Search Results for "Photo Gallery"

DS Photo Gallery: The Scandals’ “Lucky Seven” Record Release Show w/Gates, Dead Swords, Nine Eighteen and D’Arcy – Garwood, NJ

The Scandals

When we caught up with Jared Hart, frontman for New Jersey punk band The Scandals, about a year-and-a-half ago, one of the things we chatted about was that the band’s then-long-finished EP was finally hopefully due for release in the upcoming months. As should be readily apparent given the tone of that run-on first sentence, the slow-moving wheels of an increasingly bogged-down music industry had other plans for the Bayonne-based quartet. At long last, the Brian Fallon-produced five-song EP, entitled Lucky Seven, officially found itself with an April 28, 2017, street date, a split release from the good folks at New Jersey’s Panic State Records and Richmond, Virginia’s Say-10 Records. The following day brought the official record release show, an Andy Diamond-booked barn-burner of an affair at The Crossroads in Garwood that was equal parts party and punk show. The night’s heavy emphasis on the unity and the camaraderie in the North Jersey scene was palpable, so much so that other scenes should take note.

The Scandals

The Scandals had a bit of a tumultuous go of it a handful of years ago (maybe someone will tell that story someday in greater detail), but with founding member Hart at the helm, the current lineup (Sean Carney on bass/vocals, Anthony Iarossi on guitar, Paulie Yaremko on drums) has been in tact for somewhere around four or five years now, and the band have never sounded better live. The band’s hour-long headlining set was high-energy from the word “go.” With the addition of his solo career and his more recent spot as a member of Brian Fallon’s touring band The Crowes, Hart has been on a bit of an upward trajectory of late. Still, The Scandals have long been Hart’s baby, and he repeatedly displayed his appreciation for the names and faces that have helped and supported the music along the way. The crowd seemed to reciprocate that appreciation as an endless barrage of crowd surfers made their respective ways toward the stage, met on multiple occasions by Hart himself mid stage-dive. There may have been a couple of technical malfunctions along the way — not the least of which was the untimely demise met by the on-stage margarita machine — but that did little to hamper the positive, extended-family-like vibe that was present really from the time the doors opened.

Nine Eighteen

The support lineup on this show was deep and very much Jersey-centric. d’arcy and Nine Eighteen kicked things off in that order, each one a high-energy trio offering a slightly different but no less uptempo and throwback sort of sound. The former band play a feedback-heavy brand of rock heavily influenced by the good parts of the alternative scene two decades ago (think Smashing Pumpkins before Billy Corgan became…well…Billy Corgan). As a native of the greater Boston area, I couldn’t help but notice sonic similarities between Nine Eighteen and another band of The Scandals’ frequent showmates (from my neck of the woods) Burning Streets. Scandals’ bassist Carney joined the trio on stage for a well-received, and pitch perfect, cover of the Hot Water Music staple “Wayfarer” (pictured above).

Dead Swords

Dead Swords followed and served as a compelling change of pace, albeit one that may have seemed a bit confusing to the more mainstream punks in attendance. The duo is comprised of Alex Rosamilia (The Gaslight Anthem/Brian Fallon and the Crowes)  and Corey Perez (Bottomfeeder, ex-I Am The Avalance and Let Me Run), and they were making their first US appearance on this particular evening. Rosamilia handles main vocal duties in the band, with Perez providing the occasional backing harmony, but the real emphasis in Dead Swords is, as you might imagine, guitars. Heavy guitars. Loopy, distorted, swirling, gloom-and-doomy, plodding guitars. The set featured minimal stage lighting, allowing even more of the focus to be on the sludgy sonic experience. They aren’t really like anything I’ve seen live, at least not in a long time, though there are moments that are vaguely reminiscent of Face To Face bass player Scott Shiflett’s side project, Viva Death, at least in my frame of reference.

Gates

Gates proved direct support and, if you’re not overly familiar with Gates’s live show (as I’ll admit, rather embarassingly enough, I wasn’t) and you have a chance to catch them live in a club like Crossroads…get off your ass and go! The five-piece are difficult to pigeon-hole into even a small handful of genres. They’re a dynamic rock band that plays and performs to the very back of the room, and are more than capable of filling rooms many times larger with their sonic landscapes. They’re at times delicate, at times swirling, at times explosive and at times, frankly, beautiful. Seriously, check out their summer tour dates here and make it a point to go.

