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DS Photo Gallery: Against Me! and Potty Mouth, Boston, MA (9/20/16)

The first handful of live shows after a band releases a new album can, by most accounts, be a bit nerve-wracking. Although times have certainly progressed to the point where all but the most casual of fans have heard a band’s new material in advance (sometimes well in advance) of its actual release, there can still be a bit of trepidation as to how those songs will not only translate live but how they’ll fit in to a set list that includes older material. Rest assured, Against Me! fans; Shape Shift With Me doesn’t just sound great in album form, it absolutely slays live.

A mere three days following the release of their above-mentioned seventh studio album, Against Me! brought the early stages of a two-week Eastern US tour into the familiar confines of Boston’s Royale nightclub. Over the course of a hair over an hour, the foursome’s main set drew heavily from the new album and its predecessor, 2014′s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Case in point; the first four songs (“True Trans Soul Rebel,” “333,” “12:03″ and “Dead Friend”) found the band hitting hard and fast from the word “go.” And that makes sense, obviously. Though Against Me! has a long and storied history and has endured various member changes throughout the years, the current lineup of frontwoman Laura Jane Grace and long-time left hand man James Bowman on guitar, Atom Willard on drums and Inge Johansson on bass is far and away the band’s tightest and most fundamentally solid lineup.

In what has to be seen as a reassuring sign for the band, each of the half-dozen songs that the band ripped through from Shape Shift With Me was met with the same passion and intensity from the constant barrage of crowd surfers (which, by the way, when did the trend of people taking selfies while stage diving start? This really needs to stop. Like, yesterday.) who hung on and chanted every word regardless of which AM! era the song came from.

Direct support came from Potty Mouth, the three-piece (four, if you count the touring guitarist) outfit who cut their teeth in the western part of Massachusetts before just recently moving to California. For the uninitiated, they’re raw without being unhinged, and play a passionate form of grungy post-punk that would have fit in nicely in the 1995 indie music landscape, and yet still sounds new and fresh and interesting in 2016. And apologies to Frameworks, the Gainesville-based five-piece who served as show opener. The relatively early start time, coupled with traffic and “day job” responsibilities resulted in me walking in to the venue as they were walking off stage. Next time, gang.

Take a look at our photo gallery below!

 



September’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Spruce Bringsteen

With the passing of Awesome Fest and Riot Fest comes the departure of the long, hot, busy Summer. While a great deal of the country may be looking forward to the cooler months, with leaves of every imaginable autumnal hue rustling through the frigid evening breeze, the more nihilistic, Eeyorian (ed: …what the hell man? We talked about this.) among us are less optimistic about the coming weeks. With the arrival of Fall also comes a slight nudge, as we inch ever closer to our impending doom which is a certainty come early November. While our civilization’s waning hours may be a frightening prospect for some of us, there’s no reason why we all can’t enjoy these last few weeks of life as we know it with some radical tunes! This month’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp highlights six lesser known or new punk acts from an assortment of different genres! Something for everyone, guaranteed! Check out September’s sensational selections below and try to forget about all of the pain and suffering in your not so distant future!



An Afternoon With Monty Messex of Dead Fucking Last

Dead Fucking Last

The last time legendary SoCal hardcore act, Dead Fucking Last released new material, most of you were still in diapers. After releasing Grateful, way back in 1997, the boys went on hiatus and stayed there for nearly twenty years. When we heard that they were making a comeback a few years ago, we were giddy. So, when a request popped up in our inbox to interview them, we couldn’t turn it down! Unfortunately, the only available staffer was AnarchoPunk, so he was the lucky schmuck that got to meet up with founding member and guitarist, Monty Messex for a chat in the shadows of DTLA, in the Silver Lake neighborhood. Check out the full interview below!**

**If reading isn’t your thing, you can also listen to the full interview on this week’s episode of DyingScene Radio**



Lay It On The Line (melodic hardcore) release live video session for “We Made Our Hell”, announce new lineup

South London melodic hardcore quintet Lay It On The Line have been quiet since the release of their EP ‘A Prelude To The Process’ back in early 2015. A drastically changed lineup has returned, which sees the band move from a 4 piece to a 5 piece, with Alice from In Evil Hour joining Mike on dual vocal duties.

