Search Results for "The Menzingers"

DS Photo Gallery: Riot Fest Chicago – Day 3 (Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, The Flatliners, The Menzingers and more)

The weekend of September 15-17 saw the annual return of Riot Fest. Riot Fest 2017 was held for the 12th consecutive year in Chicago and for the third consecutive year in Douglas Park. Once again, Riot Fest saw an eclectic crowd turn out, including multiple generations of families. You can check out our coverage of day one here and our shots from day two here, but we, like Riot Fest organizers this year, certainly saved the best for last. 

While last year’s Riot Fest included a Danzig-led Misfits reunion that was noteworthy in its own right, this year’s headline reunion band felt somewhat bigger and more important in a lot of ways. There’s a giant faction of the punk rock scene that’s effectively been the House That Jawbreaker built, and that was certainly reflected in this particular day’s lineup. There’s a direct sonic and stylistic connection from newly-reformed trio, playing only their third show in over two decades, to bands like Hot Water Music to more recent torch-bearers like The Flatliners and The Menzingers. All of the above were on display on a hot and sweaty third-and-final day of Riot Fest 2017, marking a notable past, present and future that seemed to find each generation drawing inspiration from the others.

But wait, there was plenty of other punk rock history to go around! GWAR have kept on keeping on following the death of frontmonster Dave Brockie a few years ago, and have been Riot Fest regulars for years. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones made another stop on their Let’s Face It 20-year celebration shows that’ll wind down with this year’s Hometown Throwdown around Christmastime. Pennywise, who will be celebrating their thirtieth birthday as a band next year, played one of the weekend’s best-received sets. Check out our full photo rundown below!



Punks in Vegas release ‘Vegas Strong’ charity compilation for UMC Foundation (The Menzingers, Mercy Music, Direct Hit)

Vegas StrongOur friends at Punks in Vegas have put together a charity compilation for the UMC Foundation. They are Las Vegas’ only Level 1 trauma center and they don’t turn anybody away. The compilation features tracks by The Menzingers, Mercy Music, Direct Hit and more.

You can listen to and download Vegas Strong: A Benefit from Punks in Vegas below.



The Menzingers are the latest guests on Mike Herrera’s podcast

The Menzingers are the latest guests on the Mike Herrera Hour podcast. The MxPx man chats to Tom May and Joe Godino from the band on episode 220 of the show. 

You can listen to this episode – and the entire back catalogue of shows – on Mike Herrera’s website.



DS Photo Gallery: The Bouncing Souls’ Stoked for the Summer (w/ Lucero, The Menzingers and more)

As has become an trend among long-running bands who’ve developed a particular affinity for their respective hometowns, groundbreaking New Jersey punks band The Bouncing Souls threw the latest installment in their “Stoked For The Summer” concert events last Friday at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and it may well have been the best of the bunch.

“Stoked For The Summer” technically takes place at the Stone Pony’s Summer Stage, the asphalt lot immediately adjacent to the legendary venue that turns into a 3000-capacity outdoor beachfront venue once the weather turns warm enough to allow. If there’s an idyllic setting for an outdoor summer punk rock throwdown, it may well be this one. But I digress.

For late August, the weather could not have been better; a warm-but-not-hot, sunny-but-not-overpowering. Timeshares kicked off the festivities in the late-afternoon with the venue still filling in with revelers who were able to pull themselves away from the picturesque setting of the beachfront boardwalk just steps away. The three-piece NY band (playing as a four-piece with the addition of Max Stern on guitar) kicked things off in good form, their uptempo half-hour set going over quite well with the Souls’ hometown crowd. Of particular note: the played played a couple of songs from their still-unannounced but nevertheless upcoming full-length that, if these tracks are any indication, promises to be a banger later this year.

Boston’s Mickey Rickshaw followed and kept the energy level high. We’ve seen the eight-piece Celtic punk swashbuckling crew on some of the smaller stages in the greater Boston area in the past, so it was fun to not only see them take over a massive outdoor stage, but to win over a sold-out crowd of out-of-towners in the process. If you haven’t jumped on their latest, vastly under-rated album yet (last year’s Behind The Eight Ball), you really should stop wasting your time. Check out video of the band’s Stoked For The Summer performance of the track “Not My Problem Now” here.

