Tag Archive for philly

Token Entry Live In Philly (7/24/16)

Token Entry is one of the most influential hardcore bands that you might have never heard of.  Hailing from NYC back in the 80s, they helped shape the hardcore scene in New York, influencing bands like H2O and even giving Gorilla Biscuits (still unnamed at the time) their first gig.  Hell, even The Bouncing Souls named their record label after lead singer Timmy Chunks.

Token Entry doesn’t really play much anymore besides the very occasional reunion show (I got to see them a few years back with The Bouncing Souls), they reunited to play a benefit show up in NYC, and with pretty short notice announced a show in Philly over at Underground Arts.

I was driving back from spending a weekend in Long Island and going straight to the show, and hit a lot of traffic on my way, thinking I was going to be late to the show.  I did miss every opener unfortunately, but lucked out and got there literally 2 minutes before Token Entry started playing.

Playing the smaller, more intimate side stage, the room had a decent amount of people for a late Sunday night show and I was actually on the younger spectrum of people there at the ripe age of 31 (something that does not happen very often to me at punk/hardcore shows for me anymore…)

Opening with The Fire, Token Entry set things off as plenty of us shouted along piled on Timmy Chunks throughout the set.  Everyone seemed to be in pretty high spirits as the band ripped through their songs, playing tracks off of their first two albums Beneath The Streets and Jaybird

The band reminisced about how their first show ever was actually in Philadelphia, how they came down to support Underdog as friends and drummer Ernie was playing drums in Underdog at the time, and they played an impromptu show in the basement.   Pushing the monitors aside, Timmy jumped into the crowd and made room for people to stage dive, complaining “those were just in the way”.  While there may not have been a constant pit, there were constantly people rushing the stage.  A fun, tight set (even with the declaration of forgetting the words during Latent Images before announcing “I know this one for sure” and breaking into fan favorite Jaybird) I’m glad I finally got to see Token Entry in a smaller environment.  Shows from them are rare, but if you dig bands like Youth Of Today, Underdog, and Gorilla Biscuits, you definitely need to give Token Entry a listen.

Setlist:
The Fire
Pyscho
Bright Side
Token Entry
Latent Images
Jaybird
The Whip
Actions
Revelation
Antidote
Windows
Entities
Birthdays
The Edge

MP3:
Token Entry – Jaybird

Leftover Crack, Days N Daze Live In Philly (6/15/16)

You know what’s a beautiful thing?  The fact that it’s 2016 and Leftover Crack can still pack a show on a random Wednesday night.  A few weeks back I headed to Philly’s Underground Arts to catch the crack steady rockers, and got there about halfway through Days N Daze set.

Days N Daze:

days n daze

I’ve never seen or heard of Houston’s Days N Daze before, but armed with horns, banjos, guitars, and an array of percussion instruments, these guys and gals played a style that was reminiscent of if Stza of Leftover Crack decided to play folk punk similar to instead (seriously, the singer of Days N Daze sounds like him).

Reminding me a bit of Philly’s own Mischief Brew, Days N Daze played an energetic set with plenty of crust punks jumping around the pit, and had a decent following who showed up just for them (and hung around outside the rest of the show with their own banjos).

If you dig folk punk, give these Houston punks a listen.  Besides having a name that sounds more like it would be a Slightly Stoopid album than a folk punk band, they were really tight.

Leftover Crack:

leftovercrack

I’ve seen Leftover Crack a handful of times over the years, and have been listening to them for as long as I can remember (ok, maybe 15 years)… and it never ceases to amaze me how fun of a show they still play.

Leftover Crack took the stage and opening with “Nazi White Trash”, the place turned rowdy immediately with a circle pit opening and people furiously trying to skank.  It was a typical Leftover Crack set, with plenty of Choking Victim covers thrown in and older songs, although they did sprinkle in a few new ones as well.  I really enjoyed their latest album Constructs Of The State, and if the crowd reaction was any indication, plenty of others did as well.

