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DS Photo Gallery: Night 3 of The Lawrence Arms’ War on Christmas with The Copyrights & The Brokedowns (Chicago, IL)

Night 3

“I’m alive,” I thought to myself upon waking. “But how?” As I played the festivities (some would call it debauchery) of the last two nights through my mind, I came to the same conclusion that I do upon waking in the morning/afternoon on any festival’s third day – I am superhuman and my liver filters better than a Brita faucet. I rounded up the crew and we headed off to feed on tacos at nearby L’Patron. We parted ways mid-afternoon and I got ready for a dinner with friends. Dinner was accompanied by drinks which of course lead into post-dinner drinks at a bar down the street which lead to flashing forward and suddenly being inside the Double Door again with a drink in hand. I would have worried more about this ‘time traveling’ episode, except it pairs so nicely with the theme of the evening.

Night 3 – The Ghost of Christmas Future

This was the evening that I was most looking forward to witnessing. It was also the evening that I was the drunkest, mostly from bogarting a bottle of Prosecco at dinner. Everything was nicely coming together. Hometown heroes The Brokedowns opened the show. I feel like I’ve covered this band 50 times over the last five years and I still never properly express how much I appreciate them. Their last album, Life Is A Breeze (Red Scare Industries), is damn near perfection. Their stage presence is hard hitting and powerful and their stage banter always has me doubled over with laughter. The fact that they rarely ever tour and I get to brag to my faraway friends that am privileged enough to see The Brokedowns on a semi-regular basis is just frosting on the cake! One thing that always seems to differ per set is where the band writes out their set list for the night. I’ve seen Brokedowns set lists on anything from business cards to cereal box tops to a band member’s leg. Tonight, the list was written on a glass bottle of Tostitos salsa which accompanied chips that the members snacked on between songs. Another memorable set in the books and another set list written on a recyclable food package.

Closing out the openers for this trio of shows was Carbondale’s pop punk favorites, The Copyrights. Similar to The Brokedowns, I’ve covered this band countless times and I’ve never gotten bored. The other fans in the crowd seemed to feel the same way as they pogoed and pitted around. I actually saw three guys in matching Copyrights t-shirts interlocking arms, dancing together all while never spilling their beers. The band’s front man, Adam Fletcher, fearlessly lead the four-piece through countless favorites such as “Kids of the Blackhole”, “No Knocks”, “Worn Out Passport” and of course “Shit’s Fucked” as the audience shouted back every word. If The Brokedowns and The Copyrights are the future that Christmas is offering up, then I’m stoked. I’ve been living in this world for some time and it’s a hell of a lot better looking than how I pictured the next four or so years panning out. Perhaps a Brokedowns set list will run for president in 2020. But I digress…

Night 3

It was the bottom of the 9th. The bases were loaded. It was time to bring it on home. Does that sound right? I figured that since I’m from and writing about Chicago, I should throw in some sports shit for you guys. Go Cubs, etc. The Lawrence Arms took the stage one final time in 2016. They opened with “The Slowest Drink…” and, from where I was standing, it looked like the whole of the audience suddenly imploded. Then, there was a huge explosion of movement as crowd surfers came out of nowhere and semi-full beer cans were rocketed through the air. Now, dear reader, I could drone on about the set. I could talk about the humorous things Brendan rattled off between songs to entertain the crowd. I could talk about how the trio has been a band for over 15 years and no matter the physical distance between them, they cannot help but display their chemistry when onstage. I could even mention that the crowd started up the Hennessy chant one more time; every fucking show with that damn chant! Instead, check out the set list and let’s wrap this thing up. On Night 3, they played:

The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City

Cut It Up

Beyond the Embarrassing Style

Presenting: The Dancing Machine (The Robot with the Monkey Head)

The Raw and Searing Flesh

Recovering the Opposable Thumb

Light Breathing (Me and Martha Plimpton in a Fancy Elevator)

An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance

Chapter 13: The Hero Appears

Boatless Booze Cruise Part 1

The North Side, the L&L, and Any Number of Crappy Apartments

Right as Rain, Part 2

Like A Record Player

ENCORE:

The Redness in the West

The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure

100 Resolutions

Night 3 left me with a feeling very similar to the awe that I felt during Night 1. It was a kind of (drunken) cheer for the season. That being said, there is no point in arguing that the world is complete shit right now. We’re on the brink of what will be a very tense and interesting few years. We’re basically living in a dark comedy where all of this may actually be funny if it was happening to someone else… or to no one at all. However, for three amazing nights, music did exactly what I have always believed it is supposed to do. It was an escape and made things (at least temporarily) seem better. The Bollweevils showed that, no matter their age, they are and always will be a force to be reckoned with. Dead to Me is back with Jack and they have returned stronger than ever before. Dowsing is making huge waves and is turning jaded listeners like me into surefire believers. Worriers are incredibly and powerfully spreading their message and their fan base is growing by the moment. The Brokedowns will continue to talk about space weed and read their set lists off disposable cutlery between songs. The Copyrights will continue to write, record and effortlessly perform songs that will be deemed pop punk classics for decades to come. And the Lawrence Arms? Well, them angels been talkin’ of a possible new album in the works somewhere far down the road. Other than that, the War on Christmas will hopefully remain a pre-holiday staple. It’s the perfect way of bringing together friends from across the country to spend a drunken weekend in Chicago during winter. And what soundtrack would one listen to throughout a drunken weekend in December in the most beautiful city in the world? The goddamn Lawrence Arms.

