Tag Archive for music

Fenix TX and Suck Brick Kid Live In Philly (3/31/16)

fenixtx

Last week, I headed to Philly’s Underground Arts to catch one of the first bands I ever saw way back in the day, Fenix TX as they supported Unwritten Law on their tour.  I was surprised by how much of a turnout there were for these bands, especially considering the last time Fenix TX released any music was 15 years ago.

I missed the local opener but got there in time for Orlando’s Suck Brick Kid.

Suck Brick Kid:

Orlando’s Suck Brick Kid took the stage, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.  I’ll be honest, I’m a bit picky when it comes to pop-punk, and don’t find myself listening to the genre very often, especially newer bands (unless your pop-punk sounds more like The Queers than Newfound Glory.)

The second they started playing, I was pleasantly surprised.  The band clearly pulled from a bunch of different influences, and they reminded me a bit of A Wilhelm Scream or Hot Water Music if they were a pop-punk band.

The band bantered plenty with the crowd, talking about how they’ve been asking everyone at each show what their city is the best at (Baltimore is the best at heroin and riots apparently).  Philly answered “cheesesteaks”, but I would have gone with booing people.  Each their own.

If you’re into A Wilhelm Scream at all, give these guys a listen.  Bonus for throwing in a Blink-182 cover.

Fenix TX:

Story time!  My first show ever when I was just a kid still getting into punk was Fenix TX.  Strangely enough, they were opening for that Christian rap-rock band P.O.D at the Electric Factory over 15 years ago and I went to see Fenix TX, and am pretty sure I was one of the only people who was there for them at that show.

I played the shit out of their Self Titled growing up, and while I never really became familiar with their much bigger Lechuza (as my friend told me when I told him I didn’t know any of these “new” songs “dude these came out almost 15 years ago”), and I wasn’t sure how much off their first album they would play.

After ripping through a bunch off Lechuza including Phoebe Cates, Something Bad Is Gonna Happen, and Katie W, Fenix TX launched into some of their older stuff including Minimum Wage and Ben.  The crowd, while not really dancing, was enthusiastically singing along throughout the set.  Announcing that they were actually writing new music,  they played a few new songs which were definitely a bit heavier.

A fun show, it was good to see one of the seminal bands that were one of my gateway bands into punk again, and definitely nostalgic seeing them after all these years and hearing songs like Flight 601 again live.  While I don’t really listen to much pop-punk these days, their Self Titled will always still be one of my favorite albums.

Setlist (from what I remember, not in order):
Phoebe Cates
Something Bad Is Gonna Happen
Katie W
Minimum Wage
Ben
Abba Zabba
New Song
Threesome
Flight 601New Song
Tearjerker
All My Fault

MP3:
Fenix TX – Surf Song

Graf Orlock – Crime Traveler (For fans of DANGERS, Ghostlimb, Pig Destroyer)

Graf-Orlock-Crime-Traveller

LA’s Graf Orlock are finally back with their latest album Crime Traveler, their first full-length in since 2009’s Destination Time Today.  Known for their heavy hardcore/grindcore mixed with clips and lyrics focused on various movies, Crime Traveler follows the same format, only this time focuses on a script that the band themselves wrote.  A concept album through and through, Graf Orlock writes:

“The Crime Traveler film tells the story of a French-Canadian assassin who discovers a wormhole and travels back in time to kill American politicians so that Canada can attain superpower status in the future. As the samples selected for the album illustrate, our anti-hero zips through time and space on his mission – rubbing elbows with John Hinckley at the Reagan assassination, witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and more.”

Sure, the story is a bit Terminator-esque and the dialog and acting (at least from the little I gathered from the intro clips) is downright awful at times (as is expected with a B-movie) but that’s besides the point.  Graf Orlock has always been about fun, and this album definitely is, and the music is the same crushing, chugging hardcore we’ve come to love from Graf Orlock.  Opener “Bad Cell Service On Connecticut Avenue” is an aggressive blast beat fueled song about the Reagan assassination attempt, while the proceeding  “600,000 Tons Of Explosive Ordance” displays Graf Orlock’s sludgier side.

