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Bad Religion

Bad Religion is an American punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1980. The band’s lyrics cover topics related to religion, politics, society, the media and science. Musically, they are noted for their melodic sensibilities and extensive use of three-part vocal harmonies. The band has experienced multiple line-up changes, with singer Greg Graffin being the band’s only constant member, though fellow founding members Jay Bentley and Brett Gurewitz have also been with the band for most of their history while guitarist Brian Baker has been a member of the group since 1994. Guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller have been members of the band since 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Bad Religion cancel UK and European tour

Bad Religion have canceled their UK and European tour. The reason for the cancellation was a family emergency. You can see the band's post below.

Bad Religion's Greg Graffin to release new book

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion will be releasing a new book. It is called Punk Paradox and will be out November 8 via Hachette Books. The book is described as, A historical memoir and cultural criticism of punk rock’s evolution […] Punk Paradox is Graffin's life narrative before and during L.A. punk's early years, detailing his observations on the genre's explosive growth and his band's steady rise in importance. Greg Graffin released his most recent book Population Wars: A New Perspective on Competition and Coexistence in 2015 and Bad Religion released their biography Do What You Want in 2020.

DS Album Review: Anti-Flag – “Lies They Tell Our Children”

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first […]

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first concept album and is a collection of probably their finest and most forward songs since their ’96 debut album. The album is 11 tracks, and seven of them have guest features, from Ashrita Kumar from Pinkshift, Campino from Die Toten Hosen, Tim McIlrath, and Brian Baker from Bad Religion, to name a few. While I usually believed that too many guest features were a red flag, this album shows that if you have an idea, you have a clear message, and people believe in the message you’re trying to bring forth, the number of guest features does not matter.

Let’s rewind to 2020; what the fuck happened? Covid, the world stood still; Anti-Flag released an album like many others. Now let’s fast-forward to 2022: war, impending doom, and most of us have given up hope that the system will ever change. Here’s Anti-Flag with clear, straight-to-the-point messages. There’s no misinterpreting anything with their lyrics on this album. Happy New Year, all; I’ll let Anti-Flags point out what is wrong with the system in 2023. But Lies They Tell Our Children doesn’t hold back on any song, and it’s time to go in for the kill. Anti-Flag has tried to perfect the balance between catchy hooks, headbanging instruments, and meaningful lyrics for the past three decades. I thought 20/20 Vision was a masterpiece, but Lies They Tell Our Children has outdone it. So I’ll get on with my review, and I’ll tell you this: I’m a sucker for any album that takes open digs and trashes the Government in any country.

“Sold Everything is a solid album opener; the song starts slowly with the rhythm guitar taking the lead before Justin Sane jumps in with their much-appreciated political lyrics. “Neo-liberal white saviors, Murdoch and Fox News. Fuck the Pittsburgh police and our president too!” sings Justin Sane, backed by the rest of the band during the song. Next up is “Modern Meta Medicine” ft. Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage taking their dig at Big Pharma, and I would like to say America’s significant consumption of pills and other things. Still, the fact is that it isn’t just a problem in America but everywhere in the world. While “Sold Everything” doesn’t set the tone for the album, this song does. It’s fast-paced with loud drumming and guitars but again highlights the catchy hooks. We’ve all heard this song for some time, so there’s nothing I can say that everyone else hasn’t caught on to. “Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die” ft. Shane Told of Silverstein was the first single to shoot off this album. “The lies we tell our children shaping everything we know/ Turning fact into fiction streamed on every single show” goes well into how the misinformation isn’t anything we can run from. Especially the younger generation has much more access to knowledge than the later generations had while growing up.

I’ll skip a bit because we’ve all heard most of the features, but let’s bring “Shallow Graves” ft. Tré Burt into focus. Now this song is probably one of the biggest standouts, in my opinion, and sad it wasn’t released as a single. This song sounds different, with heavy guitar riffs, rough vocals, and rapid drumming. But it has a more unpolished indie vibe before it goes into the classic Anti-Flag sound throughout the album. “Only In My Head” is another standout track, but this one is without guest features. “They are after me/ But no one’s free,” screams Justin Sane throughout the track, with the rapid machine drumming and simple “oh’s” from the band in between, concluding a great album. Things changed over the years, but Anti-Flag hasn’t that much, and that isn’t bad because this album feels like the beginning of something big to come.