The band, now recording their debut full length ‘The Black Museum’, recorded a session soon after settling on their new lineup, performing 4 tracks (3 from their back catalogue and a cover of a track by UK skate punks Consumed) for Live At The Lab, the live session studio run by Jack from Giants.

‘We Made Our Hell’ is a track originally taken from ‘A Prelude To The Process’, which, like the rest of the band’s back catalogue, is available for free on their Bandcamp. Check out the session below.



DS Exclusive: Rob Rufus (Blacklist Royals) talks about his upcoming memoir, “Die Young With Me”

The market for music-industry memoirs is a cluttered, albeit typically enjoyable one. There’s a bit of a standard flow to what makes most of these works successful: one-part entertainment, one-part shock value, one-part precautionary tale, one-part paean to the music that helped guide them through. Special attention is typically paid to those times when an individual crashed and burned due to their own behavior, only to have mustered up some redemption on the other side. As long as the names are somewhat familiar and the stories are lurid and riddled with enough sex and drugs and rock and roll to go around, it generally makes for a compelling and fulfilling (though not entirely ground-breaking) couple of days to dissect cover-to-cover.

If we’re using that, then, as the sort of loose framework from which many a good (or at least widely-read) rock and roll story was generated, it makes little-to-no sense for a guy like Rob Rufus to throw his trademark fiddler hat in the proverbial ring. If you’re even a casual peruser of Dying Scene and you’re not familiar with Rufus by name…well…that’s exactly the point; over the last half-dozen years, we’ve written four- or five-dozen stories about the band for which Rufus is not only the drummer but one-half of the twin-brother duo that makes up the band’s core (hint: they’re called Blacklist Royals).

Rufus’ memoir, Die Young With Me, is due out September 20th (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster) and it is, by no stretch of the imagination, a standard fare rock and roll tome; the bulk of the story takes place largely between Rufus’ 12th and 19th birthdays, and a quick run through the “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll” litmus test reveals intimate encounters that rarely escalate above teenage backseat-of-mom’s car heavy petting, drugs that include names like “bleomycin” and “cisplatin” and “something called VP16,” and a rock and roll band that’s effectively unknown to the masses. Put ‘em together and what have you got? Probably the most compelling page-turner of the genre (or any true-life genre) in recent memory.

You see, the Rufus twins grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, a middle-of-nowhere town if ever there were a middle-of-nowhere town; a rest stop on the way from..well…from Louisville to Pittsburgh, I guess? Punk rock culture, or most any culture really, was virtually nonexistent. Were it not for one fateful trip the brothers took to a family reunion in Richmond, Virginia, that might still be the case. The duo spent the better part of a long weekend poring through the music collection of their cousin Anthony, who despite being only a few years older than Rob and his brother Nat, was already steeped in Richmond’s mid-1990s punk scene.

With a newfound love for punk music in tow, the brothers headed back to rural West Virginia with a new outlook on life and music…and a healthy dose of inspiration. “The best thing about punk rock to me (was) that nobody was really that good!” says Rufus with a laugh. In many ways that trip spawned a period of what has now been close to twenty years of writing and making music. “In a lot of ways,” explains Rufus, “(Die Young With Me) is a kind of love letter to punk rock music and how awesome it was for a kid from the middle of nowhere to hear anything like that.”

At first glance, the phrases “love letter to punk rock” and “most compelling page-turner of the genre in recent memory” may not realistically overlap. But then again, there’s a huge part of the story that’s been left out so far unless you’re familiar with the drugs listed above. At the age of seventeen, just as his band (then called Defiance of Authority which frontman Nat would later refer to in an interview as “pretty much the worst band name of all time”) had gotten an offer to play a week’s worth of shows on the Warped Tour (a huuuuge deal for a band of high school kids from West Virginia, or anywhere for that matter) Rufus got diagnosed with cancer; a rare, and fairly progressed cancer. “It’s called a germ cell tumor, which is basically the same makeup of testicular cancer except that it starts somewhere else in your body,” says Rufus rather matter-of-factly, at this point probably well-rehearsed in telling the details. “It was basically like a big fucking tumor in the middle of my chest.”

Coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis is an unfathomable thing for most people to comprehend at any age, let alone being a 17-year-old punk rocker from Nowheresville, USA. In fact, the latter confluence of facts led to an initial inability to even get a diagnosis. The signs and symptoms were there but, as Rufus tells it, “I’d been getting progressively more sick for months, and my normal doctor was on sabbatical, and then every time I went to the doctor at a local hospital, I would see whoever was available. It was very fucking clear that something was wrong with me. But a lot of times I would go the local hospital and they would look at me, and I was in my super punk phase with big spiked bleached hair and a Black Flag shirt with a middle finger on it or whatever it may be, and they would just dismiss me.”

Once the diagnosis came, treatment came quickly and aggressively, and just in the nick of time:  “It was so bad that if I would have waited another week before getting diagnosed, I would have died. My lungs were on the verge of collapse because this tumor was so big and wrapped around my organs.” Treatment also meant shipping out of West Virginia altogether, by way of a speedy ambulance ride to Columbus, Ohio. The treatment was aggressive, about as aggressive as you’ll find for chemotherapy in a “child.” And it seemingly worked, at least for a while. Fast-forward the tape to age nineteen and the cancer would make an unfortunate, and very grave, return.

“I was first cancer-free for not even a year, or six months,” says Rufus, before explaining in detail that “the cancer came back in my hip and went in my legs and mutated. That was the only time that I really realized that they thought I was gonna fucking die. They were basically like, “well, we have this treatment that they’ve used a couple times in Japan and we can try that and we can try to make you comfortable.” And I’m like “what the fuck does that mean? I don’t want to be ‘made comfortable’!” That was a really surreal moment in my life. It was the only time through all of that that I really was like “I’m so fucked,” and that it really sunk in like that.”

Treatment for the second round of cancer involved another bout with chemotherapy, intense radiation therapy, removal of his right lung and half his diaphragm, and a series of other lengthy complications. But it also worked successfully. Now in his early thirties, Rufus has a good, if somewhat uncharted, prognosis. Before Rufus’s generation, kids with most childhood cancers didn’t really…survive. They didn’t really get better, at least not in any great numbers. “Doctors and oncologists and everybody are very aware that they don’t know what issues will come from those treatments and what issues will develop as you get older and older,” he explains insightfully. “I’m aware of all that, but I also know that there’s nothing I can do to change it other than what I’m already doing. At this point, I’m trying to enjoy my life as much as I can. I want to create as much as I can create and do my thing and have a good fucking time!”

Read this book. Seriously. It’s funny and moving and disturbing and very, very real. And the idea was helped along by a somewhat unlikely source; Blacklist Royals’ former label boss (and Less Than Jake drummer) Vinnie Fiorello. “Vinnie…was actually the first and really the only person to say “what the fuck are you doing writing these stupid fucking rock and roll songs? Your life is so much more interesting than that, and you have so much more to say than that!”

So what do you do when you have an interesting story and you finally figure out how to tell it and what to say, but you’re a punk rock drummer with no ties to the book publishing industry? You go back to your roots. “I just kind of did it like I did when I was a teenager sending out demo tapes,” explains Rufus. “I’d get books I liked and look up the author’s agent and the publisher, and I just started sending out manuscripts.”

The result is, well, it’s due out September 20th. Pre-orders are available a bunch of different places, like here. And check out our full Q&A with Rob below; it’s one of our favorites, if we can be so self-indulgent.



DS Exclusive: The Mahones stream “The Very Best: 25 Years of Irish Punk”

We’re beyond stoked to bring you the exclusive premier of the soon-to-be-released greatest hits compilation from none other than Canada-based Irish punk rockers The Mahones!

Entitled “The Very Best: 25 Years of Irish Punk,” the release chronicles the band’s roots and their evolving sound over the last quarter-century. It’s due out this coming Friday (August 26th) via Whiskey Devil Records in Canada, Sailor’s Grave Records in the States, and various outlets throughout Europe…buuuuut you can stream the entire thing today! Check it out below!

You can catch The Mahones on tour in Canada and Europe later this year in support of “The Very Best: 25 Years of Irish Punk.” Details are below as well!



August’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

American Blackout

With all of the hubbub surrounding Pokemon last month, we totally forgot to celebrate the one year anniversary of Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! August will mark the start of our sophomore year for this monthly article. My, how the time flies! After looking back at the past twelve months, we realized just how incredible our little scene is. Here’s a few mind blowing statistics from our first full year: Nearly 100 up and coming and lesser known punk acts were featured; Bands from five of the seven continents have been highlighted; Across those five continents, we’ve had acts from over twenty different countries. Now, who says our scene is dying?!?! Celebrate with us by checking out this month’s entries below!