One thing noticeably different from their earlier full lengths is singer/guitarist Justin (of Dangers/Ghostlimb) has much more vocal duties, and their old singer left the band since Destination Time Today (no, he didn’t actually die in a car crash) and has been replaced.  If you’ve been following the bands EPs since including “Doombox” and “Los Angeles”, you’ll know the new singer fits right in, but doesn’t have the higher pitched shrill screams of the old vocalist.

A fun and blistering album, Graf Orlock nails it as usual.  If you’re a fan of grind with more punk/hardcore influences than metal, definitely pick up “Crime Traveler”, it’s a killer album that I’ve been listening to pretty much daily as of late.

MP3:
Graf Orlock – Bad Service On Connecticut Ave

More:
Graf Orlock – Destination: Time Today
Graf Orlock – Destination Time Tomorrow
Ghostlimb – Infrastructure
Ghostlimb – Bearing And Distance
Dangers – Messy, Isn’t It?
Dangers – Anger

Official Release:
Bandcamp

Hub City Stompers – Live In Philadelphia (2/21/16)

hubcity

On an unseasonably warm Sunday night, my girlfriend and I headed to Philadelphia’s Kung Fu Neckie to catch my home state NJ’s ska/oi/punk band Hub City Stompers.  I wasn’t expecting the place to have many people considering the fact it’s a Sunday ska show, but KFN had a decent crowd set up.  We got there a little late, missing their first song but getting there just in time for Chatterbox.

One of the first things I’ve noticed was the absence of saxophonist/singer Jenny Whiskey from the stage, with the band claiming she couldn’t make it tonight but they’d be in full strength at the next show.  I don’t know if it was because of this or not, but HCS played a bunch of their older songs as well which had a few of us singing and dancing along.

Always a fun time with their songs taking on everything from emo, 3rd wave ska, racism and everything in between, if you prefer your ska to be more similar to bands like The Specials or Madness than Reel Big Fish, definitely check them out.  I’ve seen them live many times over the past decade and they never fail to put on an great show.

Setlist: (from what I remember, not in order)
Chatterbox
Pants Music
Sharky 17 (Inspecter 7)
Little Julie Swastiska
Skins Don’t Cry
Popeye (Inspecter 7)
Hub City Stompers (Inspecter 7)
I’ve Got A Boot
Night Of The Living
WTFIU?

MP3:
Hub City Stompers – WTFIU?

More:
Hub City Stompers – Life After Death
Hub City Stompers – Blood Sweat And Beers
Hub City Stompers – Ska Ska Black Sheep

Guttermouth Live In Philly (2/12/16)

guttermouth tattoo conv

I headed to Philly’s small Fishtown dive bar the Kung Fu Necktie to catch Huntington Beach’s Guttermouth.  I’ve been a fan of these guys since I was like a freshman in high school nearly 17 years ago (…fuck I’m old) and both times I’ve seen them live they still put on a killer show.

The place was pretty packed when I got there right before Guttermouth took the stage, and it was clearly a Guttermouth show, as indicated by the drunk dude who decided to breakdown the stage before the band even went on until he was physically lifted off fireman style.

The vibe was a bit weird at first, with a bunch of people with cameras right up front (keep in mind this is a really divey venue, with no barricades and a low stage) and I was worried that this meant people weren’t going to dance, but my concerns were immediately put to rest by the large frantic pit that broke out as soon as Mark and company finished sound checking and opened with The Album Formerly Known As Full Length LP opener “Race Track”Following it up with “Asshole”, the crowd didn’t let up for the majority of the show, and Mark was all over the place running around, jumping into the pit and drunkenly quipping with the crowd.

At one point, Mark asked the crowd if punk bands still frequented Philly, which someone replied “yes, except Rancid”.  To which they started playing “Ruby Soho” while Mark mumbled like Tim Armstrong and nailed the impersonation.

