Search Results for "DS Exclusive"

Exclusive: Jason Cruz spills surprising details on new Strung Out EP “Black Out The Sky”

Last week word quickly spread through the interwebs that California punk legends Strung Out had begun working on a new album titled “Black Out The Sky”. Beyond that, details were largely nonexistent, but luckily for you DS readers we were able to get the full scoop directly from singer Jason Cruz himself.

What we learned is as exciting as it is unexpected. Basically, this isn’t going to be your standard Strung Out release. For one, it’s going to be acoustic. Yeah. Second, its apparently going to be some of the band’s “darkest” work to date. Intriguing! Here’s exactly what Cruz told us:

“Strung out is currently working on a 5-7 song EP entitled “Black Out The Sky” set to release early summer 2017 on Fat Wreck Chords. BOTS will be a collection of acoustic songs written with a loose theme to match the title. To simply call it an ‘acoustic album’ would not be doing it justice and it very well may be our darkest release yet.

Never writing same record twice – yet at the same time staying true to our fans has always been our priority as a band. We do not plan on abandoning our signature sound but with the way things are now, this record may be the perfect remedy in a world where everything is turned up to eleven. We are confident fans of Strung Out will not be disappointed.”

We’ll keep you posted as progress is made on the album and with any luck we’ll convince the band to let us premiere a song early for you guys. Stay tuned!

Strung Out’s last album Transmission.Alpha.Delta was released in early 2015 on Fat Wreck Chords.



DS Exclusive: Crusades premiere new song and video, plus interview with singer Dave Williams

Sweet news! Crusades have released a lyric video for “1713 (The Scorching Fevers)” off their upcoming This is a Sickness and Sickness Will End, out March 7th through Anxious & Angry (US) and Countless Altars (Canada/World).

Even better news! I was lucky enough to sit down (via e-mail) with Crusades singer and guitarist Dave Williams to talk about songwriting, heavy music, and cathartic art. Click here to check out the video and the interview!



DS Photo Gallery: Bryan McPherson, The Radiator Rattlers and Nick The Barbarian (Nashua, NH)

Hard-working protest punk troubadour Bryan McPherson spent the better part of December touring eastward from his adopted homeland of California to his original homeland of Boston, Massachusetts, and he’s spent the better part of the past few weeks headed back to the West Coast. Early on the post-inauguration leg of the tour, he rolled through The Thirsty Turtle in yours truly’s original hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire. It probably goes without saying that the present administration is going to require — and inspire — a great deal of fiery protest literature and music and art. McPherson has been a thorn in the side of the status quo for many years now (you may recall his being banned from performing at Disney-owned locations a couple years back while opening for Dropkick Murphys), though his words take on added gravity now.

On the morning of this particular show, women (and the men and children who love them) took to the streets in overwhelming numbers (including an estimated 175,000 in nearby Boston) to protest the policies of the sexist, racist Cheeto-In-Chief, making the firebrand McPherson’s performance a perfect bookend. With little fanfare amidst an intimate but attentive crowd, McPherson ripped through a set comprised mostly of tracks from his last couple full-length albums, 2015’s Wedgewood and 2012’s American Boy, American Girl.

The Radiator Rattlers

Direct support was provided on this night by The Radiator Rattlers, a “cow-punk rock and roll” band from Haverhill, Massachusetts. The raucous seven-piece wasted little time between songs, instead blazing through a high-energy set forty-five-ish minute set that closed with a rather spontaneous, crowd-inspired cover of the Fear classic “I Love Living In The City.”

Nick The Barbarian

Nashua-based tattoo-artist-turned-one-man-band Nick The Barbarian played his typical booze-fueled set of songs about songs about ass-kicking debauchery and murdering the Westboro Baptist Church. His set is a lot of fun, although there was roughly an hour between show-opener Berten Lee’s finger-picked folk punk set and that of the Barbarian, all-but killing whatever sort of momentum had been building for the five-act show (a Massachusetts-based acoustic duo called Hometown Eulogy also played, and though they’re enjoyable, they’re more along the lines of Woodstock-era folk and not included in this particular story), though the Rattlers and McPherson certainly brought the intensity back late in the evening.

