The ageless and invincible Lagwagon came to town a couple weeks ago and I found myself questioning why this was my first time seeing them. This being their “30ish Years on the ‘Wagon” tour (35 to be exact), they’ve been around long enough that surely I would have caught them at least once. But no, once again I have saddened the punk rock gods by having not seen the live performance of yet another punk staple.
With that little piece of baggage out of the way, I can assure you that I finally made it to Eastside Bowl (my first time as well). I saw the Laggy boys do what they do best, was introduced to Grumpster whom I had never even heard of but was truly impressed by, and hung out with the dudes in SecondSELF, the last minute replacements for Bigwig.
SecondSELF was the replacement for Bigwig, and, although we were all saddened to hear of their untimely departure from the tour, I heard no complaints about the local favorites taking the stage. It’s always nice getting to see some good friends of yours absolutely blow the roof off the place, especially opening for one of my all-time favorites.
For a lot of aging punk fans, there’s a phase early in life where you’re in love with pop-punk. For many, that’s a phase that is soon left in the past, myself included. I had an early-high school interest in many of the bands on Pure Noise Records, but have since trended more towards the East coast skate-punks on Fat Wreck Chords.
What I will say is, thanks to bands like Grumpster, part of my music taste is trending back to that of my early days discovering punk. Grumpster performed a version of pop-punk that exhibited some qualities of what I enjoy now, merged with what might appeal to those already fans of Pure Noise. It’s unknown to me whether this trend for myself will continue, but what’s certain is this three-piece was an excellent opener and fucking killed it in front of a near-capacity crowd.
I’ve used forms of the word ‘professionalism’ as an artist description on the site before, but if it applies to anyone in punk, I think these guys deserve it (I think I used that description on Frank Turner, so I’d be okay putting these two in that same category).
Having never seen them before, I was able to truly appreciate the show that the Lagwagon dudes put on: the difficulty and complexity of what they were playing, the wittiness behind their stage banter, their tasteful showmanship. No wonder these guys have been at it 30+ years, whatever formula they’ve got for songwriting and performing sure is working.
At times during the show, I had to remind myself to actually take the pictures I was there for and stop admiring the mastery that was taking place before me. This might have been my favorite show all year and I was glad a band of this caliber drew close a near-capacity crowd in a city where that’s often difficult to do.
As always, thanks for your time both here and wherever else on the site you may wander off to. Cheers!