The band ripped through a bunch of their classics, with all the juvenile and brash humor that they’re known for.  While they’re getting up there in age, Guttermouth still puts on an incredibly energetic and fun show.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order)
Race Track
Asshole
Lipstick
Do The Hustle
Jaimie’s Petting Zoo
Lucky The Donkey
Where Was I?
No Such Thing
End On 9
Bakers Dozen
Bruce Lee Vs The Kiss Army
She’s Got The Look
Trinket Trading Tick Toting Tired Toothless Tramps
Party Of Two (Your Table Is Ready)

MP3:
Guttermouth – Bakers Dozen

More:
Guttermouth – Musical Monkey
Guttermouth – 4 New Songs

Official Site:
Guttermouth

Leftover Crack – Constructs Of The State (For fans of Choking Victim, Operation Ivy, Star Fucking Hipsters)

leftover_crack_constructs_cover

It’s 2016, and I’m really fucking loving the new Leftover Crack album – file under shit I’d never thought I’d be saying.  I’ll be honest, I’ve been a Leftover Crack fan for nearly 15 years now, but I didn’t really have high hopes for their latest Fat Wreck release Constructs Of The State.  For one, it’s been over 11 years since their last album Fuck World Trade, and on top of it founding member Ezra has since left the band, so I just assumed it would just be watered down.  Upon my first listen of Constructs Of The State, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Constructs Of The State is 13 tracks is a fantastic mix of ska, punk, hardcore and metal creating that crack rock steady sound that you’ve come to love from the band.  Songs like opener “Archaic Subjugation” and “Slave To Throne” show the heavier side of things with plenty of hardcore and thrash metal influences, while the more ska influenced “System Fucked” is an incredibly catchy song featuring Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy/Classics Of Love that’s so damn skankable, you’d think it was 2001 again.  (In addition to Jesse Michaels, there are plenty of musical guests throughout the entire album, including members of Crass, Dead Milkmen, Bouncing Souls, Riverboat Gamblers, and plenty more.)

Lyrically, the band is political as ever with songs about systematic racism, lies the armies recruit with, etc.  But Stza also goes down a bit more personal route with songs about seeing drug addiction ruining so many of his friend’s lives on the incredibly catchy “Bedbugs and Beyond” (It even has a direct reference to former member Ezra and his struggles with addiction) that ends with a cautionary “these fucking bugs eat punks.”

Speaking of the white elephant in the room Ezra, yes his absence is noticeable on Constructs Of The State, but not nearly as much as you might think.  As proven with Morning Glory, Ezra is a pretty talented song writer and his songs definitely helped expand the sound of their previous albums and his voice proved to be a nice contrast to Stza, but at the same time according to Stza when asked if it was strange to record without him: “Not really. He was never very involved in the recording process, and even less in the LöC songwriting. He wrote/co-wrote about six songs between Fuck World Trade, Deadline, and the Crack Rock Steady 7 split with F-Minus. He played guitar on a hidden track at the end of Mediocre Generica and he plays guitar on about six of the now 21 tracks on Fuck World Trade. Other than that, he only sang or played guitar on “his” songs. There are three of those. People were led to believe that he was more involved in these projects by my direction. Even on the Choking Victim full length, No Gods/No Managers, he is actually only on about three songs and he’s playing bass and not actually playing any guitars or vocals as the liner notes otherwise dictate. All that being said, his contributions were not insignificant and the few songs that he was around to write guitar for benefited greatly. He’s a talented musician.”

With all that being said, Constructs Of The State is a stellar album, and a must for any Leftover Crack fan.  It’s been in my regular rotation since I got it in November, and I haven’t been able to stop listening since.

MP3:
Leftover Crack – Syste Fucked (ft Jesse Michaels)

Bouncing Souls, World Inferno Friendship Society, Miss TK, and The Low Budgets Live In NJ (12/26/15)

I’ve been going to The Bouncing Souls Home For The Holidays since the band started the Asbury Park tradition back in 2007.  This year, I decided to go on Saturday due to the fact that both the World Inferno Friendship Society and The Low Budgets were playing it.   I got to the Stone Pony right as The Low Budgets took the stage.

The Low Budgets:

lowbudgets
Viva valu-rock!  I’ve loved Philadelphia’s Low Budgets from the moment I saw them live back in 2003 with their goofy songs about being broke, dead kittens, and craft fairs.  Catching them a few times up until they announced they were calling it a day back in 2008, I was pretty sure I would never get to see them again.  One of the main reasons I picked this night for Home For The Holidays was because of these guys, especially because I couldn’t make their Philly warehouse show a week beforehand.