Setlist (from what I remember, not in order):
Nazi White Trash
Don’t Shoot
Life Is Pain
One Dead Cop
Infested (Choking Victim)
Slave To The Throne
Bedbugs & Beyond
Gay Rude Boys Unite
Stop The Insanity
500 Channels (Choking Victim)
Jesus Has A Place For Me (Rock the 40oz)
Born To Die (Choking Victim)
Crack City Rockers
Crack Rock City (Choking Victim)
Gang Control

MP3:
Leftover Crack – Rock The 40 oz

More:
Constructs Of The State
Morning Glory – Poets Were My Heroes
Leftover Crack – Rock The 40 Oz
INDK – Kill Whitey
Star Fucking Hipsters – Never Rest In Peace

Weekend Nachos Last Philly Show (5/22/16)

I never got to see Weekend Nachos before, always out of town or busy anytime the Illinois powerviolence band came around, (even missing them at one of my old favorite houses The Golden Tea House a few years back).  When I saw that they were playing Philly First Unitarian Church, I figured I had to go, and then learning it was their final Philadelphia show since this is their final tour it pretty much made it a must.

I was driving back from a weekend in DC and was running late and hit a bunch of traffic, which sucks because I really wanted to catch local Philly openers Congenital Death and Backslider again, but I got there in time for UK’s The Afternoon Gentlemen.

The Afternoon Gentlemen:

The Afternoon gentlemen

I got to the relatively packed church basement a few songs into The Afternoon Gentlemen’s set, and while I never heard of these Leeds, UK grind dudes before, I was really digging their set.  Playing grindcore with plenty of thrashy and powerviolence influences with songs about beer, partying, and well… grind, these guys had the crowd completely going off.

Their recorded work really doesn’t do them justice, definitely a band that needs to be seen live.  Go check em out if they play near you.

Weekend Nachos:

Weekend Nachos has been at it for a long time as far as most powerviolence bands go.  Dating back to 2004, the band has toured for 12 years now and have an impressive 5 full lengths behind them along with a shit ton of EPs and splits. This was their final East Coast tour supporting their final album Apology.

I don’t know if it’s a regional thing but I know that at least in Philadelphia possibly because they’re signed to local label Relapse Records, they were a lot of younger kids first exposure to powerviolence. So needless to say, once the band took the stage the place immediately erupted into a giant pit and frenzy of stage dives.

Weekend Nachos put on an incredibly tight set, playing songs spanning from most of their discography.  While they played plenty of new songs off the latest Apology, they also threw in some off their earliest albums and EPs.

A solid set, I need to go check out Apology, the songs sounded really tight live.  They’re still playing Europe later this year along with the midwest, so if you’re in those areas, don’t sleep on this and go check them out.

Highlights:
Scab
Shot In The HeadAcceptable Violence
Snowball Fight
Jock Violence

MP3:
Weekend Nachos – You’re Not Punk

 

 

Bane’s Final Shows – Night 1 and Night 2 Live In Philly (5/6/16)

Night 1:
If you were a hardcore fan anytime during the late 90s/early 00s, you more than likely listen to Bane.  These Massachusetts hardcore dudes have been a staple for as long as I’ve been listening, and it’s with a heavy heart I walked into the sweaty sold out church basement knowing that it was their final shows.

I got to the basement a few songs into Boysetsfire’s set.  The place was incredibly packed, but I was able to make my way closer up.

Boysetsfire:

BOYSETSFIRE (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

Hailing from Newark Delaware, Boysetsfire has been one of the more influential post-hardcore bands.  Mixing a blend of emo with hardcore, Boysetsfire inspired countless east coast bands, and definitely has a solid following.

I got to the church about halfway into their set, and they had plenty of the packed basement singing along.  Of course, with it being a hardcore show, their heavier songs got a much bigger reaction with the set completely going off on closers “After The Eulogy” and “Rookies”.

Bane:

Bane (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

Maybe it was the fact that Bane was playing the following night as well, but even though this was one of Bane’s final Philly shows as an active touring band, it didn’t really feel like one of their final shows.  Taking the stage and announcing “Philadelphia, we’re Bane, let’s fucking do this” before erupting into “All The Way Through”.  The place opened up and turned into a flurry of two stepping, stage dives, with vocalist Aaron jumping into the crowd a few times.

Launching straight into arguably their biggest song “Can We Start Again”, it’s this moment that separates Bane shows from countless other shows and makes them so special.  The entire place was immediately shouting along, to the point where the band was drowned out by the singing crowd.

Bane played an incredibly solid set as usual, and all things considered, it didn’t feel like much of a goodbye show as much as a regular Bane show.  Of course, there was the thought in the back of my mind that this could very well be the last time I hear these songs live again.  An incredible show, I was lucky enough to get tickets the following night as well to their actual final Philly show as an active touring band.