The Menzingers, who have pretty much retaken their claim as the “it” band of our scene again with the release of this year’s stellar full-length After The Party, occupied the third slot on the bill, taking the stage in the very early evening.  the four-piece from just down the I-95 corridor in Philadelphia could very well have headlined and sold out the venue on their own, lending credence to the strength of the event’s lineup. Their eagerly-anticipated twelve-song set kicked off with After The Party‘s opening track, “Telling Lies,” and had the crowd well whipped-up from the opening notes, inspiring the first member of what would turn out to be an at-times seemingly endless parade of crowd surfers. The bulk of the remainder of the set was a veritable sing-along, and included such crowd favorites as “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore,” “The Obituaries,” the Stone Pony-referencing “Your Wild Years” and set closer “Lookers.”

Lucero occupied the bill’s penultimate spot, hitting the stage as the last remaining vestiges of daylight were taking their leave. As has been the custom in recent years, the band split their set in half, leading off with a handful of acoustic tracks before kicking things up a notch as the set went on. “Texas & Tennessee,” which we’ve established on these pages in previous show reviews is one of the two or three saddest songs in a catalog chock full of sad songs, may be a curious choice for a song to kick off a set for an out of town band opening for a legendary punk rock act in their hometown, but this is Lucero we’re talking about —  one of the hardest working, genre-eschewing bands in the game with a penchant for keeping things, shall we say, interesting — so of course the song turned into a singalong. The set was a little bit close-to-the-vest in some regards; fans hoping for either obscure, rarely-played older tracks or hints as to what is to come on their upcoming full-length would have to wait. Still, Ben Nichols and company were in fine form, with lead guitarist Brian Venable adopting a Willie Nelson sort of visual vibe and bassist John Stubblefield adopting a sort of stone-cold, baddest mofo in the venue sort of visual vibe (seriously, check those shoes in the picture below – and he didn’t even get “seasick”). We’ve yet to see keyboardist/accordion player Rick Steff play a set that he didn’t seemingly enjoy the hell out of, and drummer Roy Berry somehow keeping the whole impromptu set anchored and heading in the same direction. Particular highlights included “Chain Link Fence,” “Tears Don’t Matter Much,” and Nichols’ a capella lullaby rendition of the title track from his Last Pale Light In The West solo EP.

A show that included only Timeshares, Mickey Rickshaw, The Menzingers and Lucero would have been quite a party in and of itself, but this was unmistakably, without question, The Bouncing Souls’ night. Hometown shows for legendary, beloved bands have a bit of a homecoming, high school reunion type of vibe to them, and even though yours truly traveled down from Boston (sadly not with Mickey or the Rickshaws) for the occasion, there was still very much the overwhelming sense that we were among friends and family (and not just because my wife and our daughter came along for the festivities). The band took to the stage surrounded by their own literal families en masse, teasing the first few notes of “Ole” before diving headlong into crowd-favorite “Hopeless Romantic.” From their followed nearly two dozen of the band’s most beloved tracks: “The Gold Song,” “That Song,” “East Coast! Fuck You!,” the ode to their long-time manager/den mother Katie Hiltz “Kate Is Great,” “Satellite,” “Manthem,” “Anchors Aweigh,” and on and on into the evening. They also played a rousing cover of the Avail classic “Simple Song,” an ode to their Chunksaah label brother Tim Barry whose own newest album is due out on that very label next week.

When Dying Scene caught the Souls in Boston in their opening slot at Frank turner’s show at the Agganis Arena, we noted how the band sounded tight but the sound seemed to get swallowed up in the cavernous environs. Yet on this late summer night, the high energy performance from the band and the crowd alike was more than enough to fill a setting that was bound in only by the horizon line. The obvious mutual reverence that the four-piece — founding trio Greg Attonito (vocals), Bryan Kienlen (bass) and Pete Steinkopf (guitar) now being anchored by Hot Water Music’s George Rebelo who seems like he’s been with them on drums forever now — have for each other and for their fans meant the gave the entire evening a positive, celebratory vibe that had people watching and dancing along from nearby rooftop and patio bars for blocks in either directions. A happy and well-deserved celebration of one of our scene’s — and New Jersey’s — beloved bands of brothers. Check out our full photo gallery below!