Make sure you also check out the coverage from Night 1 and Night 2 of the Second Annual War on Christmas!

Check out the gallery for Night Three below:



DS Photo Gallery: Night 2 of The Lawrence Arms’ War on Christmas with Worriers & Dowsing (Chicago, IL)

The day started out like any other – in the afternoon. I begrudgingly pulled myself off the bed and wandered into the living room to find myself being whisked away into an Uber by my motley crew consisting of my boyfriend and two visiting Minneapolitans. The next thing I knew, we were at Kuma’s (a famous Chicago burger joint) and the drinking had begun again with a mere eight hours until the show started. Lucky for me, the crew okayed a post burger nap and we headed back to the apartment to recoup, nap and watch Mighty Ducks 2 before heading to the show. Quack!

Night 2 – The Ghost of Christmas Present

The evening opened with Dowsing. The fourpiece is a fairly well-known local group which plays emo/indie music. Or, as they like to put it, feel good sad songs. Strangely enough, they are a band that I had not seen before despite all that I know about them. I know that they recently were signed to Asian Man Records (congrats, guys!). I know that they’ve played Fest a handful of times. I know that my friends go out of their way to catch the band play. And tonight, I finally heard them. I’m aware that it’s all about how you classify things, but the words “emo” and “indie” tend to be off-putting to me. My normal response: “Oh? you mean slow and boring and terrible to shoot with my camera?” Actually, this is everything that Dowsing is not. While they do play slower paced tunes, they are all but boring. The songs themselves are complex and layered. Steady music is framed by vocals that seem desperate and anxious. While it’s easy to dismiss bands based on their labels – especially as you get older, have less time for first hand research, etc – Dowsing is the perfect example of why we should always give everything a try for fear of missing out. Tonight’s lesson re-learned: Always trust Mike Park.

The unfamiliarity of Dowsing gave way to a band that I played this same game with before. I had no idea who Worriers were until I saw them play on the Double Door stage almost a year ago. Since then, I caught their sets at Riot Fest and Fest and fell in love with their 2015 full length Imaginary Life. Upbeat, sometimes danceable, melodic songs cover the spread of topics from the confusing gender binary to relationships to police brutality. While the band seems to at times have a rotating case of characters, they never fail to perfectly translate their recorded music to the stage. I also think that it’s exceedingly important to mention that during the Worriers set, a very drunk man in a fedora aggressively made his way to the stage and began shouting. At first it was compliments such as, “Yeah girl! We love you, lady!” Then, when he did not get the attention he was seeking, his comments started to turn. “I said I love you. The fuck?” Singer/guitarist Lauren Denitzio became noticeably uncomfortable at this point. The band powered through a song or two more before the man was removed from the crowd for hassling those around him. The crowd let out a cheer and Lauren thanked the security staff before moving through the rest of the band’s set seemingly lighter than moments before. Their set ended with grace and without any heckling idiots. Side note: one of my friends actually saw this guy get kicked out while smoking outside. Apparently, the fedora man – in true douche fashion – started shouting about ‘dumb bitches’ and ‘stupid hoes onstage’ not respecting him. Good job, dude. Way to get kicked out of the venue before the band you came for even played. Also, flush that hat down the toilet. You look like a crappy extra from Casablanca.

With that ugliness behind us, it was time again for the headliner. The lights dimmed as the Lawrence Arms took the stage to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. Brendan Kelly walked up to the microphone, threw his hands in the air, sighed and shouted “Don’t you guys hate Christmas?” before the band flew into the first song of the set, “Great Lakes/Great Escapes”. Now friends, remember early on when I stated that the drinking started early this afternoon? Well, it never really stopped. Between the cans and the mixed drink and the shots with friends who had come into town just for this, I was happy that I could hold onto my camera. So when Brendan stated that they would be playing a brand new song, I started to giddily clap and jump like a child who just got a puppy for Christmas. It took me a good thirty seconds to realize that they were playing “Porno and Snuff Films” and that there was no new song. Thanks Tito’s vodka! When he tried the same party trick (get it? eh?) two songs later, I wasn’t falling for it. Someone from the audience actually shouted “Fuck you, Brendan”. “Fuck me? I’m providing you with entertainment. Fuck me. Well, entertainment is a relative term I guess,” Brendan shot back as the fans laughed.

Unlike Night 1, which was a Thursday, tonight the venue was packed wall to wall. It also seemed as if the entirety of the venue was drunk. A crowd surfer went to leap into the crowd and instead slipped and crawled. Fans in the first row struggled to keep their eyes open as they mumbled along to the songs. It was the present and the present was numb from any pain. While tonight’s set seemed to contain more songs off Metropole and more slower songs overall, that didn’t seem to stop the crowd surfers or mosh pitters. And for whatever it’s worth, nothing can ever stop the Hennessy chant. What else did they play? Well, take a look at the night’s set list!

