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Brooklyn Folks Come Out in Force to Say Goodbye to Erik Petersen

The same thing that makes a memorial show for Erik Petersen in Brooklyn more intimate and beautiful than one for someone like David Bowie or Lemmy also makes it far more heartbreaking. Far be it from me to say that all those who went out to dance for the Star Man or have a Jack and Coke for Lemmy were not experiencing a personal tragedy. But most of those people never shared a moment, a conversation, or a drink with their hero.

When it came to Mischief Brew’s poetic front-man, it seemed like every punk who showed up to pay tribute to him on Sunday night had had a more personal encounter with the folk punk icon.

“I absolutely hate the reason we are all here tonight” said Brook Pridemore, the evening’s third performer just before he began his set. Then after he’d broken just about half the strings on his guitar he told a story about a time he had spent at Erik and Denise Petersen’s home in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania when he saw Erik squeeze the poop out of one of the more seasoned of the Petersen’s beloved pugs. He followed that story with a singalong rendition of “Old Tyme Mem’ry.”

Christy Road seemed to be working hard to hold it together during her set at the Erik Petersen tribute show.

Before Pridemore, Early Riser, Cristy Road, and two members of Teenage Halloween had performed short somewhat somber solo acoustic sets. During this time the crowd was rather small and subdued, and when it shouted words at the stage they were encouraging. An audience member called out “But it’s beautiful!” to Road when she pointed out a slight mistake in her rendition of Mischief Brew classic “Every Town Will Celebrate.”

At no point did the show ever feel like anything but a celebration of an inspiring man’s life, but until Pridemore, things felt a bit more like a remembrance. After he flooded the stage with his energy and anger it started to feel like a party. The crowd started forming, the mosh pit opened up, and the evening’s pent-up frustration and rage rose to the surface.

If there was one thing that Brook Pridemore had no problem doing it was showing emotion on stage.

Then Out of System Transfer took the stage, and while the Brooklynites definitely represented the more folk side of folk punk — which toward the latter part of their run Mischief Brew expressly shied away from — the people in attendance didn’t slam dance any more subtly for it. The trombone-toting four-piece played a few covers, and their lead singer waxed poetic about his and Petersen’s shared affinity for obscure folk tunes in a set that included tracks like “The Preacher and the Slave” by Joe Hill, “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt, and “Mary Ellen Carter” by Stan Rogers, a track Mischief Brew had released as a single. They also hit Mischief Brew’s “Lowly Carpenter” along with some Out of System Transfer originals.

By the time the folk punk collective Comrades took the stage the venue seemed so packed it was about to burst, and it wouldn’t have mattered whether it was the loud, angsty, and abrasive sounds of Comrades or another solo acoustic act getting on stage; the audience was ready to lose their minds. The melee ensued the moment Comrades struck their first note and the pushing and shoving didn’t end until after their last. Though Comrades didn’t play any Mischief Brew covers, their track “Give Me Coffee or Give Me Meth” is a clear homage to Mischief Brew’s “Gimme Coffee Or Death.”

It was during their set that the show really started to feel like the sort of shindig that Mischief Brew would have headlined. It felt as though at any second Erik might just come through the door from the merch booth or back from the bar after a glass of whisky.

But in the absence of ghosts, Israeli composer and musician Yula Beeri was no consolation prize. Her three-piece band was one of the most exciting and musically proficient acts of the evening; Yula spent most of their set on a stool and still managed to keep the crowd in a frenzy. She also split part of the set with World Inferno/Friendship Society frontman Jack Terricloth. They did two tracks together, one with Yula’s full band and the other a haunting rendition of “Friend to the Friendless.”

Jack Terricloth’s appearance really put the cap on a night that was already as beautiful as it could have been.

“It is one of life’s absurd jokes that I am playing a memorial for Mr. Petersen, rather than Mr. Petersen playing a memorial for me,” said Terricloth. “Comedy is part of the grieving process, take it from me,” he added before raising a toast to the fallen.

After the official performances wrapped up, Out of System Transfer led a rousing singalong of Mischief Brew songs — among others, “Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell” and “Thanks, Bastards” — before the stage was opened up to anyone who wished to jump up and sing a song in tribute to Erik Petersen.

Out of System Transfer leading rousing renditions of some of Mischief Brew’s biggest hits along with the crowd.

While fans of Petersen’s took their turn on the mic and the crowd sang along, the real sadness of the event started to take hold of many in attendance. Terricloth stood stoic in the back of the venue surveying the thinning group, while others sat down on the concrete floor.