Standouts to listen to: SHALLOW GRAVES, IMPERIALISM, SOLD EVERYTHING and ONLY IN MY HEAD

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DS Album Review: The Real McKenzies – “Songs of the Highlands, Songs of the Sea”

The Real McKenzies are celebrating thirty years as a band with a brand new album, Songs of the Highlands, Songs of the Sea (Fat Wreck Chords). The album itself was preceded by the release of the single “Leave Her Johnny”, a traditional 19th-century sea shanty that has been performed by many folk acts over the […]

The Real McKenzies are celebrating thirty years as a band with a brand new album, Songs of the Highlands, Songs of the Sea (Fat Wreck Chords). The album itself was preceded by the release of the single “Leave Her Johnny”, a traditional 19th-century sea shanty that has been performed by many folk acts over the years, and a fitting example of what the album has in store.

Songs of the Highlands, Songs of the Sea is an album of 12 traditional shanties and folk tunes; the title really gives it away in that some are songs of the Scottish Highlands, and others are songs of sea fairing and the sailor’s life.

Time-honoured Scottish drums and bagpipes open the album, with distorted guitars soon joining in, setting out the classic Real McKenzies sound of Gaelic punk rock with a strong traditional folk feel. Foot stomping, fist pumping, hey! shouting, “Scotland the Brave” is one of the unofficial national anthems of Scotland and is as good an opener as you’d expect. I know if I were Paul McKenzie I would open every live show like this!

“A Red, Red Rose”, a poem by the famed Robert Burns, is one of several songs on this album penned by the legendary lyricist and voice of the true Scotsman; “Ye Jacobites By Name” and the stomping “My Heart is in the Highlands” are also penned by his hand. The expected Real McKenzies sound continues on through “The Green Hills of Tyrol” and the lead single “Leave Her Johnny” and “My Heart’s in the Highlands”. 

These songs are legendary for a reason and were written to be performed. I can well imagine a live show, unexpectedly finding myself in the pit, singing my heart out for Scotland in much the same way I sing for Ireland with the Dropkick Murphys. It is important that these folk songs remain as folk songs; that is, songs for the people, to be performed by and for the people, interpreted as needed for the time and audience. While nationalism and pride in your home are often negative traits, these songs remind us that we can be proud without it being at the expense of others.

At this point, the album takes a step down for me. We’re halfway through, I’m fired up, I’m ready to rock and next we have “Sloop John B” performed with acoustic guitar. It’s perfectly good, but I don’t see what it offers above or beyond every other version (Beach Boys excepted). There’s nothing wrong with it, and perhaps those with more polished taste will appreciate the darker feel than the Californian Pop version, but I keep waiting for the electric guitars to kick in with a big fast chorus in the style of so many 90s punk covers. Maybe it would sit better, grouped with other slower songs?

“Drunken Sailor”, picks up where it should be going for me: fast, mean, the way a shanty should be delivered, with the pounding drums and distorted guitars, and shouted lyrics and the cold sea wind rattling the windows, fogged with the breath of a crowd of drunk sailors.

“The Bonnie Ship The Diamond” takes a more traditional folky sound, which is to be expected for the band, but isn’t really to my taste. The Real McKenzies have always felt more like a folk band that listen to punk rather than a punk band that listen to folk, and in that is the uniqueness of their sound. I fear I lean more toward the punk than the folk, so perhaps it is lost on me.

“Dead Mans Chest” caught me out, opening with the riff of “American Jesus” by Bad Religion, complete with pick slide into the first verse. It’s an interesting take on both songs, but the familiarity of the Bad Religion classic takes away from the familiar “yo hoho and a bottle of rum” lyrics for me. I honestly wondered if they had chucked in a Bad Religion cover, and although it is a classic in this scene, it’s not what most would consider a traditional anthem!

“Swansea Town” is sung by Brenna Red from the Last Gang, and it takes the song in a similar direction to “The Bonnie Ship The Diamond”, with winsome melodies and a feeling of sadness that carries the words through the song.