Great Lakes/Great Escapes

Them Angles Been Talkin’

You Are Here

Porno and Snuff Films

Turnstiles

The Devil’s Takin’ Names

Faintly Falling Ashes

“I’ll Take What’s in the Box, Monty”

Metropole

The YMCA Down the Street from the Clinic

The First Eviction Notice

Jumping the Shark

Brickwall Views

A Boring Story

Another Boring Story

Your Gravest Words

ENCORE:

Hey, What Time is ‘Pensacola: Wings of Gold’ on Anyway?

As the show came to a close, we filed out of the venue and into a nearby bar where the Rumple Minze shots are only $5. I beat a stranger at Skeeball. I watched a very tiny girl throw up what seemed like gallons of tequila in a bathroom trashcan, burp, fix her lipstick and kiss the mirror before walking out into public. I ran into a huge group of friends that I know from Fest and suddenly time traveled to end up at home, passed out on the couch watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. While I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, I will say that the present seems pretty okay.

Make sure you check out the coverage from Night 1 and also check back later this week for Night 3!

Check out the gallery for Night Two below:



DS Photo Gallery: Night 1 of The Lawrence Arms’ War on Christmas with Dead To Me & The Bollweevils (Chicago, IL)

For most of us, 2016 has been a pile of shit topped with a rotten cherry soaked in trash water. We’ve lost some amazing people this year (both on the celeb level and on a smaller, more personal scale). We have an Oompa Loompa posing as president elect who somehow Tweeted his way into the White House. There are still people out there who won’t stop posting memes or hashtags about that damn gorilla, Harambe. Now, I’m not saying that everything was all bad this year. But sometimes I couldn’t help but find myself thinking, “Give me a fucking break already.” However, with the bad times come the good and with them being so few and far between, they can seem even sweeter. When it was announced that the Lawrence Arms were holding a follow up to last year’s trio of shows entitled the War on Christmas, I was elated. During last year’s WoC, each evening had a theme ranging from Sadness & Despair to Drinking & Revelry to Love & Triumph. This year, the themes were taken from the Charles Dicken’s story A Christmas Carol. They included the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Last year’s WoC turned into what I started calling the War on Myself, a drunken ramble through a four-day weekend. I was eager to see if this year would top last.

Night 1 – The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Bollweevils opened the Second Annual War on Christmas with their fast, fun version of Chicago punk. The four piece have rekindled their musical endeavors over the last few years, quickly becoming one of the staple bands in the Chicago scene once again. Front man and resident giant, Daryl Wilson leapt, jumped and danced all over the stage as the rest of the band held down the music. While I have seen The Weevils countless times over the years, I never get bored of them or their stage presence. Each member is always pounding away on their instrument, showcasing their craft while still smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. This is a feat that is not always achieved while onstage. While the members of the band may have been older than many of the Lawrence Arms fans in attendance that night, The Bollweevils’ energy and music still engaged the audience. My personal theory on why The Bollweevils was selected for the “Christmas Past” evening of War on Christmas: they’re a band that used to play with the Arms during the Fireside days. They’ve been around for years and going through an amazing resurgence right now. You get the idea, right? Great.

Dead to Me was next. Is there anything that I can even say about this band that has not been already harped on this year? Jack’s back. They put out a very strong EP entitled “I Want To Die in Los Angeles” on Fat this last October. No matter the members, the band has always put on a great live show. However, with both Jack and Chicken onstage, Dead To Me seems practically unstoppable. While the crowd was somewhat smaller since this was a Thursday night and all, there was no energy wasted during Dead to Me’s set. There were crowd surfers. There were sing-a-longs. From what I could see, everyone in the audience was giving it their all, as if they were right on stage with the band. “Ran that Scam”, “Arrhythmic Palpitations”, “Cause of my Anger” and of course “Little Brother” seemed to be crowd favorites. Fourteen songs seemed to fly by as I tried to remember to stop singing and dancing long enough to snap some photos. My personal theory on why Dead to Me was selected as part of the “Christmas Past” night of War on Christmas: While the band was always great, we can all admit that African Elephants is just not in the same tier as Cuban Ballerina, right? The band is reincarnated with Jack’s presence and are back to being themselves again, in a revamped self-confident way that is stronger than ever before.

The time had come for the Lawrence Arms to once again grace the stage of the Double Door in Chicago. As the three climbed the stage, the audience started shouting and clapping. Of course the “Hen-nes-sey” chant was soon to follow. What songs would they possible consider for tonight’s set? Well lucky for you, I was standing right next to the set list. Night 1 graced us with:

Necrotism

There’s No Place Like a Stranger’s Floor

On with the Show

Intransit

Alert the Audience!

Fireflies

Drunk Tweets

Minute

Lose Your Illusion 1

A Toast

A Wishful Puppeteer

Seventeener

October Blood

The Disaster March

ENCORE:

Beautiful Things

Are You There Margaret?

