The band’s latest album After the Party was released in 2016 through Epitaph Records.
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Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 4:24 PM (PST) by Carson Winter
“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!
Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 12:00 PM (PST) by jaystone
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.
Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1:37 PM (PST) by NobodyLikesGreg
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.
Friday, February 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM (PST) by Bizarro Dustin
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
Monday, January 30, 2017 at 12:33 PM (PST) by Mike Scott
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.
Monday, January 9, 2017 at 2:24 PM (PST) by Mike Scott
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 album is out on February 3rd via Epitaph Records. Digital pre-orders are up now.
You can watch the video below.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 9:01 AM (PST) by Shane Dover
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.
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 12:31 PM (PST) by Midwest Punk
The Menzingers have now released final details on their new album, After The Party. We now know the album is due out February 3, 2017 via Epitaph Records. You can pre-order a copy here. Check out the cover art to the left and the full tracklisting below.
After The Party is the followup to The Menzingers’ 2014 album, Rented World.
Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 4:05 PM (PST) by Screeching Bottlerocket
The song is titled “Lookers,” and you can check it out below.
Though it has not been confirmed that this track will appear on After the Party, it seems likely. Stay tuned for more details on the follow-up to 2014’s Rented World.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 4:42 PM (PST) by Screeching Bottlerocket
Check out all of the dates and locations below.
The Bouncing Souls’ new album Simplicity will release on July 29th through Rise Records. In addition to serving as a follow-up to 2012’s Comet, it will be their first record with new drummer George Rebelo, who joined the band in 2013.
Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 3:12 PM (PST) by Johnny X
Great news for fans of The Menzingers! The band just posted on their facebook that they’ve finished recording their 5th studio album with producer Will Yip. Only details we have is that they’re dubbing this one “After The Party” but we’ll keep you posted as more info comes to light.
“After The Party” will be a follow up to their last full-length “Rented World” released via Epitaph Records in 2014.
Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 3:03 PM (PST) by Midwest Punk
Bayside’s previous release was a deluxe edition of their 2014 album, Cult, titled Cult: White Edition, which came out in March of 2015 via Hopeless Records.
Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 9:36 AM (PST) by Malamute
Recently Bobby Barnett of Captain, We’re Sinking toured the UK with his brother Greg from The Menzingers. They hit up the Star and Garter in Manchester and Bobby’s full performance that night was recorded. The performance was put up on bandcamp for five bucks and the download comes with a bonus track called “Food” which Bobby describes as “well, you’ll see” as well as a “poorly made” video. You can stream the full album below.