Closing track “Blow the Man Down” is another traditional shanty sounds like it was a lot of fun to record, but I’m not sure where its place on this album really is. Much as with “Sloop John B”, it is a faithful performance, but it doesn’t feel like the Real McKenzies have really made it their own in any way, and in part that sums up this album. In places it is a Real McKenzies album that just happens to be traditional songs rather than originals, but in part it is also the Real McKenzies playing some traditional songs in a traditional way. I am almost certain these songs would be incredible live, and since they are on tour in Europe from January 2023, I shall make the effort to get out and see them and confirm my suspicions! 

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DS Exclusive: Riot Fest 2022 – Day 2 (Yellowcard, Bad Religion, 7Seconds, Yungblud, Gogol Bordello and more)

Day 2 of Riot Fest 2022 took place on September 17th. The temperatures rose and because it was a Saturday, so did the crowd size. It was a day of both music and expressions of solidarity with one nation under attack. Red Scare Industries’ No Trigger was assigned to the smallest music stage in the […]

Day 2 of Riot Fest 2022 took place on September 17th. The temperatures rose and because it was a Saturday, so did the crowd size. It was a day of both music and expressions of solidarity with one nation under attack.


Red Scare IndustriesNo Trigger was assigned to the smallest music stage in the park, the Rebels stage. However, that did not stop the boys from Boston from giving a powerful performance, including the tunes “Antifantasy,” “Holy Punks,” “No Tattoos,” and “Neon National Park.” There is little doubt in my mind, or at least lots of reason to hope, that No Trigger will be promoted to a larger stage at its next Riot Fest appearance. I’m not much of a gambler but I’ll take the bet that they will indeed be back at the festival, and sooner than later.


Fans of Bully were fortunate to not only see one of their favorites treat them to a fantastic set, but they did so from the Radicals Stage. That stage provided the most shade and the coolest setting on an otherwise boiler of a day. Rolling through “Trash,” ”Where to Start, ”Stuck in Your Head, ”Kills to Be Resistant, ”Milkman,” “Hate and Control,” “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues” Bully gave the crowd what it was looking forward to and needed.


A formidable amount of joy was felt as The Joy Formidable took over the Roots stage. That line might be of questionable quality, however, the performance by the pride and the Formidable Joy of Mold, Flintshare, Wales (ok, I’ll stop now) was quite palpable.  The band, presently based in London, and composed of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd Davies, and Matthew James Thomas performed solidly a set that included “The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade,” “Y Bluen Eira,” “Sevier,” “CSTS (Come See the Show),” and “Whirring.”


The Get Up Kids were one of the 2022 Riot Fest bands doing an “album play” set. The album in this case was its classic Four Minute Mile on its 25th Anniversary. Though not dedicated to running legend Roger Bannister, as the title might suggest to near-lifelong runners (such as myself), it does feature track runners on the cover. More importantly, the band’s debut studio album transformed the members of the group into stars of the emo punk sub-genre. For attendees who became fans at the album’s first release and those just discovering its music, it was great to hear the full track listing, including, “Stay Gold Ponyboy,” “Lowercase West Thomas,” “Washington Square Park,” “Michelle With One “L”,” and “I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel.”


7Seconds announced their retirement in 2018, citing health issues as the primary reason. For that reason, the band appearing at Riot Fest this year was especially compelling. The band returned to touring earlier this year as support for Circle Jerks, alongside Negative Approach. Sammy Siegler sat in the drum chair in place of Troy Mowat, whose health issues continue to keep him sidelined. Kevin Second’s voice was strong and the setlist featured many entries from the band’s classic 1984 album The Crew. The album was remastered and reissued in deluxe style by Trust Records in 2021. Among them: “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,“ Not Just Boys Fun,” “This Is the Angry,” “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,” “Not Just Boys Fun. 7Seconds also played “We’re Gonna Fight,” plus covered “99 Red Balloons” by Nena.