Although it’s been almost three years since the band has put out an album and extensively toured, their onstage chemistry this night made it seem like it could have been yesterday. While the set wasn’t flawless (is it ever though?), each mistake was taken with a smile and a laugh exchanged between the three friends. Maybe I was drunk – spoiler alert: I was. Maybe it was the amazing set list or because I’m feeling particularly festive this year. Maybe it was because they played “The Disaster March” which they almost never play no matter how much I pray and hope. Whatever it was, there was something almost palpable about the importance of the show, of these series of shows. To be see a band like the The Bollweevils – who used to play alongside the Arms – execute a set with so much vivacity and passion makes me almost embarrassingly proud to be part of the Chicago punk scene. Then, having Dead to Me – a band that was influenced by the Arms – showcase their regeneration basically reaffirmed my faith in new/current punk music. And finally, to witness the Lawrence Arms play to a crowd of avid fans and followers in their hometown of Chicago (no matter where their lives have taken them years after the band’s formation), is an experience all its own.

I know that I promised you drunken revelry earlier and don’t you worry. There is much more of that to come in Nights 2 and 3. Check back for that coverage later this week!

Check out the gallery for Night One below:



DS Exclusive: 2016 – A Year in Pictures (Jay Stone)

2016 might have been a multitude of suck for myriad reasons, but the music scene — and the live music scene in general — was nowhere on that list. Your friendly neighborhood Dying Scene editors continue to travel far and wide to try to not only take in as much local and national live music as possible, but to show you first-hand what we’ve been up to.

Because everybody loves year-end wrap up posts (you do still love year-end wrap up posts, right?) your photographer friends decided to pour through the thousands of photos we took this year and pare them down to highlight some of either the best ones, or our personal favorites. For yours truly, shows ran the gamut this year, from neighborhood bars and Elks Lodge basements to sold-out 2500 capacity nightclubs and, of course, the Warped Tour (I know, right?). The highlights were almost too numerous to name, although seeing The Falcon twice, The Loved Ones, Bob Mould, Chuck Ragan a few times, Descendents, NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Lucero (twice), Against Me!, The Interrupters (twice), Bad Cop/Bad Cop, The Scandals a few times, Brian Fallon a few times, Cory Branan four times (in four states!), Laura Jane Grace and Off With Their Heads acoustic in the same year is pretty damn great, and only scratches the surface, really.

Also, for the second year in a row, I think I saw The Scandals’ Jared Hart more times in one year in one form or another than I’ve seen anybody else in a given year, although I may have topped that by probably seeing Rebuilder more times than I’ve seen my own mother. Sorry, ma!

Anyway, check out the gallery below, and stay tuned for more cool concert moments in 2017!



Red Scare artists list their “Best Of 2016”

You know what they say; “Best Of… lists are like a box of chocolates”. When Red Scare Industries co-founder Tobias Jeg asked if we wanted to publish some Top 10 lists from Red Scare artists on Dying Scene I said “Hell, yeah!” but I definitely had no idea what I was going to get.

What follows is a schizophrenic compilation of the “Best ‘Whatevers’ of 2016” according to some of the lovable characters from your favorite Red Scare bands. Enjoy!



December’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

The Good Good Grief

Well, if it’s one thing we learned in 2016, it’s that we can survive a thorough beating. For putting your head down and toughing it out like good little soldiers, we’ve decided to reward you with what we think is the best list of the year! So, onwards and upwards to better days because we’re a proud, fiercely independent lot and not a bunch of whiny saps! Check out our final installment of Hidden Gems of Bandcamp for this the year of our lord 2016 below!

*As always, thank you all for reading and contributing, we hope to see you back in next month for the kick off to another outstanding year of treasure hunting! Have a happy Festivus and a safe New Year!



DS Exclusive: The Rumjacks (Celtic) Premiere New Music Video For “Patron Saint O’ Thieves”

Australian Celtic punkers The Rumjacks sent us a brand new music video to premiere exclusively for DyingScene readers! “Patron Saint O’ Thieves” is from their most recent full length album, Sleepin’ Rough which came out earlier this year. While it is Christmas in theme, it’s far from your traditional yuletide carol. Give it a view or two and check out what lead man Frankie McLaughlin said inspired him to write it, below!

The Rumjacks are currently on tour in their native land but they’ve also just announced their first ever US show! This coming March, the boys will be visiting the sunny shores of San Diego, California for the Get Shamrocked Festival



DS Photo Gallery: The Falcon w/ Kyle Kinane, Arms Aloft & Typesetter (Chicago, IL)

On the eve before Thanksgiving, The Falcon took one last flight before calling it a day, donning their hoods and being placed back in their mews (yeah okay, so I may have Googled some falcon facts or whatever). The four-piece played their last show for the foreseeable future at the Metro in their – kind of – hometown of Chicago. Joining them to round out an amazingly strong lineup were Wisconsin’s Arms Aloft and comedian Kyle Kinane along with Chicago locals, Typesetter.

As all great Metro shows go, the pre-party drink-a-thon started next door at GMan, a bar owned and operated by Metro. For those of you not from the Chicagoland area, GMan is the equivalent of the music scene’s Cheers. There is rarely a time when I cross the threshold without instantly recognizing a few faces; tonight was no different. As I grabbed my Tito’s and soda, I noticed an eight top of friends on one side of the bar and as I walked into the newly remodeled back room, there were about twenty more. The chatter mostly pertained to holiday plans, right wing gun toting uncles and a headcount of how many Malort shots everyone would be doing before the night’s end. I took that as my cue to leave and walk over to the venue.