As people stumbled over lyrics and pulled out cell phones for quick refreshers on tunes, we all realized that this was it. Denise Petersen watched the clumsy, loving efforts to keep things going for one more song. “It’s a beautiful shit-show,” she said, “like my life.”



A Memorialization for a Friend: RIP Erik Petersen

[The following is a transcript from the latest episode of Dying Scene Radio. As the title implies, it is a eulogy, of sorts, for the late Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew. You can listen to the episode that this memorialization comes from here.]

Howdy gang. It’s your favorite molotov cocktail waiter, AnarchoPunk here. By now we’re sure you’ve heard about the sudden passing of Mischief Brew’s front man, Erik Petersen. In a year where beloved artists are passing at an alarming rate and memorializations are almost as common as news about upcoming album releases, we wanted to stop and take a moment to remember the impact he had on the scene as well as his fans. As one of DyingScene’s resident folk punk aficionados, I felt obligated to weigh in on what his music meant to me.

Erik Petersen was a good friend of mine. I never actually met him, although I spent a lot of time in Philly and we were the same age and hung out with a lot of the same people. Despite never actually meeting him though, I still consider him a close friend. This sense of unearned familiarity was created by his music and the simple, heartfelt approach he took in crafting the songs. It was honest and candid, with no frills, begging people to gather around and unite for crowd sung choruses of passionate protest and camaraderie, always inclusive and welcoming. That openness, that intimacy more than anything is what made him seem more tangible than other artists.

It’s the kind of organic, unpretentious music my parents raised me on, artists like Arlo Guthrie, Cat Stevens and Phil Ochs all helped to create the blueprint years ago. But until artists like Erik and a few others started blending the two distinctive styles, punk music didn’t have anything quite as approachable or fundamental, nothing even close to what modern day folk punk has become. Erik was one of the few artists who was there through it all, one of the true pioneers that saw the genre’s raise to fruition from literally nothing, nurturing it as it gained in popularity, on it’s journey towards legitimacy.

Now, with the news of his abrupt passing we are left with a hole in our hearts but more importantly, there’s a hole left in the community. A massive empty space that will be nearly impossible to fill. Erik’s likeness would most assuredly be on the Mt Rushmore of modern folk punk next to the likes of Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace, Pat the Bunny and Jeff Rosenstock. As one of the founding fathers of the genre, his loss will be felt for a long time and will impact the maturation of the genre for years to come.

I think he would probably be uncomfortable with all of the attention and praise, so I will leave it at that and close out by quoting one his most fitting lyrics: “When the tape slows down, it means the battery’s dead. May your songs never get stuck out of my head”

Thank you for everything, Erik. I’ll see you in hell, boy.



Remembering: Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew w/ Features Writer Catherine Dempsey

Photo courtesy of Polo Itona (IG: @poloitona)

I thought I had more articles to write about Erik. I thought I had more interviews to do. I thought I had more shows to attend. More friends to make. More memories to share. More laughter. More cheer. Joy. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time. My heart is weeping.

Learning of his passing made me feel sick to my stomach. It’s going to take me a while to process it, but in the meantime, I’d like to dedicate a bit of my own words and feelings regarding Erik’s life and the legacy he’s left behind for all of us to enjoy. It may be somewhat of a ramble, but I’ll try my best.

It’s hard to talk about Erik without mentioning the fact that he was truly a great guy. He loved big. He laughed loud. He was a family man to his wife Denise and his little pugs. He was a hero to all the wayward kids that didn’t fit in and never would. He stood up for what he believed in and he always stuck by his values. Erik was the kind of guy who surpassed all clichés. He was a different breed. Irreplaceable.

There was something really special about Erik. He was humble as humble gets. He had a calming vibe about him, a feeling that’s tough to place. I’ll miss his addictive smile, his contagious laugh, and his magnetic personality. Through all my years of knowing Erik, I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me. How much his music moved me. I regret it now.

Erik and I weren’t close. We didn’t have a solid relationship outside the realm of music. But every interaction with him felt like home. He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He listened with his heart. He was unapologetically kind and gentle. Erik was a fucking rock star, but not in the dictionary definition way. He was a master songwriter who didn’t see his craft for what it was. Magic.

I was a fan first and a friend second. We kept in contact and updated each other on what we were doing. I always made a point to let him know every time I snagged a new writing gig with the intention of writing about him more in the future. Erik had a warmth to him and would congratulate me whenever I accomplished a new goal. He helped me believe in myself, whether it was through speaking to me or through his music and lyrics.