Setlist:
All The Way Through
Can We Start Again
Speechless
Swan Song
Some Came Running
Final Backward Glance
Both Guns Blazing
Ali Vs. Frazier I
Post Hoc
Count Me Out
My Therapy
Calling Hours

Night 2:

I’m not going to lie, I was sore as all hell from the night before, but this was Bane’s final Philly show as a touring band so there was no way I was missing this.  I got to the church at the start of Boysetsfire set, and while still sold out, there were definitely less people the 2nd night than the first.

Boysetsfire:

Boysetsfire more or less played a similar set as the night before, but I definitely think they sounded tighter and more energetic the 2nd night.  After their opening song, they declared “Hey, if you like us we’re Boysetsfire.  If you don’t, we’re sorry… we’re kind of at fault for all those shitty sing-songy,screamy bands these days… sorry about that to all you hardcore fans.  We didn’t expect it to turn into that.  I guess we can blame Braid.”

Taking some light-hearted jabs at Bane and themselves essentially saying “Bane is on their last tour, but trust us, you should never say you’re breaking up.  Taking a break or hiatus maybe, but not breaking up.  But that’s how you make money.  Oops, did I say that out loud?”  Then had the drummer from Bane come out and do a song with them.  A solid set (again), I definitely think they were tighter the second night.

Bane:

There was a weird air about the church right before Bane’s set, and no, I’m not talking about the oh-so-lovely aroma of a bunch of sweaty punk kids crammed together in a sweltering basement.  No, there was definitely a mix of sadness and excitement in the air as Bane played their final Philly show as an active touring band.

Bane has always been one of those bands that have always been there since I’ve started listening to hardcore many years ago, and at the risk of getting all sappy, their angry yet positive message music got me through some really tough times in my life.  I know most people in that room felt the same way.

Before the band started, Joe Hardcore gave a little goodbye speech talking about how they have been a staple in the scene.  The second they started playing, I was immediately covered in silly string as the place turned into a complete party, with people throwing beach balls around and water balloons were dousing the crowd.

Bane ripped through their set, which was mostly different from the night before minus the obvious fan favorites.  The whole night was a blur and the show was over as soon as it started as they closed with “Can We Start Again”, which we chanted well after Bane left the stage.  It was the perfect two nights to end their legacy.

In a world where the fucking Misfits reunite with Danzig, I don’t think many punk bands really breakup these days.  I’m sure, or at the very least sure as hell hope that Bane will continue to play more shows in the future and do the occasional spin-off reunion show.

However, even if they reunite in the future and as excited as I will be for it, I think it will be very different than it is now.  Probably reuniting to do a few spinoff hardcore fests here or there, I doubt I’ll get to see them in the confines of a sweaty basement anymore or the dingy stages of a tiny venue.  I left the church with mixed emotions, happy I was able to be a part of this and see them both nights one final time, but with a heavy heart knowing that it was an end of an era.

Setlist (from what I remember, not in order or complete):
Superhero
Non-negotiable
Ante Up
Final Backwards Glance
My Therapy
Sunflowers and Sunsets
Can We Start Again

MP3:
Bane – Non-Negotiable
Boysetsfire – My Life In The Knife Trade

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

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

Direct Hit:

direct hit

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

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

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

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

NOFX:

Nofx

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

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

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

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

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

Setlist:
60%
72 Hookers
Perfect Government
Seeing Double At The Triple Rock
Murder The Government
Leave It Alone
Eat The Meek
Six Years On Dope
Stickin In My Eye
What’s The Matter With Parents Today?
Franco Un-American
We March To The Beat Of An Indifferent Drum
I Believe In Goddess
Moron Brothers
I’m Sorry Tony
Louise
Mattersville
Bob
Reeko

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

MP3:
NOFX – The Moron Brothers
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

PEARS, Such Gold Live In Philly (4/14/16)

A couple weeks ago, I headed out to Philly dive bar Kung Fu Necktie in order to catch one of my favorite bands around these days, New Orleans PEARS.  The place had a decently sized small crowd considering it was a Thursday night and the past few times I’ve seen PEARS it seemed most didn’t know who they were,  I got there a few songs in Such Gold’s set.

Such Gold:

such goldI haven’t really heard these Rochester, NY dudes before, but they clearly have a strong following.  It seemed more people knew who they were than PEARS, and had people dancing and singing throughout their set.