While you’re at it, pick up Lucky Seven here, and check out our full photo gallery below.



DS Photo Gallery: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (w/ Masked Intruder and PEARS), Boston, MA

America’s favorite punk rock lounge act supergroup coverband, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, brought the East Coast leg of their tour in support of their greatest hits album, Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits (April 7th, Fat Wreck Chords), through Boston late last week, their first area appearance in close to seven years. The touring lineup of the Gimmes has been a bit of an ongoing, evolving thing over the years, and honestly that’s one of the things that keeps the band fun and compelling as a live act. On this particular run, founding Gimmes Spike Slawson (vocals, occasional uke hunter), Joey Cape (guitar) and Dave Raun (drums) were joined by longtime touring Gimme Scott Shiflett all but taking over his kid brother Chris’s spot on lead guitar and Bad Religion’s Jay Bentley manning Fat Mike’s bass player battle station.

The Gimmes are always a fun time, and this particular night was no exception. One could imagine a situation in which a revolving cast of punk rock characters in their third decade as a recording and touring cover band (side note: the “Denver” 7-inch came out in 1995 and that doesn’t seem real) would have the occasion to go through the proverbial motions, but that hasn’t been the case. Bentley and Shiflett especially displayed an awful lot of playful stage interplay throughout the set, the latter using the opportunity to flex his mighty, mighty lead guitar skills that obviously get overlooked in his normal role as Face To Face’s bass player for the last few decades. Spike Slawson has long since outwardly embraced the role of schticky, occasionally raunchy lounge act crooner, so much so that you sometimes lose sight of the fact that the guy can actually, really, genuinely sing to a degree that he’s made a handful of other people’s songs sound like his own. The ukulele-led rendition of Madonna’s “Crazy For You” from 2014’s Are We Not Men? We Are DIVA! is a perfect example, though it’s worth noting that Madonna didn’t actually write the song either, so at this point it’s just as much Slawson’s as hers. But I digress. Long story short, Boston can be a bit of a notoriously finicky place for punk bands to play. On this particular night, Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s haven’t put out a new studio album (Greatestest Hits notwithstanding) in three years and still headlined in front of more Bostonians at the packed-to-the-rafters 1100-ish capacity Royale nighclub than they have played for in any of their past headlining gigs here in at least a decade, and that’s a pretty awesome thing.

Masked Intruder and PEARS provided direct and opening support in that order. The crowd at Royale turned out in larger capacity for PEARS than I have ever really seen at that particular venue, notorious for their early start times (can’t keep the EDM crowd waiting…), which was inspiring for a band that’s got a more raw, aggressive, throwback punk rock sound than many of their peers. Frontman Zach Quinn performs as though he’s from a bygone era, his banshee-like wailing and shirtless, sweat-covered pacing around the stage creating the impression of a caged animal chomping at the bit to be released.

Masked Intruder seem to be a perfect fit for any lineup that includes Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s. They might have a schtick of their own going, but it’s a really, really good one. Intruder Red was not behind the drum kit on this particular run — he’s in jail, naturally — but the band seemed to miss nary a beat with Lipstick Homicide’s Luke Ferguson taking up drum duties. Masked Intruder are a fun band who seem to take their role as a “fun band” seriously, without taking themselves too seriously. Blue and Green lead most of the high energy charge, having perfected personas as pseudo-New York tough guy common street criminals, at least until roughly the set’s halfway point, when Officer Bradford gradually loosens up and strips down, at which time the whole thing has the potential to devolve completely. Again, it’s schtick, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s all very well done.

Check out our full photo gallery below, and check out upcoming Gimmes dates here.

