Tag Archive for music

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

Mean Jeans, Nancy, Ruby Buff Live In Philly (11/6/15)

mean jeans flyer

Last Friday, I headed out to Philly’s warehouse/house Second Empire to catch one of my favorite Ramones-worship punk bands around, Mean Jeans.  I’ve never been to Second Empire before, but it was a pretty sweet spot that reminded me of Philly’s old Ox, but with more punk studs everywhere (including doors).  Unfortunately I missed both Teenage Chainsaw and Dark Thoughts, two of my friend’s very solid Philly bands that I really was hoping to catch, but Dark Thoughts were just finishing up as I got there.

Ruby Buff:

RubyBuffI’ve never heard of Ruby Buff before, but the Philly 3-piece played punk rock influenced power pop.  Playing your typical 3 chord punk rock with less distortion and a bit more experimental sounds including some new wave and indie influences, they reminded me a bit of bands like Radiator Hospital and Chumped.  Playing to a pretty packed converted garage with a stage, plenty of people seemed to be digging their punk-pop set.

Nancy:
NANCY
Another band I’ve never heard before this show, I have to say that NYC’s Nancy completely blew me away.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the dressed up in mexican wrestler costumed duo took the stage.  With just guitars and drums, the shared vocal duty duo launched into some good old fashioned 70s style punk rock pulling plenty of influences from The Dickies, New York Dolls, and countless more.  With incredibly catchy riffs, humor, and a high energy set, these two dudes put on a hell of a live show.

Mean Jeans:
MeanJeans
I’ve been a fan of the Portland punks ever since they came out with “Are You Serious” a few years back, and their show last year with Kepi Ghoulie at the Golden Tea House was seriously one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to so I was pretty stoked to be seeing them again.

The band took the stage to immediate sound problems with the guitar cutting out during the first song which resulted in them stopping, but that didn’t deter anyone because as soon as they fixed the issues we immediately were shouting along and pogo-ing.

Keeping stage banter to a minimum, Mean Jeans let their music speak for itself with their lyrics about partying, space, and rock and roll.  Definitely a solid time, Mean Jeans are constantly an incredible live band, and it was awesome seeing them in a small space like this again.  With them signing to Fat Wreck, who knows how big they’re going to blow up so go party with them while you have the chance.

Highlights:
Life On Mars
Slime Time
Steve Don’t Party No More
Ready 2 Rip
Party Animal
Forever In Mean Jeans (I think they did this one)
Case Race
Anybody Out There
Let’s Pogo B4 U Gogo
DUI Checkpoint

MP3:
Mean Jeans – Rats Roaches And Jeans
Nancy – I Want One
More:
Mean Jeans – Are You Serious

The Copyrights, Not Scientists Live In Philly (10/25/15)

Halloween is finally over, it’s getting dark much earlier, and I finally am getting a chance to catch up on posts a bit.  Last week, I headed out to South Philly’s bar Boot & Saddle to catch one of my favorite pop-punk bands around The Copyrights open up for Masked Intruder.  I wasn’t expecting a big crowd due to the fact it’s a Sunday 21+ show, but the small room was decently filled up.  I’ll admit, I did split before Masked Intruder took the stage, but I was able to catch the opener Not Scientists.

Not Scientists:
Not-Scientists-band-2015

I never heard Frances Not Scientists before, but I was thoroughly impressed by their set.  Featuring members of bands such as Uncommonmenfrommars and No Guts No Glory, they’re relatively new, only existing for just shy of two years now.  The band seemed in pretty high spirits as they ripped through their pop-punk set, with a few stand out songs being “Leave Stickers On Our Graves” and “I Wanna Be A Spaceship”.

Even though the band mostly played pop-punk, there were definitely some hints of more experimental and indie through a few songs, which is more pronounced through their recorded work than their live show.

The Copyrights:
Copyrights

Carbondale Illinois The Copyrights have been at it for a long time now (13 years), and have a solid 6 full lengths under their belts… needless to say they’ve pretty much perfected their pop-punk sound.  Even though I’ve seen them a bunch, I haven’t had a chance to catch them since their last release of their latest LP Report.

It was clear that the majority of people in the crowd were there for Masked Intruder and didn’t know much by The Copyrights, there were still plenty of us singing along.  Keeping stage banter to a minimum, the Illinois punks fit in plenty of songs in from mostly Report and North Sentinel Island, but fit in a few from older releases too.

Always a solid set, The Copyrights are one of the best bands in pop-punk around and if they’re in you’re area, go do yourself a favor and catch them.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order):
Slider
Hard Wired
The World Is Such A Drag
Heart Of Glue
Charlie Birger Time
Trustees Of Modern Chemistry
Shit’s Fucked
Crutches
Kids Of The Blackhole
No Knocks
Keep The Change
Worn Out Passport

Mp3:
The Copyrights – Trustees Of Modern Chemistry

More:
The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
Banner Pilot – Resignation Day
The Holy Mess – Benefits Sesh

Streetlight Manifesto Live In Philadelphia (10/18/15)

streetlight

Long time no see friends!  After a busy few weeks (weddings, traveling, not getting to see Dillinger Four because of the forementioned reasons…) and a hectic weekend, I headed out to Philly’s Electric Factory on a whim this past Sunday in order to see Streetlight Manifesto.  I got there late and unfortunately missed almost all of Dan Potthast’s set except for his song about the Baltimore Ravens.