Show Review: The Menzingers, Laura Stevenson, The Split Seconds, and Kyle Trocolla (8/26/17 – NY)

The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie NY is a beautiful old theater from the 1920’s with old plaster moldings on the ceiling and art deco Egyptian friezes that stare down at you from high above the stage. It’s probably the largest venue of its kind between New York City and Albany, and over the years I have seen so many great bands there to include but not limited to Social Distortion, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Bouncing Souls and dozens of others. In my opinion The Chance does not book enough good or interesting shows as they tend to opt toward Cover and “Tribute” bands and old dinosaurs who are well past their prime attracting show goers who often are also well past their prime.

But this weekend the Mid-Hudson area of NY was treated to a near perfect lineup of young up and coming bands by The Chance that was in general not just a breath of fresh air for the venue but for me as an avid show goer in general, because it seems that even at the hottest live music venues in the northeast rarely do you find a perfect lineup where you don’t have to suffer through a talentless filler band or two to enjoy some top notch entertainment.

This night was as close to magic to me as if I had put together a dream team of bands I’d like to have in some sort of fantasy pick your favorites game, but I never would have put all of this together simply because I don’t know if I would have thought to build a show this way so let me thank whoever it was that made this happen.
The show opened with Kyle Trocolla of Two Fisted Law doing his acoustic stuff from his solo album The Stranger . Kyle stood alone on the large stage of The Chance and hammered out about ten songs or so telling stories of life, love and life on the road that brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat, and had the entire crowd cheering and screaming in praise of his set which is quite an achievement when you have 3 bands to go before the headliner everyone came to see… If you’re not already familiar with Kyle and you like Tim Barry and Chuck Regan check him out I believe he is every bit as good as those two are and you will be sure to feel the same.

Next up were new comers to the scene; The Split Seconds from Washington DC. Unfortunately for them being the first electric act on stage the sound guys had to work out the kinks and some feedback issues during their first three songs, but once that was cleared up all I have to say is wow. The Split Seconds brought the energy and brought the fun to this show, my friends and I were all blown away with their tightness and their songs, this band has a solid old school punk sound and feel that is hard for me to put my finger on exactly, so maybe we’ll just take a blender and mix up some of what you like from the late 70’s scenes in New York and London and drop a heavy dose of California 90’s pop punk with a dash or two of classic DC Dischord Records and there you have a recipe for success. This band is one to watch out for and I am so glad I caught this set.

After being so very satisfied by The Split Seconds I was equally satisfied by another new act for me Laura Stevenson. Laura Stevenson of Bomb The Music Industry also does solo work, and on this night played with a full band. I am sorry to say although I am familiar with Laura I don’t know her music and have never seen her live so here I will officially slap myself on the wrist and now announce myself as a convert to the Laura Stevenson cause, she along with her band were great, absolutely great, a little less singer songwriter than the preconceived notions I had in my head, and I would say her style was more of a power pop than an indie or punky sound but who cares what we call it, their performance was stellar and I hope they return to the Hudson Valley soon.

Now without further ado the band we all came to see The Menzingers took the stage, with wild chants and screams from the crowd they just laid into song after song both old and new, getting the crowd more worked up with each song and sing along chorus they played, the pit was packed with fans pumping their fists and singing so loud they often drown out the sound system itself, the positivity and love between the band and the fans was palpable…I have seen The Menzingers three times now, the first two as support for larger touring bands so this was the first time I had seen them headline a show of this size in a room this size and they proved to all in attendance that yes The Menzingers have arrived, and are a headlining act to be recognized. With a combination of fierceness and grace they ended their set and thanked the fans, the venue, and the opening acts before leaving the stage only to return with a couple more songs to appease the crowd chanting for more more more.

This was, if not the perfect show, as close to perfect as it gets, each and every band fit the bill perfectly and each and every band delivered stellar performances, I would return to see this same show for multiple dates if it were possible. Thank you Kyle Trocolla, thank you The Split Seconds, Laura Stevenson, and Thank you The Menzingers for a night I will remember and sing the praises of for weeks, month’s maybe years to come.



The Menzingers announce 2018 UK tour with PUP and Cayetana

Epitaph band The Menzingers have announced their intentions to tour the UK in 2018. They’ll be joined on the road by PUP and Cayetana, hitting up six dates across England, Ireland and Scotland. You can take a look at the run below.

The Menzingers latest release was After Party which came out earlier this year.