For those who might not know, Alexisonfire is from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and named after an American porn actress. There was some controversy surrounding that latter fact but let’s move now to its Riot Fest appearance. It was a crowd pleaser, featuring in the setlist “Accidents,” Boiled Frogs,” “Sweet Dreams of Otherness,” “Pulmonary Archery,” and “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners.” For a hot late summer day, near that stage was a pretty cool place to hang.


Yungblud is an excitable boy (a nod to Warren Zevon there) and an exciting performer. Dressed in black dress pant style shorts held up by a single suspender over a long sleeve black and white striped shirt added up to him looking a bit like a post-modern day Pinocchio sans the pointy cap. Yungblud’s infectious charm was obvious, as he bounced across the stage almost nonstop through “The Funeral,” “superdeadfriends,” “parents,” “Tissues,” “I Love You, Will You Marry Me,” among others. His set ended with a show of support for the Ukrainian activists at the festival as the English rising star brought a group of them onstage. The Ukrainian flag being held high by said activists demonstrated again the solidarity for the war-torn nation on display at Riot Fest 2022.


Bad Religion is yet another of what I call FORFs — Friend of Riot Fest. As in, the band is a regular part of the festival’s lineups over the years. This should continue ad infinitum. They are a brilliant group every bit deserving of the word legend which has long been attached to them and the innumerable tattoo tributes across the globe. One crowd member expressed their love with the BR symbol shaved into and painted onto his skull. Meeting Greg Graffin for the first time, in the media tent, he exuded humility and kindness. Graffin: “Hi I’m Greg.” Me, in an attempt to be professional and not fan girl the PhD Punk icon from one my top 5 bands: “Thanks, I gotta go shoot 7Seconds now.” Yes, I’m a dork. But I’d hazard a guess Graffin was ok with that awkward bailing out. Back to their performance though. When the music kicked in Graffin, Jay Bentley, Brian Baker, Mike Dimkich, and Jamie Miller got straight to the point with “Recipe for Hate.” That was followed by “New Dark Ages” and “Fuck You.” With so many classics over the decades of its existence, the band couldn’t possibly hit all of them. However, it did a pretty good damn job of getting in a lot of them. Among those they drove through were “Dept. of False Hope, “We’re Only Gonna Die,” “Suffer,” and “21st Century (Digital Boy),” They concluded the set with “Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell,” “Sorrow,” and my personal favorite, “American Jesus.” Whew and Wow. That about sums up Bad Religion in general and its Riot Fest performance in particular.


Gogol Bordello returned to Riot Fest as a replacement for Bauhaus which had to cancel its American tour due to lead singer Peter Murphy entering rehab. The Gypsy Punks released their latest album, Solidaritine, just one day before its set at Douglass Park. It appeared clear a priority for the band was to continue increasing and solidifying support for Ukraine and its efforts to fight back against Russian Vladimir Putin, his government, and the Russian military (Putin, of course, directed the military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022). Earlier in the day, Eugene Hutz, the Boyarka native singer of Gogol Bordello, participated in a moving tribute to his homeland in a performance alongside a Ukrainian dance troupe. The full band known for its rousing performances did not disappoint as they ran through “Immigrant Punk,” “Wanderlust King,” ”My Companjera,” “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” “Think Locally, Fuck Globally,” and “Mishto!”


Yellowcard was one of the three Saturday Night headliners. The band performed in full, its fourth album, also its major label debut, 2003’s Ocean Avenue. Way Away,” released as the album’s first single, and credited as Yellowcard’s injection into the realm of mainstream popularity, started off the set. Title tune “Ocean Avenue,” was followed by ”Empty Apartment,” and “Life of a Salesman.” The rest of the album including “Miles Apart,”  “Twentythree,” “View From Heaven,” “One Year, Six Months,” “Back Home” took diehard Yellowcard fans on a nostalgia trip. But what a trip!


See more Riot Fest 2022 day 2 photos below!


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DS Festival Recap: Riot Fest Day Two – Part Two (9/17/22) w/ Sunny Day Real Estate, The Front Bottoms and War on Women

Continuing with our Riot Fest 2022 coverage with a few bands from day two! In case you missed it, click here to see my day one recap. We’re starting off with the hardcore punk band War on Women. This female-fronted band delves heavily into political and feminist issues. Shawna Potter is the very definition of […]

Continuing with our Riot Fest 2022 coverage with a few bands from day two! In case you missed it, click here to see my day one recap.