Erik’s music cut me deep. “Roll Me Through The Gates of Hell” made me feel powerful. “Bury Me In Analog” made me contemplate my life. “Love and Rage” made me want to burn shit and cry. “On The Sly” got my heart to beat twice as fast. I could go on and on about how influential his music was to my existence. I shouldn’t be writing about it in the past tense. It still fucks me up in a good way. Erik had such a strong grasp on language and expression. He was a master of melody. Absolutely unmatched.

Seeing Erik play was always a special treat for me. His shows were so energetic, and each one was drastically different from the last. He had a habit of switching up his set list as much as possible, always throwing in a surprise track here and there, while delivering a couple of crowd-pleasers. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him play, either solo or with Mischief Brew, but each time I went, Erik always took my requests. He went out of his way to make sure you were having a good time at his show.

I had the honor and the pleasure of getting to interview Erik. It’s something that I could never forget, even if I tried. It was January and cold as hell in Brooklyn. We huddled together outside the back entrance of Sunnyvale as a few snowflakes fell upon our heads. He never complained.

In the middle of our lengthy interview, my recorder stopped working. I never told him. I was too embarrassed, and I didn’t want to burden him by asking the same questions to re-record the answers. So I wrote up the interview based on my memory and the small amount of audio I managed to capture.

One thing that stuck out to me from that interview was how overwhelmed he was when he spoke about his fan base. He was awestruck that there were people on this planet who loved his music, who sang along and knew all the words to his songs. It boggled him. He was eternally grateful to have had that kind of influence on the world. I think he felt rather weird about it. Erik was chronically modest.

My respect and adoration for Erik was endless. I think he knew that. If he didn’t, I hope he knows now in some far out cosmic way. I hope he knows how loved and valued he was. How needed and admired. He was here, and now he’s gone. Let’s celebrate his life, for all he was and all he ever will be. It’s what he would have wanted.

I’m ending this off with my favorite memory with Erik. This is when he played my request, “Bury Me In Analog,” at the Grand Victory in Brooklyn last Christmas. He absolutely killed it that night. I’ll never forget this. Sorry to Erik for enthusiastically screaming the lyrics in his face. Thanks to Jeff Schaer-Moses for the footage.

The dreams of the morning
Let me not die mourning
May the devils come a’crying
Carry me away a’laughing
As we all go a’laughing to storytelling graves
E.P. 



Mischief Brew releases official statement regarding the passing of singer Erik Petersen

Philadelphia folk-punk band Mischief Brew has confirmed and released an official statement on facebook regarding the tragic loss of their frontman Erik Petersen. What exactly happened is remaining a private matter between close friends and family but the facebook post did state that the band’s upcoming European tour has, not surprisingly, been cancelled and that Erik’s label, Fistolo Records, will carry on. Read the entire statement below.

I never got to meet Erik in person but we communicated quite a number of times over the years via email. As a huge fan of his music I was always struck by how incredibly humble and kind spirited a person he was and I remember how proud I was that he was willing to contribute an unreleased Mischief Brew track to the first comp I ever put out. For some reason I never expect somebody so talented to be so kind and gracious but he was exactly that. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say he and his music will be sorely missed.

Mischief Brew last released a compilation album Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia in January through Square of Opposition Records. Their latest studio album was This Is Not For Children, which came out in June of 2015 via Alternative Tentacles.



Mischief Brew’s Erik Petersen passes away

Punknews is reporting that Erik Petersen, the frontman and founder of Philadelphia folk-punk band Mischief Brew, has passed away. The band has not released a statement regarding Petersen’s passing, but we will let you know if and when they do.

Mischief Brew was getting ready to embark on a European tour later this month, but it’s safe to assume it has been cancelled.

It goes without saying that our hearts go out to Mischief Brew. We will be keeping Erik’s friends and family in our thoughts.

Update: On July 12th, the Upper Darby Police Department’s official Twitter page reported that Petersen was missing and “may be having some emotional issues.”



Rebellion Festival 2016 (UK): Our top picks from this years lineup

Being English this summer seems to have come with a side order of cringe. Whether it’s the frankly shocking display of football in the European Championships or the political turmoil created by the Brexit debacle, there have certainly been more favourable times to be a citizen of the United Kingdom. However, the good folks behind Rebellion Festival in Blackpool are hoping to change all that (or at least provide a suitable distraction from the proverbial shit storm that appears to be brewing over the British Isles) with an absolutely stellar lineup for this year’s event.

This August will see the twentieth installment of the now legendary celebration of punk rock that graces Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom every year.

You can check out our top picks for Rebellion 2016 below.

 

 

 

 



Free Music: Mischief Brew – “Folkadelphia Session”

Folkadelphia is giving you a free download of their session with Philly folk-punk group Mischief Brew. Listen and/or download below.

The six-song acoustic set was recorded at the WXPN Performance Studio on December 20, 2015. If you’re not familiar with Folkadelphia, it’s a folk music organization and radio show, obviously in Philadelphia. Find out more here.

Mischief Brew last released a compilation album Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia in January through Square of Opposition Records.

Their latest studio album was This Is Not For Children, which came out in June of 2015 via Alternative Tentacles.



Show Review: Erik Petersen, The Best Of The Worst, Will Wood & The Tapeworms, and Teenage Halloween @ The 73 See Gallery 5.6.16 (w/ Photos)

Photo courtesy of Polo Itona (IG: @poloitona)

I avoid going to New Jersey for shows. I don’t drive, and it can be quite the hellish trek from my native city of Yonkers, New York, via the Garden State’s less-than-awesome public transportation system. It’s no secret that New Jersey has a sick music scene. When I heard about a show benefiting the BoMA in New Brunswick and aiming to raise money for the replacement of stolen gear, I quickly Googled the best route to get to the venue straight from work on a rainy Friday night. The trek was absolutely worth it.

Read the rest after the cut.



The Orphans (Pre-Mischief Brew) release and stream EP of “Lost Songs”

The Orphans, now known as Mischief Brew have dropped an EP of songs they recorded in the 90s as The Orphans. You can stream the EP below.

Mischief Brew’s last release was “Bacchanal N’ Philadelphia.” The Orphans last release was “Raise The Youth.”



Mischief Brew release music video for “Squatter Envy”

Mischief Brew have released the music video for their song  “Squatter Envy.”

You can check out the video below.

Mischief Brew released their last album “This Is Not For Children” via Alternative Tentacles last June.



Show Review & Interview: Mischief Brew @ Sunnyvale Brooklyn (1.30.16)

When you hear that Mischief Brew will perform in your town, you make sure you get your ass to that show, even if you were riding in the back of an ambulance that same morning. I spent the better part of that Saturday getting my mom to the hospital, who came down with some severe viral infection, and waiting around as doctors and nurses performed tests and ultrasounds. It didn’t stop me from seeing one of my favorite bands, and I decided I was taking up too much space in the emergency room. I knew I had to go and see Mischief Brew, just to simply get me out of those hospital blues.

You can keep reading after the cut.



Mischief Brew streaming entire new album “Baccanal ‘n’ Philadelphia”

Mischief Brew sees the release of their latest album “Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia” today through Square of Opposition Records.

The album is a compilation containing the bands earliest recordings, as well their side of the “Bellingham & Philadelphia” release and their “Bakenal” EP.

The band is now streaming the entire album, which you can listen to here.

Mischief Brew released their last album “This Is Not For Children” via Alternative Tentacles last June.



DS Staff Picks – Catherine Dempsey’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

I’m Catherine Dempsey and I’m one of the many features writers here at the good ol’ Dying Scene. You may have seen my list of Philly Bands You Need To Hear, my rants about Green Day, or you may have sent me hate mail for sharing my opinion (I’m looking at you, JungleJim4322).

If you must know, I enjoy the occasional cheesesteak, long walks through the cemetery, and pretending to be a professional publicist at all times. Regardless of our futuristic, virtual relationship together, you and I can safely agree on one thing: there were plenty of sick albums released this year. I found it hard to get this list down to ten. It took a lot of sitting and staring at the wall, contemplating what needed to be cut, which is why this is being submitted late as hell (sorry, Dave).

Here at DS, we love to look back on the records that made us laugh, cry, scream, and thrash. Whether you sat in your room alone, or danced to it live, we’re gonna talk about it. I would also like to point out that this list is in no particular order. Each record here is equally as important as the last. I look forward to your hate mail. My inbox is always open and I am always down to fight on the Internet. It’s great cardio.

You can read more below.



Mischief Brew premiere “Every Town Will Celebrate” off remastered “Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia”

Mischief Brew is getting ready to release “Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia”, a compilation release containing the bands earliest recordings, soon through Square of Opposition Records.

The album includes their side of the “Bellingham & Philadelphia” release as well as the “Bakenal” EP.

Today, the band is premiering a remastered version of “Every Town Will Celebrate” which you can listen to below.

Mischief Brew released their last album “This Is Not For Children” via Alternative Tentacles last June.



Mischief Brew announce “Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia”

Mischief Brew unveiled plans today to release “Bacchanal ‘n’ Philadelphia”, a compilation release containing the bands earliest recordings.It includes their side of the Bellingham & Philadelphia release as well as the Bakenal EP. It’s going to be out soon from Square of Opposition Records.

Mischief Brew released their last album “This Is Not For Children” via Alternative Tentacles last June