DS Exclusive: Matt Henson talks new Noi!se, Stadium Way, US Army, family life, and much more

Anyone familiar with Matt Henson, whether through “real life” or social media or some combination thereof, will no doubt be aware that he’s one of the more compelling people in the punk rock scene. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick synopsis in runon sentence format: In addition to playing bass and handling half of the lead vocal duties for Noi!se, Matt tackles vocals and acoustic guitars for Stadium Way, is a devoted husband and father to a young son and an infant daughter, and is a Master Sergeant in the United States Army where he’s in charge of roughly a hundred soldiers.

It’s that last bullet point that has a tendency to draw the most raised eyebrows amongst the traditional “fuck the man, fuck the system” mentality of the punk rock set. To hear Henson tell it, that’s a mentality that he personally grew up with. “There’s an inclination when you’re young and you’re angry and you’re pissed off to say “fuck the man! Fuck the establishment!” And that’s perfectly normal. I was like that, and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to be angry now. I think the political and social climates that we live in right now foster an environment of anger and frustration, and if you care at all about your family or your country, you’re going to be frustrated right now.”

There comes a point in the life of many a young, nihilistic punker at which the progression of time and the culmination of one’s life experiences provides a certain amount of added perspective that forces you to broaden those those earlier views. So while you try to hold on to some of those anti-establishment principles, you also do things like “get a job” and “pay taxes” and “start a family” and “buy a car.” Or, in some cases, you join the Army. “People seem to mistake serving in the military with a blind agreement with everything that the government does,” says Hanson, stating that people assume that “essentially a robot who’s been brainwashed to follow orders and you’re completely devoid of right and wrong and your self and free thought. And that’s certainly not true.”

If you’re like Henson and you take the heart of an idealistic punk rocker and add to it all that comes along with a lifelong military career, you end up with more than enough material to pull from when trying to write music as anything more than just a hobby. “In the Army, we have a phrase “target-rich environment,” explains Henson. “Lyrically, I would say that the United States is one of the most target-rich environments on the face of the planet, if not the universe.” While the problems experienced in the United States don’t necessarily compare to some of the more rigid environments that Henson has experienced abroad, that doesn’t make our problems any less frustrating, particularly given our quintessentially American way of losing sight of the forest because of all the damn trees in the way.

“The rhetoric on both sides (is) less about fixing any of the problems and more about demonstrating how the other side is going to make the problems worse,” explains Henson in a way that will invite anyone with even a modicum of common sense to nod in approval. “It’s almost impossible to have any sort of dialog about any sort of social issue with anyone anymore because everything’s become so divisive that if you make a suggestion or a criticism in any way, shape or form, it almost has to be met with a response from the other side. There can’t be a healthy discussion about how we can fix it and what we can do. It’s more about whose fault it is and who’s making it worse.”

He continues in such a way that yours truly will pull back from editorializing and just stick to the quotes: “There’s definitely other countries that are going through much worse social upheaval and social unrest, and that doesn’t negate what’s going on here. But being away from family, more than anything, shows you what’s important. With that in mind, you look at what’s going on here and your first thought is “how is this going to affect my family”? I have a son and a daughter and the thought becomes less about how annoying this change is for me and more about how this could potentially affect my kids and my grandkids down the line.”

With that as motivation, Henson and his Noi!se bandmates (Nate Leinfelder – vocals/rhythm guitar, Jesse O’Donnell-lead guitar and Kenny Dirkes-drums) set to work on brand new material soon after the release of their last full-length, the stellar-if-underappreciated The Scars We Hide. “It was actually our goal to (get to work) quicker, because I think Nate and I are two of the most impatient people on the face of the planet as it pertains to just about everything, music especially.” Early writing sessions would get interrupted, however, by a call from Uncle Sam. For a one-year period beginning in late 2014, Henson would find himself on deployment in Korea.

But while being seventeen hours ahead might pose some challenges, that doesn’t mean that Henson and the boys rested on their laurels. “Right now, if I had a song idea, the longest I’d have to wait is until next Tuesday so that I could take it to the band,” explains Henson. “In Korea, I would have to wait until I could get into my room, get a decent recording on the acoustic, send it to them, then call them and whistle the other leads and fills and vocal progressions so that they understood what I was talking about.”

