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!
The Hi Hat in the ever gentrifying neighborhood of Highland Park has only been open for about a year now but is already recognized for it’s fresh made hamburgers which are served via a “walk thru” window right on the sidewalk lining York Blvd. Lately, they’ve also started getting attention for the live shows they host with more and more punk acts getting booked to play the small venue. On this night, the lineup just happened to feature some of best punk acts in the game right now. People give the LA scene a lot of grief but I can’t imagine any other cities have such awesome lineups at such intimate venues as often as we do here in the City of Angels.
Western Settings took their respective places on the tiny, three foot high platform without much hesitation shortly after their slated 9pm start time. I was familiar with the pop punks from San Diego but I had never gotten too deep into their catalog so I was eager to get to the know them a little better. Instantly, leadman/bassist Ricky Schmidt drew me in with his passionate vocals, sung through his long curly locks which draped down, obscuring his face throughout almost the entire set. The performance was subtle but captivating and energetic. I didn’t snag the set list so I can’t rattle off all of the songs but I’m certain they played through almost the entire 2016 EP Old Pain and a few from Dying Scene Records’ Yes It Is. The takeaway for me as someone not familiar with them, was the exceptional level of overall talent. I’ve listened to them at least a dozen times since seeing them live and I can’t wait to hear more.
One of LA’s favorite local punk acts, The Bombpops hopped on stage right at 10pm, opening with “Marry. Fuck. Kill” from their new LP Fear of Missing Out which was released a few months ago via Fat Wreck Chords. As always, they brought their signature playfulness, engaging with the crowd, hamming it up for the photogs and telling stories between songs (about Poli shitting herself?!?). Having seen them live a few times now, I was finally able to take my eyes off of the dynamic front ladies, Jen and Poli and admire drummer Josh Lewis as he spun his sticks while keeping perfect time. For me, his performance shined through. If you have the pleasure of seeing this quartet perform live, don’t get stuck on the talent and beauty at the front of the stage (I know, it’s difficult.) because there’s some high level shit going on behind them. Most of the set comprised of songs from their most recent album, the title track, “Brake Lights”, “CA in July” as well as others but they also played some older tunes like “Outta’ Hand” “Can O’ Worms” and “Breathe”. I’ve never been disappointed walking away from a performance by The Bombpops, this one was no different.
San Francisco gruff punks, Nothington have been one of my favorite bands over the past five years or so. Ever since the insanely catchy LP, Borrowed Time, I’ve been enamored with these guys but until now, I had never had a chance to catch them play live so for me, this was the set to see. By this time, the audience had thickened and the floor was now packed. Upon taking the stage promptly at 11pm, leadman Jay Northington took note, thanking everyone for making it out on a school night before starting right in with “Far to Go” followed by “Last Time”, “The Escapist” and “St Andrews Hall” all from the aforementioned magnus opus. From there the quartet slid effortlessly through the rest of their catalog touching on milestones like “Not Looking Down” and “The Ocean” from Roads, Bridges, and Ruins as well as newer hits like “Cobblestones” and “The Lies I need” from their most recent LP In the End released a few weeks ago via Red Scare Industries. Jay even treated us to “Not looking Down” from his solo acoustic EP More than Obvious. The performance was like watching a living history of the band in person, like the “Evolution of Dance” guy. The attention to detail and the care it took to cover all of the high points throughout their career was the highlight for me. Most bands would’ve come in and played through the new stuff, tossing in a few crowd pleasers and call it a night. Not Jay and the Boys. That would be too damn easy!
*Special thanks to Toby over at Red Scare Industries for getting us on the list for this packed show!