The room was filling up as they started playing, with Joe Jack Talcum of Dead Milkmen fame in the center of the stage with his keyboard.  It seemed like most of the people there weren’t sure who they were, but there were definitely a bunch of us who were singing along to each word, and most people seemed to be digging them.  Playing songs off all three of their full lengths, the band put on a solid show and I’m really kicking myself for missing the Philly one which was definitely rowdier.  It’s a shame that this was just a one-off reunion, The Low Budgets still slay live.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order):
Oh Yeah
O.E In The A.M
50 Cents
Thrift Store
Ripped Off
Poser Punker
Stupid Dead Kitty
Rock N Rollers
Sweet Tooth
Declined
Fat Cop

Miss TK and The Revenge:

misstk

I’ve never heard of Asbury Park’s Miss TK and The Revenge before, but apparently they featured both Ari Katz (vocalist of Lifetime) and his wife Miss TK.  Playing a sort of synth-punk style that reminded me a bit of Le Tigre or later No Doubt, it wasn’t my particular style, but they definitely weren’t bad by any means.   Bonus points for having enough cowbell to make even Blue Oyster Cult jealous.

The World Inferno Friendship Society:
The-World-Inferno-Friendship-Society-Live-300x200

The World Inferno Friendship Society has gone through numerous lineup changes throughout the years, but yet they remain to be one of the most consistent live bands around.  Taking the stage and opening with their call to arms “Tattoos Fade”, the place immediately erupted into a frenzy of crowd surfing, dancing, and singing along.  A World Inferno show may seriously be the only place where you’ll see people go from moshing to waltzing within the same song.

Vocalist Jack Terricloth and crew were on point with their both their music and quips.  Between telling the bouncers guarding the stage that the “the kids just want to dance”, and then joking with the bouncer throughout the set, it was definitely amusing to watch.  With people climbing the rafters and Jack stage diving into the crowd during the last song, The World Inferno Friendship Society is always just the best party.

Setlist (From what I remember)
Tattoos Fade
Annie The Imaginary Lawyer
Just The Best Party
My Ancestral Homeland, New Jersey
Thumb Cinema
Secret Service Freedom Fighting USA
Brother Of The Mayor Of Bridgewater
Jerusalem Boys

The Bouncing Souls:

BouncingSouls5

Before the Souls took the stage, the place was already getting rowdy with chants of “OLE” and “Here We Go” breaking out throughout the crowd. The Souls finally took the stage, and announced that this might be their last Home For The Holidays (boooo), and opening with “Joe Lies (When He Cries)”.  The place immediately broke out into a frenzy.  The Souls didn’t let up for the entirety of the night playing songs mostly from their earlier releases with an emphasis on How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Greg seemed lively jumping into the crowd a few times, running around the stage, and all around having a blast on stage.  The majority of the night was a blur for me as I danced and yelled along, but one thing is for sure: Home For The Holidays is one of my favorite shows, and I’ll be pretty bummed if this is the last one.  The Bouncing Souls are easily my favorite band and have been for nearly 16 years now, and there’s just something special about seeing them in my home state of New Jersey.

Setlist (Not in order)
Joe Lies (When He Cries)
Punks In Vegas
Kate Is Great
Kids And Heroes
Sing Along Forever
Say Anything
Broken Record
East Coast! Fuck You!
Hopeless Romantic
That Song
The Something Special
Lifetime
Manthem
Late Bloomer
Lamar Vannoy
Quick Check Girl
Born To Lose
Lean On Sheena
These Are The Quotes From Our Favorite 80s Movies
True Believers

MP3:
Bouncing Souls-Joe Lies (When He Cries)
World Inferno Friendship Society – Tattoos Fade
Low Budgets – Born Before The Internet

PEARS Live In Philly (12/10/15)

Pears

Ever since I saw PEARS open for Teenage Bottlerocket a few months back and I got a copy of their debut Go To Prison, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them.  New Orleans PEARS mix their aggressive hardcore so seamlessly with Descendent’s inspired pop-punk, it seriously is the most catchy and addicting music I’ve heard in a long time.

I got to Johnny Brenda’s intimate small room just in time for PEARS, and the place was actually nowhere near as dead as I expected it to be for a random Thursday night 21+ show.  Once PEARS took the stage, it was clear a lot of people weren’t too familiar with the band itself but were there to support the Philly local drummer.