The Menzingers announce North American tour dates

The Menzingers have announced they will be touring North America from early September through mid-October. Check out the tour dates below to see if there’s a show near you.

The band’s latest album After the Party was released in 2016 through Epitaph Records.



Pre-fest and Day One: Punk Rock Bowling 2017

The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound.

“A Horse With No Name,” America

Last year, I was a novice. I didn’t understand what Punk Rock Bowling would ask of me. This isn’t just another three day festival– it’s a party. It’s an excuse to get together with your punk friends, old and new. There’s beers, there’s all your favorite bands, and then there’s a couple thousand punks to see you through it. Punk Rock Bowling is a party that rages across Memorial Day Weekend, and having been broken-in last year, I finally understood.

You have to know the basics. Vegas is a city built in a desert– you’re gonna be hot. Vegas is dry, because it’s built in a desert– drink water. Vegas is at its hottest when the festival starts– wear shorts. There’s also the issue of scheduling. Last year, I went all in and went to more club shows than I cared to see. There were too many nights of me nodding along to bands I only kinda-sorta liked and then yawning my way out the door. This year, I knew what it was gonna take. When Punk Rock Bowling is laid out before you, there is enough to do without adding to it. I picked two club shows, ones of bands I loved, and then I stuck to that. This is my vacation after all, and I took it on my own terms– with that new level of focus and experience, I was ready to tackle the behemoth that is the 19th Annual Punk Rock Bowling, and I’m happy to say I had a blast.

The basics of the festival are simple. Three days of bands at the main festival, culminating in a big headlining act each night. After the festival, but often times with a fair amount of overlap (this is one of the more unfortunate things about the festival– if you want to see the openers at your club shows, you generally have to leave a song or two into the festival headliner) there are club shows featuring stacked and varied lineups. Street punk, skate punk, acoustic, hardcore, classic, sad melodic stuff– it’s all there in walking distance from Fremont Street. Which is, I would say, the festival’s greatest coup, eliminating the need of DDs or even really any sense of vehicular self preservation. It’s all right there.

Besides the festival and club shows, there were also pool parties with stellar lineups in their own right, flash tattoos from Bouncing Soul Bryan Kienlen, a comedy show sponsored by The Hard Times, punk documentary screenings, and of course, everything else Las Vegas has to offer on its own. You get the idea. Punk Rock Bowling isn’t just catching a show or two– it’s a 24-hour, three-day job, where the workforce is tattooed and hellbent on fun.

I arrived to Vegas two days early, so I had plenty of time to settle in. My first PRB extracurricular was the aforementioned comedy show. It took place at the Gold Nugget with a lineup of punk comics, headlined by Sideonedummy founder Joe Sib. We all filtered in, not sure what we were in for, and as one would imagine, the front seats were the last to be taken. Goodrich Gevaart, Hard Times writer and comedian, encouraged folks to take the front seats, promising that “it wasn’t that sort of show,” and that no one would fuck with them “in a way that wasn’t fun.” I’d never seen any live stand-up before, but I’d watched a fair amount from the comfort of my home. I was happy to say that all the comedians present were hilarious, poking good natured fun at the punks and themselves, sharing stories about their punk past. My favorite bit was when John Michael Bond brought an audience member on stage to play the game Sad Man or Bad Man, where we had to guess whether the lyrics on the screen were those of a pop punk band or a mass murderer. Good times were had by all. I hope this is a tradition continued by next year’s Punk Rock Bowling.

The stand up ended just in time to start another bar tab and then head off to the first show of the weekend, a set of acoustic performances by Off With Their Heads, Brendan Kelly, Steve Soto (of the Adolescents), and locals No Red Alice. The Beauty Bar is one of my favorite venues in Vegas, and usually has the best deals in town ($6 PBR and a shot is the equivalent of holding up a liquor store in other cities– straight up robbery). It’s a smaller space with an outdoor stage, but intimate, and therefore perfect for the sort of show this was going to be.

