too much away from the show, but definitely not the same rowdy party I’m used to with seeing The Menzingers (but that’s what I get for not seeing them in two years).
Setlist From What I Remember (Not In Order, And Not Complete):
A Lesson In The Abuse Of Technology
On The Impossible Past
I Can’t Seem To Tell
Who’s Your Partner
Are You There Margaret, It’s Me God (Lawrence Arms Cover)
Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)
Kate Is Great (Bouncing Souls Cover)