Such Gold played a style of music that any fan of the pop-punk would appreciate.  Reminding me of a mix of newer pop-punk bands such as Handguns or Transit and mixing it with more melodic hardcore like A Wilhelm Scream and Lifetime, these guys played a pretty energetic set.

I couldn’t tell you what songs they played or anything as I’m not too familar with them, but if you dig your melodic hardcore closer to the pop-punk side of the spectrum, check them out.

PEARS:
Pears

Ever since I first heard PEARS last year, I’ve played their album “Go To Prison” nonstop.  They’ve become one of my favorite bands with their energetic live shows, seamlessly blending elements of thrash, pop-punk, hardcore, and everything in between.

Touring to support their recently released sophomore album “Green Star”, (which I’ve been meaning to post a write-up about but have been busy as shit… but spoiler: I’ve been listening to it daily since it came out), PEARS took the stage and ripped into “Forever Sad”.  Energetic as always, singer Zach was all over the stage and jumping into the crowd even with his shattered hand (which he broke earlier on an Australian tour when he jump punched the floor).  With a handful of us dancing and singing along, PEARS ripped through their short set consisting of a decent mix of both albums.

One of the best bands around today in general, if PEARS comes through your area, do yourself a favor and go check them out.  Both of the albums are amazing, as is the 7-inch they have out (which consists of the original versions of Snowflake and Anhedonia) and they absolutely kill it live.

Setlist (from what i remember, not in order)
Forever Sad
Hinged By Spine
Cumshots
I Love My Kennel
You’re Boring
Breakfast
Anhedonia
Snowflake
Sycophant
Victim To Be
Green Star

MP3:
PEARS – You’re Boring

Napalm Death, The Melvins, Melt Banana Live In Philly (4/13/16)

NapalmDeathMelvinsMeltBanana

This past Wednesday, I headed to Philadelphia’s sold out Underground Arts in order to catch a stacked lineup of Melt Banana, The Melvins, and England’s Napalm Death.  Definitely a diverse lineup,tThe place was pretty packed out from the moment I arrived right as Melt Banana were setting up.

Melt Banana
melt banana

Japanese experimental noise punk band Melt Banana have easily been on of my favorite bands for many years now.  I’ve had the pleasure of catching them as a full band plenty of times in the past, and have got to see them as the two piece they are now a year ago over at Johnny Brenda’s.

I expected most people in the crowd to not care about them, considering they were the first openers and figured most people were there to catch the legendary Melvins or highly influential Napalm Death.  I was dead wrong.

Melt Banana took the stage with guitarist Agata playing an aural soundscape while vocalist Onuki hit her handheld drum pad producing coin sounds from the Mario games, before blasting into “Chain Shot To Have Some Fun”.  The place immediately erupted, with a bunch of us up front opening up a pit and us singing along.

Melt Banana kept energy levels high as they tore through their set which consisted of songs mostly from their latest Fetch, before Onuki announced they would be playing “six short songs”.

With strobe lights, a wall of sound, and their electronic-punk-grind chaos, Melt Banana remains one of the heaviest bands around and puts on a more intense, heavier show even as a two-piece than most other bands.  Easily one of the best live bands around, they definitely put on a fantastic set, with my only complaint being I wish they had more time to play.

Setlist (From what I remember, not in order):
Chain Shot To Have Some Fun
The Hive
Vertigo Game
Left Dog (Run Caper Run)
Infection Detective
6 quick songs, but the only I remember is Dog Song. May have been the quick ones on Bambi’s Dilemma.
Candy Gun

The Melvins
melvins

Washington’s The Melvins have been around for a long time, dating back from 1983, and have an extensive discography to prove it (over 20 something studio albums, and countless EPs, singles, etc).  Their punk/sludge/metal sound has influenced a number of bands, with the biggest probably being Nirvana who stated they wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for The Melvins.

Even though grunge has mostly died out, The Melvins keep cranking out albums and touring, putting on a solid live show. Plenty of their set consisted of the slower “stoner sludge”: slow tempo, low tuned guitars jams that is similar to My War era Black Flag, but they threw in plenty of their thrashier songs as well (which an ADD riddled punk fan like myself prefers).

A solid set, while my knowledge of their recorded work is a bit limited (only having a handful of albums), they definitely put on a tight, enjoyable set, and was good to see one of the more influential bands of our time live.