Check out the full photo galley below.

 



DS Interview: Dave Hause Goes West and Gets Hopeful on “Bury Me In Philly”

This might be a bit of an abnormal way to start a lengthy feature piece about the pending release of an artist’s latest album, but in the interest of full disclosure, yours truly considers Dave Hause’s sophomore album, 2013’s Devour, to be the pinnacle of his personal list of ‘desert island’ albums. Very few, if any, albums have had the kind of immediate impact on me that that one did, and it’s only become more compelling — and more deeply personal — due to a variety of real-life issues that have transpired since its release. (Quick anecdote: the first time I heard Devour standout track “Autism Vaccine Blues” was live in concert when Hause opened for Flogging Molly in Boston, and I vividly recall my brother and I looking at each other when the track was over, each only able to mutter an awe-struck “Whoa…” — that’s the only time that’s ever happened in the many hundreds of band performances I’ve ever seen).

And yet, to paraphrase what a wise man once said, you don’t really exist as an artist until the release of album number three. And so it is that on February 3rd, Hause will release his third full-length album as a solo artist, a feat he has not accomplished with any prior musical endeavor (The Loved Ones went on indefinite hiatus after two albums. Paint It Black released three albums, but Hause appears only on the band’s 2003 debut, CVA). The idea that this is his third album with any one musical project seems to resonate especially loudly to the Philly-turned-Cali songwriter “It’s interesting to be hitting the point where I’ve had more releases and more time spent and more records sold and more shows played as a solo guy than I did in the Loved Ones,” he points out, adding that it would take twenty years for some of his musical peers who’ve undertaken similar solo endeavors  (Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Brian Fallon, etc) to accomplish.

To say that there was a chance that solo album number three never saw the light of day is not overstating the matter. “I struggled for a while to get the record done,” explains Hause, adding that he “struggled with, well, did I want to continue making music or go back to being a carpenter?” For all of its immense virtue, Devour tugs on some weighty, dark heartstrings, telling equally of the tale of the demise of Hause’s marriage and the realization that our generation was sold a bill of goods by our immediate predecessors. Following up the gravity of that subject matter represented tough, uphill sledding to say the least.

But a lot has happened for Hause since 2013, not the least of which are a new engagement, a cross-country move to the California coast, and a deepening personal and professional relationship with his kid brother, Tim. Ever the razor-sharp observational songwriter, it was only a matter of time before the creative juices got flowing, though the path may have been a little more circuitous than normal. “The producer that I was working with (in the early post-Devour days) was not hearing what I was hearing in any of the demos,” says Hause. “He was, like, unpleasable. So that part of it was really frustrating.”

So ho better to bring in when you’re feeling stuck and frustrated, then, than…your kid brother, Tim, who’s more than a decade your junior? For the unaware, Tim made his touring debut playing keyboards and guitar on the 2014 tour in initial support of Devour, and fulfilled the same role on the two-month nationwide tour that Hause did alongside Chris Farren in support of Rocky Votolato the following year. While it initially fell during that aforementioned period of songwriting frustration, the tour proved fruitful in more ways than one. “I was complaining on that tour,” says Hause, “and I was like ‘I don’t know about this whole Santa Barbara thing; I feel like I haven’t seen a black girl in twenty-eight days’ and (Tim) said ‘that’s what you need to be writing about!‘” As Farren astutely pointed out at the time, such stuck points in writing tend to be followed by a flood of ideas, and that proved to be the case here, albeit eventually.

I’ve always been pretty jealous of guys who have musical soulmates,” says Hause, explaining that while he felt lucky to have such counterparts in his earlier bands The Curse and Step Ahead, those partners were “lost to the crush of working class pressure!” (One owns a beer distributor outside Philly, the other is a teacher.) He found that Lennon/McCartney — or at least Steinkopf/Keinlen or Ragan/Wollard — connection again — hopefully once and for all — in his brother, Tim. “He has this really old soul,” says the elder Hause, a certain sense of wisdom that comes from having lived through the death of his mother when he was a child and his best friend in rather public fashion in more recent years. That wisdom “helps us relate on most matters,” says big brother, quickly continuing that “he’s also got this youthful energy that impacts on ways that I wouldn’t necessarily look at things…. He doesn’t have any punk rock guilt, he’s just fierce and he’s really creative.”

Once Hause brought his brother in the fold, a chance introduction to a childhood musical hero, Eric Bazilian of Philadelphia-based rock band The Hooters (best known for their 1985 radio staple “And We Danced,” and less well known for being the band that a then-seven-year-old Hause saw as his first concert) led to Hause’s renewed passion for songwriting. “I played the material I had for Eric and also for Dan Andriano and Pete Steinkopf, because I was driving myself crazy…and all of a sudden it became clear that I was just not working in the right environment.” Hause severed ties with the producer he’d been frustrated with, and Bazilian and William Wittman subsequently signed on to engineer and produce Hause’s third album. Collectively, Bazilian and Wittman have worked with a veritable “Who’s Who” of rock musicians who maintain melodic pop sensibilities: Cyndi Lauper, The Outfield, The Hold Steady, Scorpions, and on and on and on. While certainly not household names in the punk rock scene, they proved to be the ideal collaborators to pull on Hause’s strengths as a songwriter without shying away from Hause’s punk sensibilities. “They were very vigilant with the punk roots thing,” says Hause, explaining that he has “definitely heard over the course of making the first two solo records that ‘you really need to dial back your punk roots.’ Bill and Eric were not afraid of bands like The Clash or Green Day or The Buzzcocks as reference points in the studio.”

Once principle work with Bazilian began, things took shape quickly. “The biggest learning experience with this album is to trust your gut,” says Hause, “to do the work and not second-guess yourself. Some of those songs (that ended up on Bury Me…) are exactly the way they originally spilled out on the first try, so it’s a lesson you’ve got to keep learning I guess as a creative type.” What resulted was not only the end product that is Bury Me In Philly, Hause’s most wide-ranging album to date, but also a whole lot more. “I wrote a ton of songs,” he explains, “I have another whole record that’s already tracked, it just needs to be mixed.” There’s also another All Brights EP in the can and due for release this coming Spring, plus another EP worth of what Hause calls “post-Devour malaise,” and “what could end up being a new Loved Ones record.”

Moving to California and falling in love seem to have inspired our friend Dave in new directions, ways that he hasn’t been inspired in quite some time, and the lyrics on Bury Me In Philly reflect that bit of newfound optimism. “Sadness and frustration and all of the things that (Devour) was squeezing out give you a false sense of being more compelling than joy and happiness do,” reflects Hause. “I think I’ve learned that that is A) not true and B) (joy and happiness) pull on a different set of heartstrings.” On songs like “The Mermaid,” “Helluva Home,” and “Divine Lorraine,” Hause branches out, incorporating different sonic elements than we might be used to, while still maintaining those elements that make a Dave Hause song a textbook Dave Hause song. He explains: “I think there’s a thing that you would identify, if you were playing a Dave Hause song, whether it’s a Loved Ones song or a solo song, that’s my thing. That straight-up, “No Surrender” influenced punk rock thing that a lot of us in our genre are pretty good at. Whether it’s “Lean On Sheena” or whatever, we all do that thing. But I’m never all that interested in just cranking out ten of those. None of my favorite bands did that.”