The room was bare but slowly filling up as Typesetter took the stage. While I’ve covered a number of shows at Metro, I have never been on the photography end of the coverage. Ready to pop my photo cherry, I plodded into the photo pit with my camera out and ready to go. “You can’t have that,” a staff member told me as I passed. “No flash.” He was pointing at my external flash. Ladies and gentlemen, we have just reached the first panic inducing obstacle of the evening. I removed the flash, politely thanked him (always be kind to the venue staff!) and began to pray. Dear Annie Leibovitz – wait you’re not dead. Either way, please don’t let me fuck this up too badly without a flash. After some setting adjustments, I started to see images on my display screen again, hoped for the best and started to calm down.

After frequenting as many shows per week as I possibly can cram into schedule, I have somehow mysteriously never seen Typesetter in the four plus years since I’ve moved back to Chicago. This is not for lack of effort on their part either; they’re always playing. But I was finally able to witness what my friends have been raving about. The five piece plays indie rock that may border on shoegaze. (Complete disclosure: I’m too old to understand what that definition means anymore). Ferocious and melodic, Typesetter plowed through their set as a strong opener for the night.

Arms Aloft was next on the bill for the evening. While the band may still be slightly under the radar throughout most of the country, they have been playing and cultivating a decent sized fan base here in Chicago for years. Their latest LP entitled What A Time To Be Barely Alive was released earlier this year to rave reviews. It’s the perfect commentary on the state of our existence, especially with the results of the recent presidential election. Their set consisted of a decent mix of old and new. But that didn’t seem to matter to the crowd, who were shouting along to every word.

I had previously interviewed Kyle Kinane a week before this show and before he even had joined the tour. The one thing that came across loud and clear was his concern for what could go wrong when being strangely slotted between two musical acts. How would the energy of the crowd hold up? How would the audience feel about just standing around while he paced on stage? His concerns started to meld with mine. How do you actively photograph someone who isn’t moving much? What if all my photos look the same? How do you write a review of a comedian? (Note: apparently, you just talk about your fears and pose a lot of questions to waste line space!). But as soon as Kyle came onstage, all of that went out the window. I thought he was hilarious, as always, and the audience seemed to agree. He even shot down a drunken heckler with the greatest of ease as he joked that he would love to be able to just break into a song and drown out the drunk at that exact moment. All in all, I think that the change in pace of the lineup was well received.

The room went dark. I could no longer see the back of the crowd as I looked beyond the barricade from the photo pit. Someone tried to start up the “Hen-nes-sey” chant before the band was even on stage. Too soon, bro! Too soon. But, it was finally time for The Falcon. The four-piece super-group took the stage to Star Wars’ “The Imperial March”, which was a strangely fitting choice. The band members were introduced just before they rapidly broke out into “Sergio’s Here”, the latest single from Gather Up the Chaps. “War of Colossus”, “If Dave Did It”, “The Routes We Wander”, “You Dumb Dildos” “Unicorn Odyssey” and “They Angry Cry…” also made appearances on the set list. Should I go listing song after song? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Just click around on your iTunes and pretend you were there. That song? Yeah, I’m pretty sure they played that one.

Brendan explained to the crowd that the whole of the band was either sick or fighting off terrible colds. The stage presence did seem a little forced in comparison to the other times I had seen The Falcon throughout the year. But that had little impact on the actual performance of the songs. If a sick and somewhat hoarse Brendan Kelly can power through “Hasselhoff Cheeseburger”, then you can do anything. The audience didn’t seem to take note either, as they screamed along to songs about drinking, blacking out, cocaine and black teeth. As the set ended, the band dismounted the stage and infiltrated the audience as ‘You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon played in the background. They rallied up the audience for one last conga line that became so long that it snaked its way through one door of the Metro and out another. Although it was a party trick that I had seen at their previous shows, it still hadn’t gotten old and somehow it remained the perfect last hurrah of The Falcon… at least for now.

Check out our full photo gallery from the evening’s festivities below!



DS Exclusive: Ryan Young (Off With Their Heads) on “Won’t Be Missed,” touring as an acoustic act, and the prospects of a Donald Trump presidency

On the eve of gigantic clusterfuck that was the recent US Presidential election, yours truly caught up with the one-and-only Ryan Young from his hotel room in Knoxville, Tennessee. For reasons that are personal and professional, I’ve long been an admirer of Ryan’s work both with Off With Their Heads and with the Anxious & Angry podcast and merchandise venture, and find his unabashed and unapologetic way talking about the hard and painful and uncomfortable shit that so many people have gone through is not just refreshing, but that it’s actually been more helpful at normalizing issues of mental health, substance abuse, etc.,than it’s gotten credit for. So when news of Young’s then-upcoming acoustic album, Won’t Be Missed, broke, it seemed the perfect opportunity to pick his brain and, honestly, to find out how he’s been.

The initial intent, obviously, was to discuss not just Won’t Be Missed, but to delve into the transition from an angry, loud, plugged-in four-piece to an angry, stripped down acoustic duo (“Nice John” is joining Young in the acoustic incarnation of Off With Their Heads). But let’s face it; by the time we actually touched base, it was the night before the country ended up electing the Personified Fart that is Donald J. Trump. Young had been touring through the South in the days leading up to that fateful day, and was presently holed up in said Knoxville hotel on an off day. Voting booths on the Eastern seaboard were about twelve hours from opening, and the general pall over the country, particularly those over those of us who care about people and about helping people get better and about looking out for each other, and who are concerned with the concept of general human decency, was just plain weird. Like, fucking shit tons of weird. To that end, you can probably guess where our conversation steered itself pretty quickly, although the two main threads (Young’s professional careers and the coming Trumpification of America) found themselves pretty interwoven pretty quickly.