 



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Nothington / The Bombpops / Western Settings (The Hi Hat – Los Angeles 3/29/2017)

Jay Northington of Nothington

We imagine that Wednesday night shows are hit or miss in most places, but in Los Angeles, the prospects are even more bleak. However, every once in awhile, there comes a lineup so good that even Humpday can’t put a damper on the turn out. This was one of those shows, drawing an impressively sized crowd that even drew fellow punk artists, with members of Get Dead and True Rivals among the audience. Hell, Dying Scene even had two staffers in the bouse for this one! Read the review and check out the photo gallery (nearly a month after the show…really, AP?) from this incredible mid-week performance below!



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Musink Fest 2017 – Day Three (Costa Mesa, CA 3/19)

Day Three was reserved for the most “mature” roster of the weekend with stalwarts like Unwritten Law and Swingin’ Utters sharing the stage alongside genre defining bands like Pennywise and Bad Religion. 125 cumulative years of punk rock history performing on the same day, all in one place equated to an enormous turnout. So for the last time, we dragged Anarchopunk, kicking and screaming, back across the county line to Costa Mesa to cover this, the final day of Musink 2017. Check it out below!



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

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

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

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

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

Check out our full photo gallery below.



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Musink Fest 2017 – Day Two (Costa Mesa, CA 3/18)

Travis Barker with Goldfinger

In sharp contrast to Day One’s lineup, Day Two of the SoCal tattoo convention and music festival saw an influx of emo fans who came in droves to see post-hardcore acts like The Used, Story of the Year, Glassjaw and Hell or Highwater. The drunk, overweight, geezer punks that had filled the fairgrounds the prior afternoon were now replaced with young, well coifed, (better smelling) punks of all sorts. Also included in the ‘Emo Day’ lineup was veteran ska punks Goldfinger who definitely helped to cut the angst a little. Check out all of this and more as Anarchopunk continues his coverage of Musink Fest 2017, below!



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Musink Fest 2017 – Day 1 (Costa Mesa CA, 3/17)

Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals

While Musink Fest may not be mentioned among the top tier festivals, the three day SoCal punk rock fest and tattoo convention (and car show!) which is the brainchild of Blink 182‘s Travis Barker, has been gaining in popularity lately with that band lineups getting better and better every Spring. This year, the festival celebrated it’s 10th anniversary with what was arguably the best overall lineup in it’s history. So good in fact, that we called in our best coyote to smuggle AnarchoPunk across the southern border into Orange County just to cover it. Check out his review and photo gallery of Day One acts NOFX, The Vandals, Lagwagon and A Wilhelm Scream below!



DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Bouncing Souls in Santa Ana, CA (3.16.17)

As my username may suggest, the Bouncing Souls are my all-time favorite band. Seeing them live is always an amazing experience, but having the opportunity to shoot the show was a dream come true. After nearly 30 years in the punk scene, the Souls’ set it still infused with energy as if it is the first time they are gracing the stage. With 10 full length albums, there is no shortage of songs to comprise the setlist (anyone else lucky enough to catch the “For All The Unheard” shows back in 2011? The LA ones still rank as some of the best shows I have ever seen!).

The Bouncing Souls’ catalogue includes many anthemic sing-alongs for their hour+ long set, and this night at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA was no exception. New songs were peppered in with all the old favorites, including “Anchors Aweigh,” “Kate Is Great,” “Ghosts on the Boardwalk,” “The Gold Song,” “Sing Along Forever,” “That Song,” “Writing On The Wall,” “Manthem,” and (of course) “Hopeless Romantic.”

I wish I could have seen the opening bands, but unfortunately, the LA to Orange County traffic on a Thursday prevented me from seeing Get Dead (and I walked in at the end of AJJ‘s set). The Souls alone were worth the hours in traffic and I can’t wait until Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas to see them again!

Check out the gallery from the show below.



DS Photo Gallery: Dropkick Murphys and The Interrupters at Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)

 

For the last fifteen-or-so years, Massachusetts-based Celtic punk icons Dropkick Murphys playing a string of hometown shows has become as synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as their musical forebears Mighty Mighty Bosstones doing a similar thing has been with Christmastime. As the band’s popularity has increased, so too has the size of venues at these St. Patrick’s weekend shenanigans, and the last two years have featured dates at the Agganis Arena, the state-of-the-art, 7200-capacity hockey rink located on the campus of Boston University. For many bands, the tendency on such a large stage might be to play “just the hits” in order to cater to the casual fans, but Dropkick Murphys, as it turns out, are not one of those bands. Say what you will about their level of “Tessie”/”Shipping Up To Boston”- inspired fame, but Dropkick Murphys have long been conscious or remembering the fans that’ve been there since the days when the clubs they played would fit within the confines of the stage of the Agganis (case in point: yours truly first saw the Dropkicks in August 1997, when they played in between the Mr. Rogers Project and The Pietasters at the Living Room in Providence).