I was pretty surprised how packed the venue was for a ska show on a late Sunday night, I didn’t know people (especially younger kids) were still really into my beloved ska.  But I was surrounded by kids in pork pie hats, checkerboard patterns, and plenty of suits like it was 2001 all over again.

Now I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical about going to this show at first because the last time I saw them I didn’t have the greatest time.  Not so much because of the band themselves (although they sort of loss me after all the cover albums they released) but the show was just nothing like when I used to see them years ago since their inception.  But I decided to not be an old grumpy curmudgeon, go anyway, and just have no expectations either way.

Streetlight took the stage, and opened with “With Any Sort Of Certainty” off of their latest The Hands That Thieves and in typical Streetlight Manifesto fashion, kept stage banter to a complete minimum as they blasted out their ska ballads.  A pretty big pit opened up in the center, with plenty of people singing along and plenty of side pits opened for those of us who wanted to skank (including yours truly).

One thing that has always been true of Tomas Kalnoky and crew are that they put on an incredibly tight performance with little room for error.  They are all skilled musicians, and Tomas is one of the most skilled song writers around, and it shows through their live show.  Playing a nice mix of all three of their LPs, it was strange to see the juxtaposition of the reactions, with younger kids going nuts off their newer stuff while us older fans getting more excited for songs off Everything Goes Numb.  Definitely a fun set, I’m still store a few days later.

Setlist:
With Any Sort Of Certainty
The Three Of Us
Down, Down, Down To Mephisto’s Cafe
What A Wicked Gang Are We
Forty Days
We Will Fall Together
We Are The Few
A Better Place, A Better Time
Toe To Toe
The Hands That Thieve
If And When We Rise Again
Watch It Crash
A Moment Of Silence
A Moment Of Violence
Big Sleep

Encore:
Here’s To Life
Somewhere In The Between

MP3:
Streetlight Manifesto – Somewhere in the Between

But They Gave It To Me So I Might As Well Be Proud Of It:
Scenester 101: How to Be a 3rd Wave Ska Dork
Hub City Stompers – Life After Death
Darkbuster – 22 Songs You’ll Never Want To Hear Again
Mustard Plug – Can’t Contain It

Good Riddance, Off With Their Heads Live In Philadelphia (9/24/15)

good riddance off with their heads flier

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it down to Philly’s First Unitarian Church basement with all the shutdowns that were happening in the city for the pope.  With most of Center City having incredibly strict parking in affect, and much of our mass transit shut down (even 2 days before the pope arrived because Philly went completely nuclear over it) I decided to take the chance and head down because I sure as hell wasn’t about to miss Good Riddance and Off With Their Heads.

I got to the basement, and it was pretty under-attended for a church show, and it was clear that many others were scared off by Philly’s insane shutdowns.  No matter.  I missed Iron Chic but got there in time for Off With Their Heads.

Off With Their Heads:
OffWithTheirHeads

 

I’ve been a fan of these Minneapolis punks for some time now ever since they released “From The Bottom”, and there was a time period where they used to come around and I’d see them 3-4 times a year, I haven’t caught them in almost 2 years.

It was clear once Off With Their Heads started, the majority of fans were there for them.  Opening with “Focus On Your Own Family”, Off With Their Heads played a tight set of their gritty sing-along punk consisting mostly of songs off their latest album (ok it’s 2 years old now) HomeWith plenty of people singing along, the band ripped through their set, and after forgetting how one song goes, decided they’d take the request “Die Today” which got the biggest reaction of the night.

A solid set, and while I wish they did a few more older songs as well, it’s always good to see these guys live.  I just wish they came around more often these days.

Setlist (From what I remember):
Focus On Your Own Family
Drive
Altar Boy
Don’t Make Me Go
Come Find Me
Nightlife
Shirts
Spare Time
Seek Advice Elsewhere (I think they did this one)
Die Today
Start Walking
Clear The Air

Good Riddance:

good riddance

A lot of people split by the time Santa Cruz’s Good Riddance took the stage (their loss), leaving the church with plenty of room.  Good Riddance has been at it since 1986 before taking a 5 year hiatus in 2007 and then coming back and recording Peace In Our Time this year.

The band took the stage and opened into Ballads Of The Revolution’s “Without Anger” and didn’t really let up for the entirety of the night, leaving little time for stage banter as they cranked out songs from most of their expansive discography.  With only a few of us dancing throughout the set and singing along, it was a bit different from when I saw them last time they came around Philly but that didn’t deter Russ (who was supporting a Madonna shirt who also happened to be playing Philly) and crew as they cranked out their melodic hardcore.

Good Riddance to this day is one of the tightest live bands around, and put on an energetic performance even to a smaller crowd in a big venue (thanks pope…).  Go see Good Riddance live, they kill it.

Setlist:
Without Anger
Disputatio
Last Believer
Think Of Me
Weight Of The World
Steps
Dry Season
A Credit To His Gender
Slowly
Dylan
Yesterday’s Headlines
Half Measures
Shit Talking Capitalists
Running On Fumes
Fertile Fields
One For The Braves
Mother Superior
Take It To Heart
Libertine
Letters Home
Shadows Of Defeat
United Cigar
Heresy, Hypocrisy, And Revenge

MP3:
Good Riddance – Libertine
Off With Their Heads – Drive

More:
Good Riddance – Peace In Our Time
Off With Their Heads – Home
Off With Their Heads – Hospitals