When he returned Stateside, Henson took a brief respite to recharge and reconnect with his son and then-pregnant wife, before he the Noi!se gang got right back to work. “I was home for two weeks before we started recording,” says Henson. Why such a quick decision to get back at it? “Anybody that’s got a band probably feels the same way; once it has you, it becomes such a big part of your life. You’ve got all of these things that are pent up and trying to get out.”

The result of those post-Korea writing and recording sessions was the dozen songs that will soon be revealed to the masses as The Real Enemy, the sophomore full length that finds Noi!se raising the proverbial bar while staying true to their street punk roots. “The content is a little bit darker than we normally do, but there are some subjects that have hit pretty close to home with us recently that we really, really felt like we needed to address,” says Henson.

Chief among those things is post-traumatic stress disorder, which is experienced by roughly 8% of all American adults but more than double that rate amongst Veterans. “The War Inside,” for example, tackles the subject of PTSD in rather direct fashion, opening the album’s b-side while serving as a bit of a departure. Not only does the music veer away from traditional three-chord punk, but it also features a guest voice; Aimee Allen of the Interrupters. “Aimee’s voice and perspective add an essential element to the song that I think would be lacking without her in the mix. The backing vocals that (Aimee’s Interrupters bandmates) the Bivonas provide are incredible, also.”

With any luck, The Real Enemy will garner the band more recognition than the criminally-underappreciated The Scars We Hide did a couple of years ago. “What we’re hoping is that if the availability of this record is what we think it’s going to be, and people do us the honor of picking it up, maybe people that haven’t had a chance to listen to Scars discover it and listen to the music,” says Henson. Because Noi!se are unavailable to tour for the bulk of the year for somewhat obvious reasons, connecting with fans both new and old through recorded music takes on even greater importance. “You’re just trying to get someone else to feel what you were feeling when you wrote that,” says Henson, explaining the dividends that can still be paid in spite of the band’s inability to exist as a regularly touring entity. “That’s as quantifiable a feeling as you can get, other than playing and sharing the stage with some of your musical heroes and getting a nod from them, and the validation that you’re on the right track…if our music can get other people through the same things that music did when we were kids…it’s just a good feeling for a person to be able to help someone out in any capacity.”

Head below to read the full text of our Q & A, in which we expound on a lot of the subject matter above. Oh, and stay tuned for more news from Noi!se and Stadium Way in the coming weeks!



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.



July’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

RedEyed Jedi

Oh…Hello there!!! We weren’t expecting anyone this month! We figured everyone was still out, trying to trap Tamagotchis (ed: pretty sure that’s not right). Well, for those lucky few who aren’t roaming around public areas throwing balls at imaginary, yellow squirrels (sounds like our college days!) you are in for a real treat! Welcome to July’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Our punk rock pillagers have once again looted the site’s musical treasure troves and returned with only the best up and coming punk acts from around the globe that are sure to put some pika in your chu! This month, we have seven spectacular bands, spanning a multitude of genres for your audial arousal. You gotta catch ‘em all below!



Double Feature (pop-punk) premiere music video for “A Fistful Of Quarters”

Chicago’s tongue-in-cheek pop-punk act Double Feature formed in 2014 and mirror the catchy, melodic styles of late 90’s/early 00’s era punk. In 2015 they released their self-titled debut chock full of pop-punk anthems dealing with the most important issues our society faces today; you know, arcades, girls and aliens.

Today we’re pleased to bring you the premiere of a music video for their song “A Fistful Of Quarters”, which is a great nostalgic tune for anybody who is old enough to have spent at least one afternoon in an arcade in the 90′s. Here’s what band member Dominick Del had to say about it:

I wrote “A Fistful of Quarters” because I really dig the old style video games. All the new games on Xbox and Playstation have too many buttons and are so different. We prefer the old joy stick and classic 8 bit games. They bring us back to our childhood and more innocent times of getting on your bike, leaving your house to go meet up with friends at the arcade instead of sitting in your basement by yourself and being anti social. This song is about fun with friends and thats what we tried to get across in the video by having a bunch of our friends involved in making the video.”

Check out the official music video for “A Fistful Of Quarters” below.