I’m going to let the text of the interview speak for itself on this one, because in transcribing and editing it, I actually enjoyed reading it and watching how the conversation evolved. So without further adieu, head below to check out our discussion. Once you read all the way through, you’ll find OWTH’s upcoming tour dates at the bottom. Go hang out. And check out Won’t Be Missed right here while you’re at it.

 



November’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Rise on Everest

Thanksgiving always throws off our timing on Hidden Gems but I guess it’s better late than never, right? RIGHT!??! Look, 2016 has been rough on all of us in one aspect or another but as we near it’s end, we would like to thank you for reading and hope that our silly little article has made this tough, bitter pill of a year a little easier to swallow. This month, we’ve got six sick bands that we’re betting you haven’t heard of, to help get you over this last, awful gulp. Check out November’s stellar selections below and then we’ll see you back here next month for our year end blowout!



DS Exclusive: Brendan Kelly on The Falcon taking a break, firing up the Lawrence Arms and the Wandering Birds…and punching babies in the face?

Dying Scene last touched base with the inimitable Brendan Kelly back in early February. At the time, we discussed the budding relaunch of The Falcon, a band that had already been a pseudo-supergroup and was now adding Dave Hause to the lineup. The band’s first album in close to a decade, Gather Up The Chaps, was still a month-or-so from being released. The band’s first-ever tour dates were booked, but hadn’t kicked off yet. Donald Trump hadn’t yet won so much as a primary, his Presidential bid still widely considered a punchline.

When we learned that The Falcon were going to take a break of indeterminate length after their recent bunch of tour dates, we decided it would be the perfect time to catch up with Beex again to bookend what some (read as: nobody but me until just now) have referred to as The Year Of The Falcon. As it turns out, an awful lot can happen in nine fucking months. Gather Up The Chaps was released to stellar reviews. The initial run of a dozen-or-so tour dates ended up extending to close to four-dozen dates in three countries over the better part of the year. And Personified Fart Donald J. Trump is President-Elect of the United States of America. Talk about taking the good with the bad…

We caught up with Beex in person prior to The Falcon’s recent gig at Firehouse 13 in Providence as a bit of a postmortem on the latest incarnation of the band. “This is it for a while,” says Kelly rather diplomatically, before quickly pointing out that it is not, by any means, the end of The Falcon as we know it. “This is just the last tour on the album cycle. And while there may not be any pending Falcon plans in the near future, don’t you dare use the ‘H-word’ to describe the break in the action. “You know what annoys me?” asks Kelly before diving immediately into the otherwise rhetorical question. “So many bands make these giant proclamations where they’re like (*mock rock star voice*) ‘We’re going on hiatus now.’…It seems to me that it’s just simply a press release so that they can still maintain a little bit of juice while they’re not active on the road. I don’t need to get into any of that nonsense.”

So instead referring to that-which-shall-not-be-named, we’ll call it what it ultimately is: the end of an album cycle.  we just toured on the record, and now tour’s over and there’s other things to do. We’re (all) still cool.” Instead of diving in to a new tour or a new studio album, the individual Power Rangers will focus on their other projects before someday returning to initiate the Falcon Megazord again some day. Hause, for starters, has his third solo studio album in the bag, set for release this coming February. And Kelly? “The next thing I want to do is put out a Wandering Birds record,” he says, much to the delight of yours truly, who still finds I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever amongst his favorite albums of the last half-decade. He adds: “I think The Lawrence Arms needs to get back out on the road a little bit, to remind people that we exist.”

Still, in spite of the fact that the one door closing temporarily allows for the reopening of a few other awesome doors, there are those among us who A) really dig the resurgent Falcon and especially dig Gather Up The Chaps and B) who can envision this project existing as a regular thing going forward. While Kelly is quick to point out that a lot of people seem to agree that this album is something to be proud of and that the shows are a lot of fun, he also points out that “it’s important for us to keep it a little bit lean in order to keep it interesting,” perhaps mindful of making sure they don’t overstay their welcome. He explains: “It’s important to be cognizant of what you’re throwing out there. We’re not a young, hungry, up-and-coming band, like PUP or something where people see it and are like “oh my gosh! There’s this new band you’ve never heard of! You have to come!” With us, it’s like “oh, it’s those guys that you’ve seen in various incarnations for the last twenty years!”

The Falcon project, and the addition of Hause in particular, seems to have recharged Kelly a bit, opening his mind to new, or at least different, ways of working. “It’s easy to get surrounded,” says Kelly, particularly of his working relationship with Andriano, with whom he’s been working since their mid-teenage years in Slapstick, “in this echo chamber, where we all grew up doing things the same way, and now we come into this band, and it’s like “oh, you’re a meticulous, attention-to-detail kind of guy. You’re very precise!” Where meanwhile, I’m more improve, you know what I mean?  That tension is really cool, and it’s informed my worldview. I think it’s informed Dave’s worldview. I think we’ve learned a lot from each other. That’s kinda the coolest part about this journey so far, for me.”