No Red Alice started the show with a pretty breezy set with lots of asides and jokes. At a couple points the vocalist even started strumming and singing Off With Their Heads’ “Clear the Air.” They played some acoustic punk that reminded me of Chuck Ragan’s more punk-driven solo stuff. I was nervous for Steve Soto, as the last time I saw an old school punk-rocker-gone-solo was in a similar setting last year didn’t go nearly as well (looking at you, belligerent Grant Hart). Soto was humble and a pro, playing countrified acoustic songs with writing chops to spare. He gave the audience fair warning that he wasn’t going to do any Adolescents’ songs, because, “they’d sound like shit” on acoustic. Brendan Kelly came up next and played a pretty straightforward set of mostly Lawrence Arms songs. I was joined by Dying Scene head honcho Dave Buck around this time (who, in infinite kindness and wisdom, made sure I kept a drink in my hand for the rest of my night). Dave’s a big fan of Brendan Kelly’s solo stuff, and was disappointed by the lack of I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever tunes, as for me, I’m always good with some Larry Arms. Off With Their Heads ended the night with a set of tunes that translated a lot better to the acoustic setting than I would’ve thought. Folks were screaming along and holding beers to the night sky. All in all, a pretty great way to end the night.

The next day, we woke up, probably way too early and wandered around Fremont for a while, drinking beers, meeting people, and getting stoked for the fest. It stands to say, that a couple things did change this year at PRB. The location was moved, and with that comes some good and some bad. Maybe this was the new venues fault, or just general disorganization, but the press and VIP folks had a helluva time getting in the first day. So long was the wait, in fact, that we missed the entirety of New Trends and part of Mobina Galore. When I did get in though, I went straight to the stage to see the latter in action. Of all the early openers I saw in Vegas that weekend, Mobina Galore stands as the best. They sounded loud and full for a two-piece, with gravel-throated vocals and hearty melodies. It’s like a stripped down version of the Reinventing Axl Rose version of Against Me!, and for me, they were easily one of the highlights of the fest.

Drug Church were one of the few post-hardcore acts of the fest, and as expected, provided a different feel from the rest of the lineup. This is the sort of stuff that goes with cold winters and black T-shirts, and accordingly, it felt a little dissonant for a sunny afternoon in Vegas. Still, I was impressed with their composition as well as their intensity. The other band who could perhaps lay claim to a similar genre was Plague Vendor, who played next. The crowd grew substantially for the Epitaph post/garage/psych band, and they threw down a set of performances that were a little bit Iggy and a little bit At the Drive-In. At this point in the day, the stage was christened with a thrown bra, and I got to roll my eyes as singer Brandon Blaine located the admirer and asked her to prove it was hers. It was a kind of dumb, rockstar misstep in banter that marred an otherwise good set.

I’d never seen the Interrupters before, but man, they were one of the other biggest surprises of Day One. I’m not a huge ska guy, but I was humming along and smiling throughout their set. They brought a lot of fun to the festival and I could tell a large part of the attendees were smitten by their upbeat ska-punk tunes. Their cover of “Sound System” by Operation Ivy was a huge hit, and probably the best version of it I’ve heard aside from the original. The Spits played next, and were fine, but not really my taste. Just some pretty solid, three-chord punk rock in the vein of the Ramones.

OFF! was the next band on the Day One lineup that I wanted to see. I’d seen them before, and I’d see them again. There’s something about OFF!’s unhinged throwback hardcore. It’s music from another time, performed by one of its originators, given new life with the help of a new generation. Keith Morris is as vital as ever on stage, going off about politics (as one could guess, a post-Trump PRB is going to have a fair amount of politics, a theme that would run through every day of the festival), moving across the stage like a caged animal, spitting words like poison seeds. This is also a good point to mention that one of the upgrades in the new festival grounds were two large screens where folks who weren’t up close could see the action in crystal-clear high definition– although the venue seemed lackadaisical about making sure it was showing what was going on on stage for the entire set, rather than show sponsor commercials, or even more dull, the Punk Rock Bowling logo on a black screen.

I won’t bury the lead here. There were a lot of punks who were there to see Iggy, and probably a lot more who wanted to see Discharge, Pennywise, Cock Sparrer, The Dickies, The Adicts, Fidlar, and a lot of others throughout the weekend, but for me, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes were my most anticipated act. Yeah, it’s true: I have a soft spot for oldies and Fat Wreck– if you grew up with NOFX and parents with a radio, you probably do too. They didn’t disappoint in the least. Singer Spike Slawson oozed greasy charisma as he crooned out pop standards, introducing many with an obligatory, “This next one’s a cover.” As I was watching them play, I could only think that if any band represented Vegas, it was them. They were as happily gauche as neon, slots, and floral prints and a lot more entertaining.