If you were wondering, “A Fistful of Quarters” is from Double Feature’s first LP. The band is currently working on a 7″ EP split with EZ Kebage coming out this fall 2016.



Mike Frazier (folk-punk) releases music video for “Parrot King”

Virginia folk-punk-americana-etc artist Mike Frazier has released a music video for his song “Parrot King”, a song that is his observation of the current state of American politics and the 2016 race for the white house. In addition, Mike has decided to run for POTUS himself. Here’s his official notice:

“Hello, my name is Mike Frazier, and I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

The President is the highest ranking official in the United States. I don’t think I need to tell anyone that our nation is at a crisis point. The decisions we make now will impact this nation, and the world it inhabits for the centuries that follow. You can feel it in the air of the Rockies, you can hear it in the music on the airwaves, you can smell it in the fields of Virginia, and you can see it in the eyes of the generations rising to prominence: America will change. It is up to all of us to make it for the better. As the highest ranking official in these United States, I will enact lasting change for our children, their children, and the generations that will follow.

I have seen these United States for what they are. I have spoken to individuals from every region. I have heard their thoughts, their concerns, and their plans. I will echo them through the halls of this nation’s capital.

With their voices ringing in my ears, and their images burned into my mind, I begin this campaign. For them, for their loved ones, and for the folks that will follow them.

If you put one name on your ticket this November, make it Frazier.”

Will do, Mike! Check out the video for “Parrot King” below.

Mike Frazier last released the EP Virginia Son on August 11th, 2015 via Geneva Records.



DS Photo Gallery: Warped Tour comes to Hartford (Less Than Jake, Sum 41, The Interrupters and more)

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re reading this (hi dad!), understand that this is the second story that I wrote up that tried to capture all that is the 2016 edition of the Vans Warped Tour. It’s also worth mentioning that this version is much, much shorter than the original. You’re welcome. Seriously.

You see, if you’re of a certain age bracket (like, I don’t know, mid-30s) the continued existence of the traveling punk rock summer camp that is the Vans Warped Tour has obviously been a hot button topic in certain corners (read as: message boards and comment sections) of the punk community at large. We all can reminisce about years gone by, or compare which pre-2000 lineup was best, or patronizingly congratulate ourselves for even recognizing the names of any of the bands on the roster in the last handful of years.

The 2016 lineup is, as you’re probably aware, the best in recent memory, thanks in no small part to the fact that it draws from a handful of the bands that made it all that some of us remember being “back in the day.” And so I initially had a whole article (I hate, HATE, to use the word “thinkpiece”) written extolling the virtues of Kevin Lyman and company for helping the pendulum swing back toward something resembling Warped Tour normalcy. But then I was reminded of a quote from a wise old man that I always picture to be George Carlin but apparently, according to the internet, was actually “Author Unknown” and thus may not have actually been wise or old or male at all, “if something goes without saying, let it.” As such, I deleted the first story, and this is what you get as a result.

So anyway, the Vans Warped Tour rolled into Hartford on a thankfully warm but not blisteringly hot Sunday in July and…you know what…you really don’t care about all that stuff, do you? It’s the Warped Tour; you know this year’s lineup, you know how the individual set times get shuffled on a daily basis, you know there’s going to be a handful of bands you want to see, and handful of bands you want to avoid, and a whole bunch of people you’ve never heard of before and will most likely never hear again. For yours truly, the “who I have to see” list was dictated by a mix of nostalgia and recent fandom. From column A? New Found Glory, Less Than Jake and Sum 41. Column B, meanwhile, was represented by The Interrupters, Teenage Bottlerocket, and Masked Intruder. I could have (and, as it turns actually have) lived without seeing anybody else (sorry Motionless In White…), and as fate would have it, the schedule broke perfectly. NFG and LTJ played the same stage an hour apart. TBR and The Interrupters played neighboring stages back-to-back. Sum 41 played a set that wasn’t really in conflict with anybody, and Masked Intruder closed out one of the amphitheater stages. Perfect timing, really.

 

Say what you will, and there is certainly plenty you could say, about the Warped Tour (and, more specifically, about how you wish last year’s Lyman-produced It’s Not Dead Fest would become a nationally touring entity), but the crowd response at the Hartford stop and, we’re led to believe at a lot of other stops, indicates that it’s not just a select few old guys that miss the days of the skate punk and ska-core Warped lineups of yesteryear, and that there’s room for even more of the old guard at the table in the years to come.