For Kelly and his bandmates, and for many of us, it seems from Jump Street that the prospects of a Brendan Kelly-Dan Andriano-Neil Hennessy-Dave Hause supergroup taking the scene by storm seemed to be more than a little awe-inspiring. “Whenever you start doing something new, you get that kind of “new girlfriend syndrome,” where you think, like, “this is going to be the best ever!” There was a point where I think we all had pretty grandiose ideas about what was going to happen,” Kelly explains, his voice still full of excitement at the prospects. Did those things happen? No. But it’s been awesome. It’s been really, really fun. We’ve made great friends, we’ve played great shows, we’ve become closer as dudes. Those things are so much more invaluable than some sort of fleeting twenty minutes of playing the big stage at Reading or whatever. That shit is fleeting and comes and goes. The real building-blocks experiences out of this have been totally beyond my expectations.”

And so, it’s on to the next phase, and on to writing music under the umbrella of a Trump Presidency. But he’s also, got to get a real job. “My job kinda…ended. I was like a permanent freelancer at this ad agency, and they let go all the freelancers at once. And I had been there for four years. So…I mean it’s fine. But I’ve got to get a job.” That’s a bit more of a daunting task when you’re forty, and when you’ve only had to get a job once before. “The thing is, I never really had a job before. I’ve always done this. The band I was in in high school (Slapstick) was fortunate enough that, through whatever stroke of cosmic dumbassery, we became very popular and I haven’t had to have a real job since then. I’ve been lucky enough to stay on the road and keep making music. So this job that I was at for four years was the first job I ever had… before that…”drank beer in a van for twenty-five years!”

Something tells us that ol’ Beex will do just fine for himself. Head below to check out our full interview. We talk about more than just The Falcon, naturally. There’s the whole but about “punching babies in the face,” and a particularly interesting story about an encounter with a fan in Texas while on the tour as a seventeen-year-old that continues to influence the way that he writes music as a forty-year-old! And if you’re so inclined, check out our photo gallery from the aforementioned Providence show here.



DS Photo Gallery: The Falcon w/ Kyle Kinane, Arms Aloft, Rebuilder + Jenn Lombari (Providence, RI)

It probably goes without saying that the reemergence of The Falcon over the last year from their previously indefinite period of hibernation has been one of the coolest and most welcome bright spots over the course of the miserable year that was 2016. (Wait…do falcons hibernate? They don’t, do they? Should have thought that metaphor through.) Dave Hause was added to the already heavyweight lineup of Brendan Kelly, Dan Andriano and Neil Hennessy, and together they put together what’s easily one of the year’s best and most interesting albums (Gather Up The Chaps, Red Scare Industries). they also hit the road for the first ever Falcon tours, playing somewhere in the neighborhood of four-dozen shows across the country (and one at Groezrock) since April.

The Falcon might be the musical brainchild of the delightfully twisted Kelly, and it may have started all those years ago as a fun studio side project, but in a very real sense, they have morphed into a “band” on stage in surprisingly quick fashion. Dying Scene was lucky enough to be at the first show of the Gather Up The Chaps tour in Cambridge back in April, and to have been at one of the last shows for the foreseeable future in Providence last week. In some ways, both shows served as apropos bookends to what was a fun and disturbing train wreck of a year. The Providence gig, rather perfectly, took place at Firehouse 13, a 160-year-old former working firehouse that’s been repurposed as a bar/concert venue after a lying dormant in the middle of a sketchy neighborhood for roughly a quarter of a century. It’s a gritty, no-frills kind of space that, according to the locals, also used to house a swingers club upstairs. Now, what’s great about this apparent set-up is that the holes that used to surround the firepoles are now just plexiglass skylights, meaning that if you’re upstairs, you’ve got a clear view of the concert space below and vice versa. So…do the math in your head on this one, kids. Anyway, both on paper and in practice, it seemed the ideal setting for a band like The Falcon.

Over the span of a little more than an hour, the band ripped through the bulk of The Falcon’s recorded catalog, drawing equally from Gather… and from their Hause-less 2006 debut full-length, Unicornography. It’s a bit of a strange phenomenon when a band goes on its first real tour ten years into their history of making music, creating a situation where all of the fans present are hearing the music for the first time, meaning that decade-old songs like “The La-Z-Boy 500” and “Little Triggers” and “Blackout” appear woven into a setlist alongside newer tracks like “Sergio’s Here,” “Hasslehoff Cheeseburger,” and the deceptively powerful “Black Teeth.” I’ve mentioned on these pages before that drummer Neil Hennessy is one of the more vastly underrated drummers in the scene, and I’m not entirely sure that a Falcon set would operate as seamlessly as it does without Hennessy behind the kit, particularly with music that is as purposely flawed and angular as the subject matter here. If this run is, in fact, the last run for The Falcon for the foreseeable future, both live experiences Dying Scene has covered this year have been positive, fun evenings that left showgoers privileged to know that they had just witnessed something pretty effing cool.