We’re starting off with the hardcore punk band War on Women. This female-fronted band delves heavily into political and feminist issues. Shawna Potter is the very definition of fierce; definitely see this band live if you get the chance…and, head’s up they will be touring with fellow hardcore punk band Cancer Bats this fall for an East Coast U.S. tour.


Next are The Front Bottoms, an emo/indie rock band from New Jersey. They released their third installment of their popular Grandma EP series titled Theresa on September 2, 2022.


Long-time emo band Sunny Day Real Estate made a stop at Riot Fest for their fourth reunion tour. Their 1994 debut studio album Diary has been considered one of the defining albums of the Midwest emo genre.


Check out the full gallery below and Part One of day two here!


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DS Festival Review: Slam Dunk Festival (North)

In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so […]


In 2001, I moved to the Northern English city of Leeds, in part because of the live music venue, The Cockpit. This small venue put on all my favourite bands of the time, and had a long history of putting on great live music. I worked in another venue in the city on weekends, so Tuesday night was my big night out, and Tuesday nights were Slam Dunk at The Cockpit. A solid mix of ska punk, pop punk, emo, rock, metal and whatever else alternative kids were listening to in the early 2000’s. 

So here I am, 21 years later. The Cockpit has long since shut down and whilst the Slam Dunk Club Night plays on at its new home, the Key Club, it’s the festival that I am at today. Now held across two cities with more than 50 bands, across five stages, things have really grown from that two room sweaty Tuesday night under a railway arch.

The lineup covers a wide range of punk and alternative music, but because I’m old and stuck in my ways, I’m mostly staying at the Dickies stage, which is the main stage this year, hosting The Suicide Machines, The Bronx, Hot Water Music, The Vandals, Streetlight Manifesto, Pennywise, The Interrupters, The Dropkick Murphy’s and headliners Sum 41. 

I’d originally bought tickets on the basis that Rancid were headlining, but they pulled out for undisclosed reasons. Then support from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones collapsed along with the band. Things were looking bleak, and I actually looked into selling my ticket, only to have two of my close friends and original Slam Dunk allies to buy tickets, so it was to be a big day out for us old guys.

The venue for the festival is Temple Newsam House. For further personal historic links, this was the site of the first music festival I ever went to (V98), and a big part of my musical taste was formed in these park lands. The benefit of this location for me is that it is close to home, the downside is that it still takes an hour and a half to get in, as traffic is not well managed and everything is already getting expensive (£10 to park in a field, £10 for a bus), I’d planned to ride my bike to the event, but for three of us, that didn’t make much sense.

Inside the arena, the stages are far enough apart that there is little noise mix from bands and practicalities like bars, toilets and food concessions are plentiful, the addition of a separate “real ale” bar was a pleasant surprise, and I managed to spend an impressive amount in this tent after and before every band. The tent also provides some welcome shade from the unexpected sun that I was totally unprepared for!

So, on to the music…

Hot Water Music, a band that I’ve discovered backwards through Chuck Ragan’s solo work, come out impassioned and full of energy, although the crowd are a little flat with it being an early set. Despite this we get a solid effort from the band, though possibly things are held back a little by a lack of catchy hooks and sing along choruses in the songs performed. Finishing with “Trusty Chords” gets the crowd interested from hearing a song they know. Whether they know the song from Epitaph‘s Punk-o-Rama compilation, or it’s just a favourite is hard to say, but in a pre-internet world, compilations from Independent punk labels are how a lot of us discovered new bands, especially those that didn’t tour the small northern venues like the Cockpit!

A quick trip to the bar revealed the sound of Punk Rock Factory carrying on the wind from the Rock Sound Stage. I was familiar with the band from their Youtube videos of punked up, harmonized pop covers, and as a father of small children, I found myself singing along to “Let It Go”, whilst appropriately stood at a urinal. If I have to play Disney songs on long journeys, then at least they can have crushing guitars as well, and hopefully, like some kind of gateway drug, this leads my kids down the path of home made tattoos and living in a van (or some other punk cliché).