Now if you’ll excuse us, get off our lawn. And check out our photo gallery of the six bands mentioned above down below.



DS Show Review: 11th Annual Amnesia Rockfest Review (NOFX, D.R.I., The Adicts and more)

If you are unfamiliar with Amnesia Rockfest now is the time to plan for next year’s festivities.

Alex Martel was only 17 years old when he had organized the 1st edition of Rockfest back in 2005 and since then his brain-child had grown into the largest music festival in Canada and one of the biggest in North America. This year marked the 11th annual Rockfest and there are no plans of stopping now.

Rockfest focuses on punk-rock as well as hardcore and metal acts, there is usually a rap group in the mix as well. In years past Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg performed, this year it was Ice Cube that had the crowd screaming “F**k the Police” but I’ve got to say the police in Montebello seemed pretty chill to me.

This small town has a population of under 1,000 residents but for one weekend out of the year the streets are flooded with tens of thousands of punk-rockers and metal-heads alike. I had arrived just about the time that the music was beginning but first things first, had to set up camp. I actually stayed at a host family’s house and camped in their yard with nearly 50 other party-goers. Now that camp was set up, I had to venture to the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello to get my press credentials.

Media check in was a couple of miles or so away from the concert (or I guess in Canada such and such kilometers away). To get to the fest I had to ride a shuttle boat and everyone on the boat was looking at their watches because we all wanted to see Against Me! As we hit the dock which was directly behind the main stage I could hear the lyrics to “Thrash Unreal”, “If she wants to dance and drink all night…” I may have missed the first half of Laura Jane Grace and her band but at least I got to see them perform and the one thing that was clearly visible from where I was standing was her smile. They appeared to be having a great time and it projected through the music and unto the crowd. Next time I will try my damnedest to be punctual but the half set I did see was amazing and fun.

NOFX as you may know already is one of my favorite groups of all time and this year they were to play Punk In Drublic from beginning to end. Yeah, well did you really expect the boys not to stray from this plan? El Hefe claimed “I didn’t get the memo” and the show started with “72 Hookers” which they announced as the first track from Punk In Drublic. Hey it’s a good way to weed out the posers from the die-hards. When the band attempted to play Scavenger Type they admitted they hadn’t rehearsed it, so instead they played these crowd favorites: Murder The Gov’t, Six Years on Dope, Fuck The Kids, Seeing Double At Triple Rock, Sticking In My Eye and Franco Un-American. So did they play Punk In Drublic in its entirety? You decide, either way they put on a fun show as always and everyone enjoyed themselves even though the band got sidetracked; I mean it’s NOFX we’re talking about here.

I’ll admit I haven’t really listened to Sum 41 that much over the years but seeing them live in Canada has changed my mind a bit. Not that I didn’t enjoy the tunes that they did with Iggy Pop because I did but it’s the pop-punk tunes that I tend to stray away from. However, I have to say they honestly killed it on the main stage and I have a new-found respect for the band. I am also really digging their new single “Fake My Own Death” which was just released with a video that takes aim at pop-culture, memes and emoji’s.

There were many acts that I regrettably had to miss because I have not perfected the act of being in two places at once yet. When it came to a point that I had to choose between Rise Against and DRI, I had to go with DRI. No offense to Rise Against but I have never seen DRI and I had to witness “Acid Rain” live. I believe I made the right choice. DRI has been around since 1982 and Kurt Brecht and Spike Cassidy are still rocking hard. They’ve been through a series of bassists and drummers over the years but I would say they sound better than ever.

Out of all of the groups that I had the chance to see English punk act The Adicts, were the highlight for me. According to one of the band’s stage managers they have been together for 41 years now. This particular gig was Monkey’s birthday and because of this the band sung happy birthday and presented a cake on stage. The set took place on one of the two Tony Sly stages and thanks to Tony Hawk’s Underground all of the kids in the crowd were singing along with “Viva La Revolution”. When the band played “Joker In The Pack”, Monkey tossed an entire pack of shiny purple backed playing cards into the crowd; I didn’t find the joker but I did pick out the 6 of diamonds.