Stand-up comic Kyle Kinane provided direct support on this leg of The Falcon’s tour. Kinane has collaborated with fellow Illinoisian Kelly in the past, and due in part to Kelly’s belief that The Falcon’s sound is left-of-center enough to not necessarily allow for a sonic perfect fit of a touring partner, now seemed the perfect opportunity to hit the road with each other. On paper, it might sound a little strange for a bill at a punk show to feature local openers and a national touring band before a stand-up comic would have the effect of driving down the energy level of the crowd, the exact opposite intended effect of an opening act. But Kyle Kinane is different. Having been in and around the punk scene for the last few decades (Google his set at SideOneDummy Storytellers to get that rundown, or, hell, just go here), Kinane has a grasp of not only what it means to be in front of a punk rock crowd, but what it means to be in the crowd itself, perfectly cognizant of both the sense of community and the searching for relief that so many of the rest of us are. Kinane’s fifty-ish minute set contained pitch-perfect bits about getting kicked out of Canada due to a years’ old DUI arrest in the States, his love of ghost-hunter shows (in spite of their logical fallacies), and perhaps most poignantly, a great and seemingly newly written topical riff about the Ku Klux Klan.

Arms Aloft, the Wisconsin-based four-piece whose Red Scare Industries released full length What A Time To Be Barely Alive is one of the best albums of this calendar year, also serve as touring support on this run. Led by passionate frontman Seth Gile, Arms Aloft play a fierce, emboldend version of punk rock that still maintains some hooky, poppy sensibilities, with boldly left-leaning lyrics that hearken to the core of what socially-conscious protest punk is all about. Like most of us Gile and the fellas are not only pissed off but seemingly legitimately scared about the direction the country took a couple of weeks ago, and while the knee-jerk reaction for many might be to run and hide (or move to Canada), they seem emboldened to fight on, to rail against racism and sexism and hatred and intolerance (not to mention the bullshit going on in Standing Rock), and that’s a really great thing. We’re going to need a few brazen torchbearers, and that’s exactly what Arms Aloft can be.

It’s probably no secret to anybody that checks Dying Scene on the regular that Boston-based punk band Rebuilder ranks pretty high up on my list of favorites. They served as the second local opener on this night and, even correcting for my personal feelings for the quintet, they always are more than deserving of the times that they get to share the stage with much bigger acts. Rebuilder live is a lesson in controlled intensity, as none of the five have much of a penchant for leaving anything on the stage (although, on this night, bassist Daniel Carswell would, in fact, leave the stage for a little bit, searching for a replacement four-string after a technical malfunction with his own). Co-frontmen Sal Medrano and Craig Stanton have an interesting stage relationship, having played together long enough that they push and pull against each other without managing to step on each other sonically in the process.

Rhode Island’s own Jenn Lombari served as local opener, kicking the evening off not long after doors opened at Firehouse 13. Normally one-third of the awesome pop-punk band Lucky United, Lombari took to the stage on this night armed with only an acoustic guitar and her dynamic voice as she scorched through a set that included songs from her own solo catalog and from her “day job” band. Lombari is passionate, and has a lyrical wheelhouse that deals with loss and unrequited love in a way that’s inspired by the high points (yes, you know there were some) of the emo heyday, without coming across as overly saccharine or sappy.

Check out our full photo gallery below!



Belvedere talk Canadian punk scene, new UK tour dates, and a lot more in fan Q&A

In our first attempt at an interactive video Q&A interview singer Steve Rawles of Canadian skate punk veterans Belvedere braved the interwebs to answer 40 questions posed to him from fans around the world. A lot of ground was covered including pre-show rituals, recording of their new album “The Revenge of the Fifth”, the future of melodic punk, upcoming UK shows and festivals, why they decided to go on hiatus after “Fast Forward Eats The Tape”,… ah, hell, just check out all the questions that were posed right here and play the ones that most tickle your fancy!

Belvedere released The Revenge of the Fifth on May 5th through Bird Attack (US), Effervescence(FR), Funtime (BE), and Lockjaw Records (UK).



DS Exclusive: Nathan Leigh (Folk) Premieres Music Video For New Song “The Slumlord’s Kids”

When they said a Trump presidency would be good for punk music,we figured it would most likely start with the folk punkers! This modern day renaissance man (musician, activist, author, playwright and “other stuff sometimes”) has fired the opening salvo with “The Slumlord’s Kids”. The song itself is incredibly rustic, honest and of course, anti-establishment but we enjoyed the video built around the song even more, with it’s dashes of Bob Dylan inspiration. If you’re in the Burroughs, you can catch his next hometown show on December 21st at the Way Station in Brooklyn. The rest of us will just have to settle for watching the video below!



DS Exclusive: Feral Ponies debut title track from upcoming “Blame It On The Classics” full-length

Dying Scene are stoked to debut a brand new track from Newark, Delaware’s Feral Ponies! The track is called “Blame It On The Classics,” and it serves as the title track to the band’s upcoming full length album. Check it out below.

“Blame It On The Classics” is due out December 10th on Panic State Records. Like what you hear? You can pre-order the album on vinyl right here or at the link on the player down below if you’re in to that sort of thing (and you are). The album artwork (pictured above) was designed by the band’s bass player, Pat Higgins, and comes with 3-D glasses!