The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie NY is a beautiful old theater from the 1920’s with old plaster moldings on the ceiling and art deco Egyptian friezes that stare down at you from high above the stage. It’s probably the largest venue of its kind between New York City and Albany, and over the years I have seen so many great bands there to include but not limited to Social Distortion, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Bouncing Souls and dozens of others. In my opinion The Chance does not book enough good or interesting shows as they tend to opt toward Cover and “Tribute” bands and old dinosaurs who are well past their prime attracting show goers who often are also well past their prime.
But this weekend the Mid-Hudson area of NY was treated to a near perfect lineup of young up and coming bands by The Chance that was in general not just a breath of fresh air for the venue but for me as an avid show goer in general, because it seems that even at the hottest live music venues in the northeast rarely do you find a perfect lineup where you don’t have to suffer through a talentless filler band or two to enjoy some top notch entertainment.
This night was as close to magic to me as if I had put together a dream team of bands I’d like to have in some sort of fantasy pick your favorites game, but I never would have put all of this together simply because I don’t know if I would have thought to build a show this way so let me thank whoever it was that made this happen.
The show opened with Kyle Trocolla of Two Fisted Law doing his acoustic stuff from his solo album The Stranger . Kyle stood alone on the large stage of The Chance and hammered out about ten songs or so telling stories of life, love and life on the road that brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat, and had the entire crowd cheering and screaming in praise of his set which is quite an achievement when you have 3 bands to go before the headliner everyone came to see… If you’re not already familiar with Kyle and you like Tim Barry and Chuck Regan check him out I believe he is every bit as good as those two are and you will be sure to feel the same.
Next up were new comers to the scene; The Split Seconds from Washington DC. Unfortunately for them being the first electric act on stage the sound guys had to work out the kinks and some feedback issues during their first three songs, but once that was cleared up all I have to say is wow. The Split Seconds brought the energy and brought the fun to this show, my friends and I were all blown away with their tightness and their songs, this band has a solid old school punk sound and feel that is hard for me to put my finger on exactly, so maybe we’ll just take a blender and mix up some of what you like from the late 70’s scenes in New York and London and drop a heavy dose of California 90’s pop punk with a dash or two of classic DC Dischord Records and there you have a recipe for success. This band is one to watch out for and I am so glad I caught this set.
After being so very satisfied by The Split Seconds I was equally satisfied by another new act for me Laura Stevenson. Laura Stevenson of Bomb The Music Industry also does solo work, and on this night played with a full band. I am sorry to say although I am familiar with Laura I don’t know her music and have never seen her live so here I will officially slap myself on the wrist and now announce myself as a convert to the Laura Stevenson cause, she along with her band were great, absolutely great, a little less singer songwriter than the preconceived notions I had in my head, and I would say her style was more of a power pop than an indie or punky sound but who cares what we call it, their performance was stellar and I hope they return to the Hudson Valley soon.
Now without further ado the band we all came to see The Menzingers took the stage, with wild chants and screams from the crowd they just laid into song after song both old and new, getting the crowd more worked up with each song and sing along chorus they played, the pit was packed with fans pumping their fists and singing so loud they often drown out the sound system itself, the positivity and love between the band and the fans was palpable…I have seen The Menzingers three times now, the first two as support for larger touring bands so this was the first time I had seen them headline a show of this size in a room this size and they proved to all in attendance that yes The Menzingers have arrived, and are a headlining act to be recognized. With a combination of fierceness and grace they ended their set and thanked the fans, the venue, and the opening acts before leaving the stage only to return with a couple more songs to appease the crowd chanting for more more more.
This was, if not the perfect show, as close to perfect as it gets, each and every band fit the bill perfectly and each and every band delivered stellar performances, I would return to see this same show for multiple dates if it were possible. Thank you Kyle Trocolla, thank you The Split Seconds, Laura Stevenson, and Thank you The Menzingers for a night I will remember and sing the praises of for weeks, month’s maybe years to come.
Photo’s BY Paul Alexander