Tag Archive for philly

The Queers, Bigwig Live In Philadelphia (12/28/15)

Growing up in New Jersey, Bigwig has always been one of my favorite bands since I was just an angst filled teen.  I thought I’d never get a chance seeing them as somehow every show they played when I was growing up, I couldn’t go to for one reason or another, and then they stopped playing shows for years.  However, this past year I’ve had a chance to see them both at NateFest and the Court Tavern and both shows were killer.  Needless to say I was pretty damned stoked to be catching them again.  The fact The Queers were also playing was an added bonus.

I got to Philly’s small dive Kung Fu Necktie right as the opener was ending and just in time for Bigwig.  The place was pretty packed as the show was completely sold out.  There was barely any room to move and the small room with the stage quickly packed out in anticipation for Bigwig.

Bigwig:

bigwig

As soon as the band took the stage, they immediately opened with Invitation To Tragedy’s “Sink Or Swim”.  With the first strike of the opening chords, while there wasn’t much room to move around a small pit opened up that really didn’t let up for most of the night.  With people piling on and singing along, these Jersey punk didn’t let up as they ripped through a solid set consisting of songs off all four of their full length albums.

Bigwig played a tight set and seemed to have a blast on stage.  Even after all these years, still one of my favorite bands around, and luckily I get to see them once again in a few months when they come around with Less Than Jake.

Setlist:
Sink Or Swim
Sore Losers
Still
Best Of Me
A War Inside
Mr. Asshole
Waste
Moosh
Friends
Flavor Ice
Numbers
Sellout
Girl In The Green Jacket
No Thought, No Spine
Counting Down

The Queers:

queers1

Next up were 80s pop-punk band The Queers.  I’ve had the chance to see The Queers a few times, and they always put on a great show.  Snotty, crude, and incredibly catchy, The Queers had a sizeable pit throughout their set and had fans from their 20s through their 50s singing along. They kept the tradition of keeping stage banter to a minimum and playing without a setlist, ripping through a shit ton of songs to the point where the crowd could barely keep up.

Highlights:
I Hate Everything
Like A Parasite
No Tit
Another Girl
Granola Head
Hi Mom It’s Me
Punk Rock Girls
Can’t Stop Farting
This Place Sucks

MP3:
The Queers – Little Rich Working Class Oi Boi
Bigwig – Mr. Asshole

The Dickies Live In Philly (12/16/15)

The Dickies KFN

I’ve been so incredibly busy with the holidays I haven’t had a chance to breathe, let alone make a post… so it’s a bit overdue, but I finally had a chance to see The Dickies here in Philly.  I got to Kung Fu Necktie right as The Dickies were setting up, and the small dive was pretty packed out with punk fans from all generations: plenty of people there who probably saw them when their first albums came out back in the 70s to people in their 20s and 30s who didn’t get to see them until later in life.

The Los Angeles punks have always been known for their fun and campy humor in their lyrics and shows.  This was evident as soon as the band came out, singer Leonard Graves Phillips was completely dressed like an elf as they opened the show with their punk cover of the christmas classic “Silent Night”.

The band continued blasting through their incredibly catchy songs without pause or break until finally taking one deep about 7 or songs deep into their setlist.  Then the band broke into their hilarious props, from bringing a sex doll on stage during “Waterslide”, having a sock puppet dog “sing” the lyrics to “Poodle Party”, or Leonard running around taping up members of the band as they’re playing, they definitely were one of the most entertaining and fun shows I’ve seen recently.

Setlist:
Silent Night
I’m OK, You’re OK
Fan Mail
(I’m Stuck In A Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota
Got It At The Store
Give It Back
Nights In White Satin
Welcome To The Diamond Mine
Golden Boys
Toxic Avengers
Waterslide
I’ve Got A Splitting Hedachi
Manny Moe And Jack
Paranoid
Mental Ward
Poodle Party
You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)
If Stuart Could Talk
Gigantor

Encore:
Rondo (The Midgets Revenge)
Rosemary
Banana Split

MP3:
The Dickies – She’s A Hunchback

The Slackers, The Snails live in Philly (12/11/15)

This past Friday, I headed to Philly’s Underground Arts in order to catch New York ska band The Slackers.  I’ve caught The Slackers a few times over the years, and one thing that always impressed me was the large and diverse crowd that always comes out to catch them, and Friday night was no different.

I walked down the steps into Underground Arts and arrived into a pretty full room decked out in holiday décor.  I got there right in the middle of openers The Snails set.

The Snails:

The snails

I’ve caught local ska band The Snails once before back in 2011 open for The Slackers, and they surprised me with their catchy, rocksteady ska sound mixed with more traditional soul and early rock and roll.  Four years later, the band still puts on an incredibly tight set, with their latest songs concentrating more on the ska/rocksteady side of things than the soul, but threw in plenty of more rock and roll songs including an energetic cover of “Woolly Bully” which had the place moving.

The Slackers:

the slackers

The Slackers took the stage promoting their upcoming album (which also was on sale at the show) simply called The Slackers.  Playing to a pretty full room, there was barely any room to skank in front of the stage, with most people opting to dance completely in the back or the sides.

The Slackers were in high holiday spirits, with vocalist/keyboardist Vic Ruggiero messing with fellow bandmates trying to kiss saxophonist “disco Dave” under a disco ball in lieu of of mistletoe, talking about the difference between Italian and Jewish households, and other quips that had both the crowd and band laughing.

As usual, The Slackers played a very solid set consisting of plenty of newer songs as well as older hits such as “Married Girl”, “Sarah”, and covers such as ska versions of “Dreidel” and “Like A Virgin”.  Always a solid set, The Slackers once again prove that even in the year 2016, ska is far from dead.

MP3:
The Slackers – Mr Tragedy

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

 

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

The Menzingers Live In Philadelphia (10/23/15)

Menzingers OX

Photo by Blake Larson

The Menzingers certainly have exploded over the years, long gone are the days of catching them in a South Philly basement as proven by the 2 night nearly sold out back to back shows they had over at Union Transfer.  I headed over to Union Transfer right after MeWithoutYou finished their set.

A decent amount of people bounced after MeWithoutYou, but plenty stuck around for the mid-tempo punk of The Menzingers.  Taking the stage and opening with “Good Times” off On The Impossible Past, the band played a tight set with minimal stage banter as they ripped through songs off mostly their OTIP and Rented World.

I was a bit worried as to how it would be seeing them behind a barricade and in such a big room, since I’m used to seeing them in smaller venues, but to my surprise they didn’t seem out of place at all.  With plenty of people singing along and decent sized pit throughout their set, it was definitely a fun show.  The new songs off Rented World translate really well live, and they threw in some older ones for us older fans.

Setlist:
Good Times
My Friend Kyle
I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore
Gates
Bad Things
Nice Things
Casey
Sunday Morning
The Talk
I Can’t Seem To Tell
Burn After Writing
Time Tables
Rodent
Who’s Your Partner
Where Your Heartache Exists
In Remission

Encore:
Ava House
Obituaries

MP3:
The Menzingers – Obituaries

More:
The Menzingers – Rented World
The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past
The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits

Official Site:
The Menzingers

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