Iggy Pop was up next, but I had places to go. Yep, that’s right, club show. I stayed through the first couple of songs, and as soon as the Godfather came on stage, hordes rushed up toward the stage, going crazy for “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Passenger.” I got to see a little glimpse of that famous stage presence before I left, but alas, I had to bounce. Iggy Pop is cool and all, but I didn’t grow up with him and I’ve never been much for my hobbies becoming obligations. There were tons of punks going wild for him though, so I didn’t feel too bad leaving him to his fans. That’s part of PRB, you gotta do it on your own terms.

What I left for were two of my favorite bands playing on the same ticket. It was Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Toys That Kill, The Lawrence Arms, and the Menzingers. Stacked lineup. I left Iggy in time to see about half of Bad Cop/ Bad Cop’s set. Their harmonies were tight and they played some songs off their upcoming album, including “Amputations.” New songs are usually a bit of a hard sell in the live setting, but from what I heard at the show, Warriors is gonna be a killer album.

The Bunkhouse is set up uniquely, it’s an outdoor venue (mostly)– similar to the Beauty Bar– but much larger. It’s a big dirt lot with an outdoor bar and a dead pickup in the middle for our most brazen to sit. Connected to it is a small indoor venue. They did a pretty cool thing at this show, by alternating the opening bands playing inside and outside, to make set-up easier and keep things moving along. So, Toys That Kill played next in the indoor venue, and I listened and nodded along from outside with a PBR. I’m honestly not that familiar with the band, despite seeing them before, so I used that time to chat with my other Dying Scene peeps about the events of the day.

The last time I saw the Ramblin’ Boys was a brief encore in Portland, where the Falcon went into the crowd as a conga line and came back as the Lawrence Arms. So, technically, I only saw them for two songs. Seeing them for a full set was one of my white whales. We all have bands we want to mark off our bucket list– The Lawrence Arms are one of mine. They came on with all the bravado and swagger inherent in their reputation, promising to “rock the dicks off” everyone who came before them. They played a lot of tracks off Oh Calcutta!, including my absolute favorite, “Recovering the Opposable Thumb,” and ending with “Are you there Margaret? It’s Me, God.”  It was an awesome set with a whole lot of energy, but as great as it was, The Lawrence Arms were only my second favorite band playing that show. The next was going to be something.

I’m a pretty reserved guy most of the time. Sometimes I’m in the pit, but most of the time I’m sipping a beer and singing along in the back. I don’t mind. The days of feeling guilty if I don’t knock elbows during my favorite song are long behind me. I’m there to listen and hang. All of that nonchalance leaves when I see the Menzingers. My favorite bands come and go, but the Menzingers are one of those that I couldn’t shake if I tried. Chamberlain Waits, On the Impossible Past, and their most recent, After the Party will be spinning for a long time coming for me. Some bands write the score to your life, the Menzingers are my Hans Zimmer. So, I went nuts. I was screaming along, I was hugging new friends, we were closing our eyes and beating our chests, howling out slice-of-life vignettes that have been internalized to a heartbeat. The Menzingers played a fantastic mix of old and new, opening with “Tellin’ Lies” and ending with “In Remission.” One of the biggest surprises of the set was a Rancid cover. They rocked “Roots Radical” and we rocked with them, the booze and the fervor even encouraging my usually reserved self to start a circle of drunken skankers.

Day One ended with a big bang, and our lives were started anew in a baptism of nebulas and catharsis, reborn and re-energized– blah, blah, blah. We were tired. We slept and we rested up for the insanity that would be Day Two.

Check out the gallery below and stay tuned for our follow-up articles detailing the continued debauchery that is Punk Rock Bowling!



DS Photo Gallery: The Menzingers, Jeff Rosenstock and Rozwell Kid, Boston, MA

If you somehow waited until 2017 to cross “The Menzingers” off your own personal “bands I haven’t seen yet” list, you find yourself in what is, in all likelihood, a bit of a timely, fortunate place. The four-piece Pennsylvania-based punks recently released their fifth — and best — album, After The Party (February 3rd, Epitaph Records) and wrapped up the first of what will undoubtedly be many month-long runs in support of the album. The penultimate date on said tour took place at Boston’s Royale nightclub. Not only was the show at the 1000-capacity venue sold out well it advance, it marked one of roughly a dozen sold-out shows on the jaunt (including a night at the 2500-capacity Fillmore in their home town of Philadelphia). The band have long been critical darlings, and if this particular night was any indication, the band’s increasing — and intensely rabid — fan base will have the quartet’s trajectory continuing to trend exponentially higher and higher.