A confetti cannon (seen above) and the instrumental “Lonesome Boatman” from the Dropkicks’ latest release 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory (released January 6th on their own Born & Bred Records) introduced the band to the stage before they proceeded to launch into their 2007 hit “State Of Massachusetts.” If I can take a minute to inject myself into this story, here’s where I publicly apologize to Ken Casey & Company. I think it’s important to point out that I count myself as one of those hometown fans that’s been hypercritical (unfairly so) of the band over the last dozen post-“Tessie” years, though that’s strictly a musical critique; their tremendous fundraising and community work and their ongoing penchant for giving local bands a break is not only beyond reproach but is ultimately the stuff to which all bands should aspire. But I’ll tell you what…since the 90 minute set that began with the opening tenor banjo riff on “…Massachusetts,” yours truly has been not only back aboard the Good Ship Murphys, but more than a little embarrassed about having jumped off in the first place.

The setlist on this night, as on most nights, was pretty varied and all-encompassing. Sure 11 Short Stories… was well represented, but so too were earlier albums like Do Or Die, Blackout and The Warrior’s Code on songs like “Boys On The Docks,” “Time To Go,” and, of course, the latter album’s title track, which is a shoutout to local boxing legend “Irish” Micky Ward who was, of course, in attendance. What’s perhaps most impressive about a Dropkick Murphys set circa 2017, aside maybe from their ability to keep a crowd constantly fired up, is the level of sheer musicianship among the group’s core. Ken Casey is, by his own admission, not the world’s most astute bass player, but he’s also their unquestionable heart-and-soul. Drummer Matt Kelly and principle frontman Al Barr are about as quietly strong-up-the-middle as you’ll find. Like the band as a whole, the trio of Tim Brennan, Jeff DeRosa and Kevin Rheault (longtime tech who’s filling in for James Lynch on this run), however, don’t get nearly enough credit. At any given time, the three trade off between guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, tin whistle and keyboard duties, rarely manning the same battle station for more than two or three songs in a row. The seamless nature that things seem to run in that regard is  really awesome, in the literal sense of the word.

Direct support on this night, as on the bulk of the month-long tour, came from The Interrupters. The ska punk quartet have been mighty busy over the last nine months or so since releasing their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud; since playing the duration of last year’s Warped Tour, they headlined full Europe and US tours of their own before heading back across the pond to open for Green Day immediately before this Dropkicks spot. It’s no secret that The Interrupters have been one of yours truly’s favorite bands to cover over the last few years, and performances like this particular one exemplify why, at least in part. The insanely talented (and yet somehow still wildly underrated) rhythm section of twin brothers Jesse (drums) and Justin (bass) Bivona keep the gas pedal floored, with Justin teaming with big brother Kevin (guitar, above) and frontwoman Aimee “Interrupter” as a three-headed ball of constant frenetic energy at the front of the stage. As Kevin mentioned when we caught up for an interview on these pages last year, the band are mindful that they’ve developed a sound product that definitely works, and if anything critical can be said of how they’ve made it work at the end of another long, successful tour run, it’s almost that they make it look TOO easy. (Oh, and they’re one of the only bands that can cover an Operation Ivy classic, “Sound System,” without sounding like a cheap, watered-down knockoff.)

Also opening this night (and most of the rest of the tour) was genuine Irish punk band Blood Or Whiskey. With all apologies to the Dublin-based sextet, a variety of communication mishaps between arena staff lead yours truly on a half-hour-long wild goose chase that resulted in me missing the entirety of their set, save for a song about frontman Dugs Mulhooly’s favorite pub back home closing down, only to be replaced by a coffee shop. Sorry lads…we’ll catch you next time around, we promise.