The Vandals took to the stage with a not too reassuring “We’ll do our best”, and whilst I appreciate their honesty and openness, first song “Café 405”, is out of time and out of tune. 

Three songs in, things are starting to tighten up, “People That Are Going To Hell” gets people moving a little, but on the whole, the crowd remain static. “And Now We Dance” raises the energy, “The New You” keeps it going, but there’s just not enough there to hold the attention of the majority of the crowd. My friends desert me to hit the real ale bar, I hate myself for giving up on the mighty Vandals, but cold beer and the Cancer Bats on the Jagermeister stage lure me away. I’m not massively familiar with the Cancer Bats, but the wall of noise, that I could feel through the ground and see vibrating through my pint has led me to listen to more of their back catalogue.

I had a dream the night before Slam Dunk that I took all my family to see Streetlight Manifesto, but instead of their usual set list, they played a really challenging, four hour Jazz set, stopping only to enjoy a sit down meal, where they served soup from tea pots. I was trying desperately to convince my family that really, they’re a great band, whilst simultaneously enjoying the weird spectacle. 

Fortunately, there’s no Jazz today as Streetlight Manifesto, a later addition to the bill, take to the stage. There’s a clear sense of excitement in the crowd as the eight piece tear through classic hits “We Will Fall Together” and “The Three Of Us” along with lesser known tracks with a level of energy normally reserved for headline shows. The crowd sings along, dances, moshes; it’s a perfect blend of everything you want on a summers day. The only slight letdown is Tomas Kalnoky shouting “this is the big finish!” and then promptly not playing “Keasbey Nights.” I get the reasons, and I support them in letting go of a song that doesn’t really represent the band, but for many in the crowd it’s the song they came to hear and there’s visible confusion as the band leave the stage, though encores aren’t really a thing at 16:30 on a festival stage are they?

I last saw Pennywise in 1999. So its been a while. Late last year I read Jim Lindberg’s book “Punk Rock Dad,” which renewed my interest in the band, so I’m excited to see this set, and if the number of Pennywise T-shirts I’m seeing are anything to go by, so are the crowd.

From the get go, the band are on full attack. There’s no sign of age in the band and the crowd are loving it. Covers of AC/DC’s “TNT” and “Breed” by Nirvana continues the energy. Early songs “Pennywise” and “Society” lead to Lindberg lamenting to having been “doing this for thirty years,” but it’s not slowing them down. 

The crowd holds middle fingers aloft for “Fuck Authority,” and whilst it feels cheesy, a load of middle aged men swearing at the sky, its kind of cathartic, and hey, it’s a great song! Who doesn’t enjoy feeling like an angry teenager (teenagers maybe?).

A cover of “Stand By Me,” which closed 1992 album Wild Card/ A Word From The ‘Wise surprised me, as I was certain it was Lagwagon, so I learned something important today if nothing else. 

Set closer “Bro-Hymn” has exactly the effect you’d expect. Huge “wooahs” from the crowd, that epic bass riff and impassioned singing along. Obviously it’s a great song, but I think it hits harder now, after the last few years and I think everyone can take some strength from this song and apply it to someone they’ve lost.

The Interrupters carry a strange position in my mind. I love their songs, they’re great live, but there’s just something not quite right. Something doesn’t sit right with me, and I hate myself for being so negative, but its all a bit too clean cut for me. Like it’s the soundtrack to Disney film where some hopelessly good looking, talented young people form a ska punk band and take over the world with a weird crusty mentor behind them (Called Tim?).

Opener “Take Back the Power” feels stronger than normal. Maybe its that they’re more established, or maybe my cynicism is fading? Either way I enjoy it for what it is, well polished, perfectly-performed ska pop-punk. 

Ignoring a weird segue about how they all used to bathe together… “She got arrested” gets a great crowd sing along, and is probably my favourite of their songs, not least as it was my introduction to the band back in 2017 and a great example of the quality story telling in the lyrics of some of their songs.