For the last three years Tony Sly has been remembered and honored at Amnesia Rockfest. In 2014 there was a single Tony Sly stage and last year and this year there were two stages dedicated to the late musician. There also was a performance by No Use For A Name Tribute Band and Cokie The Clown ended the two days of performances with an acoustic version of “I’m Sorry, Tony” singing the lyrics “from coast to coast let’s raise our drinks and give a toast to Tony Sly”.

On the way back into the U.S. of A. my driver Russ and I were dreading the border patrol because they are usually pricks but surprisingly the officer at our window actually had a personality. “Where are you coming from?” He asked. “Amnesia Rockfest” was our response. Then what came out of his mouth just made the trip complete, he says “did you rock out with your cock out?”

“Yes, Yes we did!”



DS Photo Gallery: The So So Glos, Big Ups, Honduras and Today Junior – Great Scott, Boston, MA (6/25/16)

The dynamic Brooklyn-based four piece otherwise known as The So So Glos brought their month-long tour in support of their near-flawless new album, Kamikaze, to a close in Boston last weekend. The five-ish week tour found the band starting and ending in the northeast, circumnavigating most of the country in the process. While it may stand to reason that such a 32-date trek would leave a band drained by the closing night (particularly having played in their own back yard on the tour’s penultimate stop), what happened on the stage at Great Scott on the evening in question was nothing short of an exercise in unity and raw energy.

The Glos kicked off their headline set with the Kamikaze’s first two tracks, the extraordinarily infectious “Dancing Industry” and the scattered, rhythmic “A.D.D. Life,” in that order, setting a rather lofty bar for themselves in the process, particularly as yours truly finds those to be two of the strongest tracks anybody has released this year. In no way, shape, or form, however, did the band lose any steam at any real point throughout the night, and in typical “sweaty punk show” fashion, they seemed to draw heavily from the solid-but-not-sold-out crowd. While Kamikaze (like much of the Glos output) speaks in the language of cautionary tales surrounding the younger generations trending toward isolation by way of increasing reliance on glowing, four-inch screens, So So Glos shows are all about celebrating love and unity and pulling in the same direction. Frontman Alex Levine invited the crowd to form a circle at one point, but not a swirling mass of humanity that is your typical circle pit. Instead, the invitation was to form an almost Soul Train-style area where people could come dance and let lose and get weird.

The bulk of the set pulled from Kamikaze, and with good reason, as it probably best represents what sets the Glos apart from a lot of other bands. The songs are varied in style, sound and structure, each with its own different way of inspiring a crowd to sing and move in chaotic unison. Drummer Zach Staggers provides rock steady backbeat and does so with the nonchalant, quiet swagger of a hip hop drummer. That leaves plenty of room for dueling guitarists Ryan Levine and Davey Jones to take chances in both rhythm and lead duties (with Jones typically handling the lion’s share of the lead parts). In what can always be seen as a wonderful sign for a band, the just-released album’s material seemed to be well-known and well-loved by the crowd, a sign that not everyone is just there to hear “Blowout.” The evening’s closing number found the Glos inviting all members of all of the evening’s opening bands (as well as recent tourmates The Dirty Nil, who were across town opening for Flag earlier in the evening) on stage for a massive singalong. Not your typical punk rock show, yet the So So Glos aren’t your typical punk rock band.

Big Ups

Direct support on this leg of the tour came from fellow New Yorkers Big Ups. The self-proclaimed “punctual punk, nerdcore” four piece present one of the more captivating live shows going right now, with the angular, at times unpredictable and aggressive starts and stops of the music paired nicely with an equally frenetic live show that centers around frontman Brendan Finn who can best be described only as inimitable: part Ian Mackaye, part Henry Rollins, part lizard, part silverback gorilla.

Local openers Today Junior were a bit of a pleasant surprise. They were admittedly long on my “heard of but never actually heard” list, and in hindsight I’m ashamed of that fact. The three-piece (which centers around guitar/vocalist and drummer brothers Harry and Mike O’Toole) are best described as an indie rock band that does remarkable job of recreating the sort of raw, unencumbered mid-90s glory days of the genre (let’s just say they’d have sounded great on Taang! Records back in the day). They were followed by Honduras, another “heard of but never heard” band that I’m ashamed to have overlooked. The four piece have a rather compelling and unique mix of influences, a sort of atmospheric, shoe-gazey vibe run through an almost-unhinged post hardcore filter. Check them out here, by the way.

Check out our full photo gallery from the cathartic evening below.