Head below for our full photo gallery from the Interrupters and Dropkick Murphys sets. And a special thanks to my much younger brother from another mother Nick Gold for the assist. Good on ya, bud.



DS Photo Gallery: Slingshot Dakota with Ratboys, Lilith and Pushflowers (Boston, MA)

Slingshot Dakota

The dynamic duo that is Slingshot Dakota have teamed up with Chicago’s Ratboys for a three-week-ish tour that’ll take the two bands to and from the annual SXSW festival in Austin. The second night of the aforementioned tour was a sold out (in advance!!) stop at Boston’s O’Brien’s Bar, where the Topshelf Records labelmates teamed up with local bands Lilith and Pushflowers for one of the more positive and musically diverse and inspiring bills that yours truly has had the good fortune to take in in quite some time.

Pushflowers

Pushflowers got things rolling on the evening, and while yours truly had not previously heard the four-piece, that was for good reason: this particular occasion marked their first ever show. In point of fact, knowing that it’s a band’s debut show can, at times, make showgoers almost as nervous as the actual band who’s playing said show. After a very brief first song false-start, any and all fears were quickly laid to rest, as co-front-women Rocio Del Mar and Justine DeFeo led the band through a groove-heavy half-hour danceable set of synth-pop-infused rock tunes. So groove-heavy and danceable, in fact, that crowd-members and fellow bands alike were left with the impression that the band were lying about it being their first show. Not your textbook Dying Scene band, for sure, but a hell of a lot of fun nonetheless.

Lilith

Allston-based three-piece Lilith were up next. Like Pushflowers, they’re also not your textbook Dying Scene band, but as I said a few paragraphs ago, this was a fun and diverse lineup. Lilith are raw and more than a little show-gazey in style and substance, with a slightly stripped-down version of a sound that would have been a perfect fit in the college radio scene in the Northeast or the Pacific Northwest two decades ago. Thankfully, we have them here now.

 

Ratboys

Ratboys are serving as direct support on this tour, though they could certainly be headlining venues like O’Brien’s in their own right. Ratboys are a garage band with serious chops (honestly — watch David Sagan play guitar for half a song and you’ll get it), who thankfully have a knack for seemingly not taking themselves too seriously (let’s just say there were Crocs involved). Frontwoman Julia Steiner has a bit of an unassuming presence about her yet she has a voice and a playing style that is truly captivating. Ratboys are one of the catchier bands that I’ve had come down the digital ‘pike in the last small handful of years, and their live sound is a few notches above their recorded sound, which is a wonderful, welcome sign.

 

Slingshot Dakota

And speaking of bands whose live presence blows the proverbial doors off their recorded sound…Slingshot Dakota turned in a next-level intense performance, the likes of which have become their trademark. I’ll state rather simply and directly that if you haven’t seen Slingshot Dakota live, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The wife-husband combo of vocalist/keyboardist Carly Comando and her partner-in-crime Tom Patterson are easily one of the more dynamic live bands going. Comando’s voice and playing show range as she quiets things down and forces you to pay attention before the duo drop the intensity hammer down and beat you into submission. Where some drummers in such a situation would be content to serve simply as the sonic backbone to the band, Patterson plays loud and heavy, and is a constant ball of percussive energy. You sometimes forget that you’re watching a two-piece band, until one of them pauses between songs to steal a playful kiss from the other. That the two of them have chemistry probably goes without saying, but they seem to continually be genuinely in awe of getting to play with and inspire each other personally and creatively.

Check out our full photo gallery below, and seriously, go here to find out where you can catch Slingshot Dakota and Ratboys in concert over the next couple weeks. It’ll be well worth the trip.