If there’s one thing that makes PEARS stand out live, it’s their incredibly explosive stage presence.  From the second they opened with “Little Bags” vocalist Zach was all over the place jumping all around the stage with his bizarre and entertaining antics.  This continued throughout the course of the night, jumping and rolling through the crowd even though there were only a handful of us who were singing along (although everyone did seem to be digging them).

PEARS played pretty much every song they have maybe minus one or two for a quick and explosive set.  Bonus points for somehow incorporating what I’m pretty sure was Super Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country’s aquatic level music in their set as an intro before one of the songs.

Easily becoming one of my favorite bands, PEARS killed it, and if you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, get on it.

Setlist: (not in order)
Little Bags
Sycophant
Anhedonia
You’re Boring
Terrible
Framework
Breakfast (I think they did this one)
Forever Sad (I think)
Judy Is A Punk (Ramones)
Victim To Be
Grime Spree

So pretty much everything except Snowflake if I remember correctly.

MP3:
PEARS – You’re Boring

Weston, Digger Live In Philadelphia (12/5/15)

Weston flyer

This past Friday, My girlfriend and I met up with some friends and headed out to Philly’s First Unitarian Church basement meeting up with some friends to catch Pennsylvania’s beloved Weston.  The sweaty basement was pretty packed out by the time I got there with original fans who used to follow the band when they played in the 90s, dads introducing their young ones to their first punk rock experience, and everything in between.  I missed openers Mikey Erg and The Fiendz, but got there in time for Digger.

Digger:

digger

Allentown’s Pennsylvania’s Digger used to play all the time with Weston back in the 90s (in fact one of the members of Weston used to be in Digger), and musically the influences are very similar.  Playing pop-punk similar to Fifteen, Digger called it a day back in the early 2000s only to recently play a string a reunion shows.  Being one of the first Hopeless Records bands, if you ever had any of the Hopelessly Devoted To You compilations back in the day, you know Digger.

Digger killed it with their catchy pop-punk anthems about girls and hats, and even though I’m not too familiar with their albums (which I need to change) they put on a really fun set with plenty of people singing throughout.  Plenty of vocal melodies and catchy riffs,  Digger is one of the most underrated pop-punk bands of their time.

Weston:

weston

This was my 3rd time seeing Weston and the previous two times I caught them (the first time in NJ almost a decade ago opening for The Bouncing Souls at the fucking House Of Blues in Atlantic City, and more recently Riot Fest East here in Philly) the majority of the crowd didn’t seem to know or even really care who they were.  But finally, I was getting to catch Weston in a small, intimate venue they were headlining.

The PA natives took the stage in the most ridiculous/awesome outfits, with hawaiian shirts, the most glittery suit I’ve ever seen, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night: fun.  Kicking things off with Got Beat Up opener “Retarded”, the crowd immediately burst into a pit, pile-ons and sing alongs which lasted throughout the course of the night.

Weston were in high spirits as they joked about their history, getting older, and immediately having sound problems with the bass cutting out, to which they took the time to give odes to bands such as Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, saying that they were great song writers regardless of what you thought.  Using that as a segue, they introduced the original guitarist of Weston who wrote a bunch of the riffs and had him a play a few songs.

After ripping through a bunch of favorites the band started joking about how they have shirts in the back, and they are new before closing with fan favorites “New Shirt/Heather Lewis”.  After leaving the stage, the band came back out to the “one more song” demands playing a cover of The Misfits “Where Eagles Dare” and picked probably the drunkest dude in the crowd to do vocals for it.  Finally, closing with what they said was a “deep cut” (Bus Stop off of their Japan only release) they called it a night with saying they literally don’t know how to play any more songs.   A fun night, I really hope Weston plays some more shows.  They still kill it live after all these years, and prove they can still pack a place on a Friday night.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order)
Retarded
Just Like Kurt
Feelings Stupid Feelings
No Kind Of Superstar
Record Shop (I think)
David Soul (I think)
Feet
Varsity Sweater
Little Mile ’94
New Shirt
Heather Lewis

Encore:
Where Eagles Dare (Misfits cover)
Bus Stop

MP3:
Weston – No Kind Of Superstar

The Unseen, Murphy’s Law, Blanks 77 Live In Philadelphia (11/28/15)

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).

Blanks 77:

blanks77poster

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.

Highlights:
Up The System
Pills
No Big Deal
I Wanna Be A Punk
Party Train
Chelsea Girls
We Are The Punks

Murphy’s Law:

murphyslaw-1347376203

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.