A cover medley of “Keep ‘Em Separated”/ “Linoleum”/ “Ruby Soho” gets the crowd going before surprise high point for me, a cover of Bad Religion‘s “Sorrow,” which goes down well with the crowd (For reference Bad Religion played Slam Dunk in 2019, as did the Interrupters).

The band finishes with “She’s Kerosene,” keeping the party going, the crowd moving and generally capturing the moment nicely. People are drunk, its sunny, the people want to dance and the Interrupters deliver.

The Dropkick Murphys take to a stage with a full length riser, done out to look like a stone wall, but there is a notable absence. Al Barr, it is announced, has stayed home to care for his sick mother. Ken Casey steps up for lead vocal duties and the evening begins with the sound of bagpipes on the cool evening breeze. 

“State of Massachusetts” gets the kind of crowd reaction you’d expect from a classic pop hit or a song about Yorkshire, such passion for such a challenging subject is strange, but hey, it’s a great song and the drunk, bouncy, dancey crowd are loving it.

“Barroom Hero” is introduced as the first song the band ever wrote, which is a bit of trivia I didn’t know, but I remember it from way back in the 90s, so I guess that makes sense. The crowd offer weak “Oi! Oi! Oi!” effort which is a disappointment, maybe the crowd aren’t as au fait with shouting Oi! as I’d like? Though I accept my drive to shout “Oi!” is probably higher than most.

The slip up begins with the instruction to sing along to the 1937 hit “I’ve Still Got Ninety-Nine” by the Monroe Brothers, which although an undeniably good song, probably isn’t too familiar to the crowd today. On the upside, we’re promised an acoustic album in September, which is one to look out for. Whether it’s new material or reimagined classics has not been confirmed, but hopefully there will be an associated tour.

“Rose Tattoo” brings the sing along from the crowd, but lacks the momentum to get the crowd moving. This is exacerbated by the big screen showing bored, static faces in the crowd for the first time. Fortunately, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” brings the party back before the end of the set. I’ve never seen such passion for a missing wooden leg, as the crowd goes nuts, with crowd surfers from all directions riding above the waves of the crowd. All parties appear to have legs intact, so that’s good.

Headliners Sum-41 were a bit of a quandary for me. The first album was an important soundtrack to my late teens/ early 20s and I saw them play in Leeds twice in 2002, but I haven’t listened to their music since Does This Look Infected from the same year.

A bit of pre-show research suggested they have had seven further releases, including 2019s Order In Decline, but in the spirit of openness, I’ve not felt inspired to check these out.

The band come out to a stage with blood-soaked Marshall speaker cabinets, a giant skull, jets of fire and “Motivation” from the first album, All Killer, No Filler. More people than I expected are really into it, though competition with Deaf Havana and the Nova Twins is limited and the other stages have closed.

The stage is set for a night of big rock and I’d like to say I invested more effort into rediscovering Sum 41, but too much sun, too much beer and a designated driver who wanted to beat the traffic meant we made an early exit.

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DS News: Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin to release historical memoir, “Punk Paradox”; book signing in Hollywood this weekend

In case you missed it, legendary Bad Religion front man Greg Graffin is releasing another book in the very near future. Entitled Punk Paradox, this one is billed as his “life narrative before and during L.A. punk’s early years, detailing his observations on the genre’s explosive growth and his band’s steady rise in importance.” It […]

In case you missed it, legendary Bad Religion front man Greg Graffin is releasing another book in the very near future. Entitled Punk Paradox, this one is billed as his “life narrative before and during L.A. punk’s early years, detailing his observations on the genre’s explosive growth and his band’s steady rise in importance.” It of course also chronicles his simultaneous rise in scholarly fields and on how he “managed to reconcile an improbably double-life as an iconic punk rock front man and University Lecturer in evolution.”

Punk Paradox is due out November 8th; pre-orders are available here. What’s even cooler is that if you’re in the Los Angeles area, Graffin is doing a book signing event THIS SUNDAY (November 6th) at Book Soup in West Hollywood. It’s a ticketed event and you can get yours here (signed copies are available at the same link).

Graffin’s last book was 2015’s Population Wars: A New Perspective on Competition and Coexistence.

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