DS Exclusive: Frank Turner plays his biggest North American show to date, w/Arkells, The Bouncing Souls (Boston, MA)

Frank Turner wound down the North American touring run in support of his 2015 full-length, Positive Songs For Negative People, in a big, big way; by headlining the Agganis Arena in his adopted American hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Turner has played the greater Boston area an awful lot over the last decade, and this particular night, Turners 2031st show as a solo artist, marked his biggest headlining show in the Western Hemisphere to date. It doesn’t exactly reek of journalistic credibility to insert yourself and your outlet into a story, but, well, this is 2017 America. Here at Dying Scene, we’ve covered Frank Turner perhaps more extensively than most other artists over the last half-dozen years, and in some ways Dying Scene’s increase in readership has mirrored Turner’s own increase in listenership on this side of “the pond.” It’s not a 1-to-1 causal relationship, mind you, just a reflection on our similar paths; we’ve caught up with him at record store performances and small club shows and large club shows to opening for bands like Dropkick Murphys and manning afternoon sets at larger festivals. So it was with great pleasure (and perhaps more than a little pride) that we got the chance to take in the events of the evening as Turner and his high-powered backing band, The Sleeping Souls, did their best to blow the roof off the not-quite-capacity 7200-seat arena located on the campus of Boston University.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled, full-journalistic-integrity portion of the recap. Turner took the stage promptly at 9:20pm accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and started in alone on the first few verses of his newest track, “The Sand In The Gears,” before being joined by the remainder of the Sleeping Souls (Ben Lloyd on guitar, Nigel Powell on drums, Tarrant Anderson on bass and Felix Hagan, filling in for new father Matt Nasir on keys/mandolin/tambourine/etc) for the song’s group singalong outro. From there, as you might imagine the bulk of the set’s remaining twenty songs drew from Turner’s three most recent — and most popular — albums; Positive Songs…, 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, and of course, 2011’s breakthrough, England Keep My Bones, though even half-dozen older tracks turned in to rousing, full-audience singalongs as well. Frank Turner fans are notably passionate and rowdy, and the increased scope of the venue didn’t seem to invite very many casual fans; yours truly did several laps around the floor and the seating areas and found nary an ass in their proverbial seat for the bulk of the evening.

No doubt because of his increased popularity in Europe, but Turner didn’t seem overwhelmed by the size of the venue; appreciative and in awe, maybe, but not overwhelmed. While Turner’s roots remain very firmly planted in his love of punk and hardcore and metal, the energy that Turner and his band have always played with are perfectly suited to play to the very back of even the largest venue, performing as though it’s their duty to keep even those in the cheap seats out of their…well…seats. Before the night was over, the set would feature a full-venue “wall of hugs” (think a metal show’s ‘wall of death,’ only with much less death), opener Will Varley circling the venue and selfie-ing with the people in the top of the back row before taking a celebratory Jameson shot with Turner, and the frontman himself crowd-surfing for the bulk of show-closer “Four Simple Words.” As Turner himself pointed out, some of these efforts might seem like (and were, in fact) typical arena rock frontman hijinks, but they have an effect of engaging everybody in the process. Rock shows are, by definition, communal, celebratory events, and Turner and his mates have perfected the art of taking their responsibility to the audience seriously while conversely not taking themselves too seriously at all.

New Jersey punk veterans The Bouncing Souls served as direct support for this particular night, their only night on the Frank Turner tour, and their first Boston show since the release of their 2016 full-length, Simplicity. The Souls have conquered stages across the globe for more than a quarter-century, so they certainly seemed right at home on the Agganis’ large stage. The band ripped through eighteen songs in their forty-ish minute set, kicking things off with “That Song,” from 2001’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation. From a strictly sonic perspective, straight-forward one-guitar punk rock doesn’t necessarily translate well to a large hockey arena, as the sound tends to come across as loud and muddy. That seemed to be the case for the first half of the Souls’ set on this night, although things certainly improved from there. And the four-piece certainly had more than their fair share of amped up fans in attendance, with traditional favorites like “Sing Along Forever,” “Anchors Aweigh,” “Lean On, Sheena” and, of course, “True Believers,” inspiring gang chantalongs from all points (the latter featuring an unannounced, stealth-style on stage appearance from Boston punk legend Mike McColgan on guest vocals).