Highlights:
Vicky Crown
Quest For Herb
Beer
Panty Raid
Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight (Fleetwood Mac cover)

The Unseen:

the unseen

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
False Hope
Explode
Children Of The Revolution
Social Security
Police Brutality
No Evacuation
Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison cover)
Are We Dead Yet (I think they did this one)
So This is Freedom

Mp3:
The Unseen – Social Security
Blanks 77 – Radio Hits

 

Mustard Plug, Backyard Super Heroes, Teenage Halloween Live In NJ (11/14/15)

MustardPlugBrigtonflyer

I’ll admit it, it’s the year 2015 and I still shamelessly love ska and especially Mustard Plug.  So much in fact, that I travelled 3 hours round trip to Brighton Bar, a small dive out in Long Branch NJ in order to get my skanking on since Mustard Plug was skipping over Philadelphia for some reason.

My girlfriend and I got there right as locals Teenage Halloween were setting up, and the place was decently packed for being an 18+ ska show.

Teenage Halloween:

Teenage Halloween

I’ve never heard of these Asbury Park locals before, but Teenage Halloween had a decent amount of fans there for them dancing throughout their set.  Even though they had horns and like 9 people in the band (including a banjo, etc) I’m hesitant to call them a ska band, as they were more of an indie-pop-punk-folkish band with horns than anything related to ska.

Indie folk isn’t exactly my cup of tea but I was told they sounded a lot like Nana Grizol.  They’re young and definitely have potential, so if you’re into that music check them out.  They don’t really have much online currently (besides like an acoustic song) but they did put on an energetic set and you should check out their live show.

 

Backyard Superheroes

Backyard Superheroes

Even though I’ve never heard of Backyard Superheroes, before they even started playing I could guess what they would sound like based on the name, sunglasses, mutton chops, and bowtie. I could guess they were your typical goofy but fun ska crew mostly influenced by bands such as Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats.

With an older guy on stage giving an intro speech running around with the setlist taped to his shirt, and the second they started playing had fans running around in superhero costumes it definitely was starting to feel like a bit of an Aquabats show.

The band ripped through their 3rd wave ska set as fans skanked throughout.  Throwing in a few covers as well, including a ska rendition of The Bouncing Souls “True Believers” (we are in Jersey…) and the obligatory Operation Ivy cover.

Mustard Plug:

mustard plug

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Mustard Plug has been at it since 1991, and while they never reached the mainstream success some of the other ska bands of their time did (Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Mighty Mighty Bosstones) they have been over time one of the most consistent and solid ska bands around.  Every album in their discography is a great listen whether you’re going back from Skapocalypse Now or to their latest Can’t Contain It, and personally, they’re one of my favorite ska bands around.

Once Mustard Plug took the small stage and immediately opened into “Send You Back”, us older in the crowd immediately opened up a pit in front of the stage skanking throughout the entirety of the set. Ripping through all their classics and playing a nice mix from the majority of their albums (except Yellow #5 for some reason… they must really hate that album) the band put on a fun and energetic set.

Singer Dave took some shots at his own age “I can’t see the setlist because the font is too small for my old eyes.  And my knees just feel like they’re going to give out at any minute and snap from under me from years of skanking.” and made sure to take a shot at the crowd’s age as well after a circle pit song and people were sitting down due to exhaustion in between songs: “Please stand up, you don’t have to dance anymore but don’t sit that’s just making us depressed”.

A fun set, Mustard Plug is still one of the best ska bands around and still put on a killer time.

Setlist:
Send You Back
Skank By Numbers
Go
Away From Here
Brain On Ska
You
Time To Wake Up
Everything Girl
Waiting Room (Fugazi Cover)
The All-Nighter
Mr. Smiley
Lolita
Aye Aye Aye
Mendoza
Life Is Too Short
Shakin It Up
Hit Me Hit Me
Box
Yesterday
Vodka (not sure what this is… on setlist)
On and On
Beer

MP3:
Mustard Plug – Hit Me! Hit Me!

More:
How to be a 3rd wave ska dork
Mustard Plug – Can’t Contain It

Mustard Plug – In Black and White
Mustard Plug – Evil Doers Beware

Buy:
Mustard Plug