Setlist:
Eyes Fly
Deuce
Queen
The Kicking Machine
National Hamster
Magic Pig Detective
With Yo Heart Not Yo Hands
Leech
Frosted Flake
Sesame Street Meat
The Water Glass
Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad
The Bloated Pope
A Growing Disgust
The Decay Of Lying
Revolve
Second Coming
Halo Of Flies

Napalm Death:

Napalm Death

Speaking of influential bands, when it comes to grindcore / extreme metal, there are few bands that are as well known or was as influential as England’s Napalm Death.  With the band’s existence dating back to 1981, Napalm Death has influenced plenty of other grind bands over the years.

From the moment they started, the place erupted with stage dives and a sizeable pit as Napalm Death ripped through a set consisting heavily of songs off of their highly rated latest album “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” with a few older songs thrown in, mostly off of Scum and From Enslavement To Obliteration.

Taking some time to talk about an outsider’s perspective of our current elections and candidates, obviously incredibly critical of Trump and his proposed racist policies, Napalm Death also kept things light hearted as they joked with the crowd about Slipknot’s lasting influence of grindcore and metal.

An incredibly fun show, Napalm Death puts on a killer set.  With such a stacked lineup, you really should go check this tour out if it comes near you.

Setlist:
Apex Predator – Easy Meat
Silence Is Deafening
When All Is Said And Done
Smash A Single Digit
Timeless Flogging
Continuing War On Stupidity
Dear Slum Landlord…
Scum
Social Sterility
Deceiver
Suffer The Children
Breed To Breathe
Mentally Murdered
Hierarchies
Conform (Siege cover)
The World Keeps Turning
Lucid Fairytale
How The Years Condemn
You Suffer
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys Cover)
Adversarial/Copulating Snakes

MP3:
Melt Banana – Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold
The Melvins – A History Of Drunks
Napalm Death – Smash A Single Digit

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

Less Than Jake and Bigwig Live In Philly (3/11/16)

LTJ tour

This past Friday, I headed up to Philadelphia’s new venue, The Foundry in order to two of my all-time favorite bands: Bigwig and Less Than Jake.  I grew up listening to both of them and playing their music ad-nauseum, and the fact that Less Than Jake was playing Losing Streak in it’s entirety had me incredibly excited. It’s 2016, ska’s pretty much been on life-support, and they’re still able to sell out shows.

I got to the venue, and I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan at first.  The Foundry is the definition of a Live Nation venue: with $4 waters (and taking the cap off for insurance reasons), barricades and signs saying “No Moshing/crowd surfing/etc.”  I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  The one good thing is that they played the side venue, which is a lot smaller than the main venue over at The Fillmore Philly.  The room itself was actually pretty intimate and small, making it much more suitable for a punk show.

Bigwig:
bigwig

These NJ punks were setting up when I got there, and having seen them a few times lately, I was pretty excited to catch them once again.  Last time I caught them in Philly opening for the Queers, there was a decent amount of people who were there for them.  This time, not so much.  Besides a small handful of us, it was apparent most people had no idea who they were, but that didn’t stop a (very) few of us from shouting along and dancing throughout their set.

Bigwig killed it, playing an energetic set composed of songs off all four of their full lengths, with a lot of emphasis off An Invitation To Tragedy and Stay Asleep.  Bigwig sounded incredibly tight as usual, although a bit strange to see them behind a barricade and the lack of crowd movement (my girlfriend put it best when she said to me: “whoa, I feel safe at a Bigwig show.  This isn’t supposed to happen.”)

Regardless, a sick set as usual, hopefully they keep up the increase of shows in the Philly/Jersey area and maybe even record a new album.

Setlist: (from what I remember, not in order)
Sink Or Swim
Sore Losers
Still
A War Inside
Mr. Asshole
Moosh
Friends
Numbers
Sellout
Best Of Me
Waste
Girl In The Green JacketQueers cover
Counting Down

Less Than Jake:
lessthanjake

Less Than Jake was my favorite ska band for many years, and I can’t even begin to describe the sheer amount of hours I’ve spent over the many years riding the school bus and skating to my Losing Streak cd.  I still listen to both LTJ and ska pretty regularly, so I was beyond excited to finally catch them play the album in it’s entirety.