There’s also a sense of gratitude that comes through on songs like “The Ride,” gratitude not only from his new relationship but fueled at least in part by Hause quitting booze and drugs. That latter decision came at the beginning of the aforementioned tour with Votolato and noted O’Douls connoisseur Farren, and has continued in the eighteen months that have followed. “Touring is grueling, and drinking heavily is grueling on your ability to get more than one thing done,” he states. “It’s just easier to get all kinds of things done when your goal is not to get to the party or to get fucked up, and then the next morning you’re sort of shaking that goal off and trying to get other things done…with that off the table, your plate starts to clear up a little.” 

Quintessentially Californian references to twelve-dollar juices aside, Hause’s newfound penchant for cleaner living doesn’t quite take center stage on Bury Me In Philly, and that’s by design. “There’s a handful of songs that I wrote that lyrically deal head on with that, and we didn’t put them on the record on purpose,” Hause explains, instead choosing to take his time letting that particular music see the light of day once it’s been aided by the context that only time can provide. “It’s such well-worn ground lyrically that I’ve got to figure out what the angle is on it that’s compelling to me.” Hause explains that while he’s not working a specific program of sobriety, he’s been inspired personally and professionally by the idea of taking things one day at a time. “The clarity that has come (from that mentality) allows me to compress in a different way, and I have a lot of gratitude for being able to do that…Instead of reaching for a bottle of Jameson when the thought of all that pressure comes on, it’s kind of like “okay, let’s just figure out the first problem and we’ll tackle the rest of it as it comes”.” 

With kid brother Tim by his side, Hause is gearing up to hit the road as a solo artist accompanied by a full band for the first time. Named The Mermaid, the band also features Miles Bentley on bass. If the last name sounds familiar, he’s the son of Bad Religion bass player and de facto manager Jay Bentley. Jay proved inspirational to the Hause brothers on their recent nationwide tour together (along with Against Me!), and it was Tim’s decision to carry that family feeling forward when it came time to put together a band. They’ll all combine to give the album its full due; tours of Europe, the States, Canada and Australia are in the works, and Hause seems fired up to get rolling, just like he was in his early, post-Loved Ones days as a solo artist. “I hustled, and that comes from my working-class background,” says Hause. After the economy collapsed a half-dozen years ago, Hause’s construction business dried up. “I couldn’t swing a hammer because there was no money left in it, so I said ‘well, I guess I’ll go strum’.”

That mentality continues to fuel Hause’s artistic fire. “I approach this record just like I approached (his debut solo album, Resolutions). I think that maintaining that sense that there’s a lot of great music out there and I’m not entitled to any of your ears (is vital),” meaning that if he found his way into your ears and, by extension, your hearts, he’s more than earned it. “I think that’s the way to go, because you can’t assume anything these days.” The full-band accompaniment raises the stakes for Hause, but he seems hellbent on doing the work it’ll take to succeed. It’s a little bit scary, but we’re gonna do the work that it takes to take on whatever comes next. In general, socially, I need to be thinking that way as an adult with the current political climate. Like I don’t know what’s next, but where’s the shovel, I’ll get digging!

Head below to read our admittedly lengthy interview. We cover quite a bit of the current political climate as you might imagine, all while extolling the wide-ranging virtues of Bad Religion, The Hold Steady, and 80’s radio gods Bryan Adams and Rick Springfield. There’s also a story about how Chuck Ragan, Brian Fallon and Dan Andriano are responsible for the lack of recent Loved Ones material, and how in spite of living in California, he may be more of a Philadelphian than ever. And as you might have guessed for an artist from the City of Brotherly Love, there’s plenty about Tim and his influence.

Bury Me In Philly is out February 3rd via Rise Records.

 



January’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

The first installment of Hidden Gems for 2017 is hot off the press and the Orginal Content Team has continued their annual tradition of mediocrity. In celebration of another year of employment, they again mailed it in, offering up the least amount of featured artists since last January…way to go team… Luckily, we believe in quality over quantity and all five acts on the list this month are incredible! Even better though, we’re betting they’re not on your radar yet. So, let’s get ’em on there! Check ’em all out below!



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!