Upon taking the stage for their headlining spot promptly at 8:30pm (the venue turns into a dance club on Saturday nights, making for an interesting crossover of patrons that perhaps I’ll expound upon some other time but to paint a small picture, just know that there was a guy in a full-sized, furry grey mouse costume waiting to get in as the Menzos show let out), the band ripped into After The Party‘s opening track, “Tellin’ Lies,” and it’s quintessential show-opening guitar riff, dripping with stadium rock swagger. Larger venues like Royale can be a little impersonal and, frankly, awkwardly sterile locales to host punk shows, but that was not the case right from the word “go” on this night. The Menzingers have long had a “home away from home” sort of symbiotic connection with Boston punk community (an idea denoted more than once in the band’s lyrical content over the years), and the band and crowd combined to make a theater feel as intense and intimate as a sweaty basement thanks in part to the seemingly endless barrage of crowd surfers throughout the duration of the 90-ish minute singalong set.

The effectively inimitable Jeff Rosenstock provided direct support on this night, as he did for the duration of the tour. Still touring in support of his stellar full-length album WORRY. (released October 14th on SideOneDummy), Rosenstock has amassed almost as rabid and devout a fanbase as The Menzingers, as his own full-band fourteen song set was also a raucous singalong from start-to-finish, just on a slightly smaller scale. The punk scene is full of enigmatic performers, of course, and the somewhat physically unassuming Rosenstock ranks in the upper echelon of those who seem to genuinely…and generally…REALLY enjoy the hell out of playing and performing in front of an audience night in and night out. Case in point: Rosenstock’s set concluded with an extended version of “You, In Weird Cities” that found the frontman trading his guitar for a saxophone (that had previously been manned by  criminally talented touring multi-instrumentalist Dan Potthast), making his way to the back of the venue and assuming a perch atop a table to play along to the song’s singalong outro.

Opening duties were handled by West Virginia’s Rozwell Kid, a high-energy four-piece who, like Rosenstock after them, are a bit difficult to pigeon-hole into a singular genre or subgenre or whatever we’re calling them now, but they’re somewhere in the area of power pop/indie noise with more than a little bit of 70’s rock back-bending, don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously swagger thrown in the mix for good measure. The band have got a full-length, Precious Art, that’s due out June 23rd on SideOneDummy, and is sure to be one of the catchier releases of the summer; put it on your list.

Check out our full photo gallery below.



The Menzingers debut new video for ‘After The Party’

Absolute lookers The Menzingers premiered a new video for their song ‘After The Party’. It’s of course the title track from the bands’ latest album (which we absolutely loved). Head down below to watch the video.

The Menzingers are currently on tour in the States in support of After the Party, with Jeff Rosenstock and Rozwell Kid. They’ll be heading out to Europe and UK with The Flatliners and The Dirty Nil later this spring.



Album Review: The Menzingers – ‘After the Party’

Is there ever a better time in a person’s life than their 20’s? Depending on what path your life takes, probably not. For many young people, particularly those who went to college straight out of high school, being a twenty-something is the first time they get to experience any real freedom. Sure, things aren’t exactly the greatest right now- everyone is in debt up to their necks, the job market doesn’t show any visible signs of getting better, and the rent, as always, is too damn high. But at the same time, these are problems that should work themselves out when you’re older. For now, it’s time to live it up and party.  

So, then, what do you do once you hit the big 3-0? As it turns out, exiting your twenties doesn’t automatically make you an adult and there’s always more growing up to do. Questioning your life’s turns or trying to make life meaningful have always been good fodder for artists, but for those of us who grew up in the late 90’s and early aughts, we not only have to find our place in the world, we have to find our place in a world that doesn’t have room for us.

This brings us to the main thesis of The Menzingers’ fifth studio album, After the Party: “Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?” The question burns through the album’s first track, the Jeff Rosenstock-esque ripper “Tellin’ Lies,” though the sentiment is repeated over and over again throughout the album, with verses dedicated to the worthlessness of [expensive] degrees received in the name of pleasing parents, and an entire song reflecting on being the only one left out well past last call. Album highlight “House on Fire” turns up the heat of that question with the opening line “Waiting for your life to start then you die” and its refrain “Does it make you nervous? Have you fulfilled your purpose? Yeah, does it make you nervous- the house is on fire” only pushes the urgency felt by people entering adulthood only to realize that there’s more to being an adult than turning 30.

After the Party is more than just worrying about the future, however, and The Menzingers are just as able to look back at their history and draw influence from it and vocalist/guitarist Greg Barnett continues to put his best foot forward when it comes to nostalgia-driven songs. First singles “Lookers” and “Bad Catholics” are two sides of the same coin- the former fondly recalls a flame that has since extinguished, while the latter has Barnett coming to the realization that sometimes feelings disappear and romanticizing a lost love is just that: romanticization. “Your Wild Years” is reminiscent of one of Barnett’s older tracks “Casey,” albeit with a greater emphasis on the person rather than the foolish deeds committed with them, showing his evolution as a writer. Meanwhile, the band’s other singer, Tom May, only takes the lead on four tracks, but his abstract approach to lyricism has never been more sharp (just take a look at his very first line on the album, “I held up a liquor store demanding top shelf metaphors”).

In a mini-interview with Alternative Press last December, May was asked if the new album would be more “Rented World or On the Impossible Past?” and May flat out responded “On the Impossible Past.” And in a sense, it’s true. Musically speaking, After the Party isn’t as explorative as its predecessor Rented World, with many of the tracks sticking to the band’s soulful brand of bouncing punk rock, with plenty of hooks that Mick Jones would have written if he had grown up in Scranton in 1997. There are still some other styles to be found: you can almost hear the syncopated upstroke influence of Bob and the Sagets in “Tellin’ Lies,” the full-song-length-interlude “Black Mass” is driven by a steadily thumping bass and softly strummed guitars, and “The Bars” features Irish waltzing, not unlike on Masharimdaba, the band’s overlooked covers single released on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. All-in-all, however, After the Party focuses on tightening up the sound that The Menzingers are best known for already.

For all their pondering and searching, The Menzingers never find an answer to their question. Maybe it’s because there never was just one single way to be 30 years old in the first place. Sure, there’s the train of thought that older generations keep pushing: get a job, get married, have kids, and die, but it’s foolish to ignore that there are new factors to take into account, primarily economic, that have made growing up more complicated these days. The closest thing that comes to a satisfying conclusion is that “only a fool would think that living could be easy,” because living is anything but easy.

4.5 / 5

RIYL: The Replacements, Jeff Rosenstock, The Gaslight Anthem



The Menzingers stream another new track “Thick As Thieves”

The Menzingers are streaming another new track ahead of their Epitaph album “After The Party”, which is out this Friday. The track, “Thick As Thieves” follows on from the release of the record’s title track earlier this month.

You can listen to “Thick As Thieves” below.



The Menzingers stream new track “After The Party”

The Menzingers are streaming a new song, “After The Party”, over on Stereogum. The track is the title song from their new album, out February 3rd on Epitaph. Pre-orders are up now.

The band will also play a string of east coast in-store dates during album release week, before a lengthy tour. Full details below.



The Menzingers release new video “Lookers”

The Menzingers have released a video for “Lookers”, another track from their upcoming album “After The Party”. This track follows last month’s video for “Bad Catholics“.

The album is out on February 3rd via Epitaph Records. Digital pre-orders are up now.

You can watch the video below.



The Menzingers announce US headline tour & release music video for “Bad Catholics”

The Menzingers have announced a headline tour of the United States, following the release of their upcoming album “After the Party” and starting on February 26, 2017. You can find tour dates and locations below.

The Menzingers will be supported by Rozwell Kid for the whole tour, and Jeff Rosenstock for almost all dates. In addition to the tour The Menzingers will also be playing three in-store dates on the east coast during album release week. These dates will be listed below as well. “After the Party” is set to release February 3, 2017 via Epitaph Records. You can pre-order a copy here.

And finally The Menzingers have released a music video for their latest track, “Bad Catholics.” You can find the video below the tour dates.