The band took the stage and announced how they were amazed by the fact that people still love and show so much enthusiasm for this album they wrote 20 years ago.  The speakers boomed the all too familiar intro: “This is the old dude, Howie J. Reynolds, and you’re listening to Less Than Jake.”  The place was suddenly pandemonium as a pit opened up with people pushing, trying to skank and all around just having a good time to the opening chords and horns of “Automatic”.

The band ripped through Losing Streak, taking the occasional break to talk to the crowd about some of the history of the songs (and thank god, we’re all old now, this skanking/dancing shit isn’t as easy as it was 13 years ago).  At one point the band was talking about how no one liked the next song, but they have to play it because it’s on the album… and of course it’s one of my favorites “Ask The Magic 8 Ball”, which I realize was probably my only opportunity to ever hear that song live.

Before I knew it, they were playing “Lockdown”, the closing song off one of the essential soundtracks of my youth, and it was over almost as soon as it began as they left the stage.  When they came out to crowd demand of an encore, they started playing songs off their newer albums(read: anything after Hello Rockview), and while I really love some of them, I burned all the energy I had during Losing Streak.  A fantastic show, even though I was filled with a bittersweet feeling of both excitement from seeing it and sadness that I may never get to see them do the majority of those songs live again.  But this is a ska post, so I’ll stop getting all emo on you… besides I’m hopeful they’ll do Pezcore in it’s entirety near me one day.

Unfortunately their show the next night of Hello Rockview sold out before I was able to get tickets, but I heard that was insane as well.  If they’re doing these shows near you and you ever were a fan of LTJ, definitely go, you won’t be disappointed.

Setlist:
Automatic
Happy Man
9th and Pine
Sugar In Your Gas Tank
Shindo107
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts
Krazy Glue
Never Going Back To New Jersey
How’s My Driving Doug Hastings
Just Like Frank
Ask The Magic 8 Ball
Dopeman
Jen Doesn’t Like Me Anymore
Rock-N-Roll Pizzeria
Lockdown

Encore:
Good Enough
Look What Happened
Suburban Myth
Give Me Something To Believe In
The Ghosts Of Me And You

MP3:
Less Than Jake – My Very Own Flag

More:
How to be a 3rd wave ska dork
Less Than Jake – Greetings And Salutations 
Less Than Jake – Pesto EP
Less Than Jake – Pezcore

 

American Nightmare Live In Philly (3/4/15)

American Nightmare

Boston’s American Nightmare have been one of my favorite hardcore bands since I was an angsty 18 year old in 2003, and I find myself listening to their albums and EPs pretty regularly even 13 years later as an angsty 30 year old.  Their music got me through a lot of shit, and the first time I saw them over a decade ago with Hope Conspiracy still remains one of my most memorable show experiences ever.  On a cool Friday night, I headed to Philly’s sold out Underground Arts right as American Nightmare was setting up.

The place was pretty packed, but there was a surprising amount of room for a sold out show.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect: I’ll be honest, as much as I love American Nightmare, the past few times I’ve seen them in bigger venues have been a bit strange feeling, with Wes having a hard time hitting the screams and the overproduction feel of the venue.  Well let me just say that this was without a doubt the best AN performance I’ve seen since I went to their reunion show up in Boston a few years back.

The band took the stage and opened with “AM/PM” which had us opening a pit and immediately piling on.  Ripping into “Hearts” without skipping a beat, Wes and crew were on point playing a tight, fast paced show with barely any time to breath as they shredded through their set.  Playing a majority of songs off of both Background Music and Year One, it felt right to have them in a smaller venue again (while I’ve had fun in the past seeing them in NYC at Webster Hall, it always felt a little bit…off.)

Setlist:
AM/PM
Hearts
Love American
(We Are)
Please Die
Fuck What Fireworks Stand For
Shoplifting In A Ghost Town
I Saved Latin
Calculation Nation
Protest Song #00
I’ve Shared Your Lips And Now They Sicken Me
Postmark My Compass
Your Arsonist
Farewell
There’s A Black Hole In The Shadow Of The Pru

Encore: (I think they did Crime Scene, but I don’t really remember)

MP3:
American Nightmare – The Ice Age Is Coming!

I Drew A Heart Around The Name Of Your City:
American Nightmare – Year One
American Nightmare – Background Music
Scenester 101: How To Be An Old School Hardcore Kid In 10 Easy Steps!