Arkells had been touring alongside Turner on the bulk of this run, and while they weren’t direct support on this particular evening, they certainly could have been. The Hamilton, Ontario-based five-piece hit the ground running from the first notes of set-opener “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete).” This is the first time that Arkells have graced the pages of Dying Scene, and their power-pop sound is outside the traditional scope of Dying Scene’s coverage spectrum, but their high energy, politically-charged set filled with positivity and unity was perfect for the evening’s overall theme. Arkells frontman Max Kerman rivals Turner’s own energy, and he had propelled himself onto the railing and into the crowd before the first chorus of the set’s aforementioned first song. If you’re a fan of Turner’s brand of arena folk-rock (and we are) and have a penchant for modern rock radio bands like Twenty One Pilots and Catfish and the Bottlemen, give them a Google.

With apologies to show-opener and frequent Turner tour mate Will Varley, the scope of the setting and the check-in procedure contained therein meant that yours truly missed the photo op portion of his set, though the latter half of his set that we did catch (especially “Talking Cat Blues”) were especially well-received be the vocal crowd. We’ll catch you next time, Will; promise.

Check out our full photo gallery below.



DS Photo Galley: Rebuilder w/City Limits, In The Pines and Dan Webb + The Spiders (Boston, MA)

It’s awfully tough to keep any sort of independent music scene alive in a city like Boston, Massachusetts, circa any time in the 21st century. Continually-expanding gentrification and (sometimes comically bad) law enforcement crackdowns on house shows and DIY spaces have combined to help make it difficult for a really thriving scene to truly take root. Difficult…but not impossible. Enter a space like O’Brien’s bar in the city’s bustling, not 1000% overpriced Allston neighborhood. The cash-only hundred-ish capacity spot is no frills without being truly a dive, and its poorly-lit back-corner stage has been the site of more than its fair share of local and national barn-burning acts over the last handful of years, thanks in no small  part to local promoter Ryan “The Terrible” Agate.

Rebuilder

Bands like Rebuilder and Dan Webb & The Spiders have each pounded the sweaty confines of O’Brien’s a fair amount of late, and combined to both headline and local-open (in that order) a pretty kick-ass show last weekend. It was a busy night for the local punk community; AFI were headlining a mile or so down the street from O’Brien’s, and Boston-based street punk OC45 were playing an album release show down the road in Jamaica Plain. Yet the crowd was near-capacity as Rebuilder took the stage late into the evening. The five-piece (yes, they have a keyboard player, Patrick Hanlin, and yes he was on stage this night; his lack of appearance in the photo galley below is merely a reflection of the cramped stage and the photographer’s lack of photography skills) just finished tracking a new EP (more on that later) at Jason Maas’s Getaway Recording studio in nearby Haverhill, Massachusetts, and took the occasion to rip through the half-dozen songs in their entirety. Most of the songs were largely unknown to most show-goers, but that didn’t stop the crowd from being surprisingly vocal and ambitiously rowdy.

Dan Webb and the Spiders

Dan Webb & The Spiders, in this writer’s humble opinion, are one of better — and more overlooked — bands in the local scene. As I’ve told you a bunch on the pages here at Dying Scene, Webb and the boys play a tight, aggressive style of garage punk rock that is catchy and compelling from the word “go.” The Razorcake review of their recent split release with fellow Massachusetts rockers leads with a comment that “DWATS should be huge,” and yours truly couldn’t say it better himself. There set on this night was punchy and no-nonsense, stylistically different but otherwise a kindred spirit bookend to the aforementioned headliners.

City Limits

New Jersey’s City Limits and Philly’s In The Pines made the trek up from points south to serve as the delicious, mid-Atlantic filling an otherwise Boston-based sandwich. In The Pines, if you’re not familiar, are a coleslaw-obsessed four-piece who’ve got a new EP, “Sides,” out tomorrow (February 10th) on Black Numbers. They’re a textbook Black Numbers band; raw, intense angular post-punk goodness. City Limits, meanwhile, are a another four-piece band who play a melodic punk style that’s been compared accurately to Off With Their Heads, Dear Landlord and, of course, The Lawrence Arms. Neither of the latter are Boston bands, obviously, but as newer bands, they both represent the sort of musical spark plug that their (and other) local scenes need to keep pushing the needle forward.

Check out our full photo gallery 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: