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Show Review: Remember the PiÑata Protest (with The Lash Outs, How’s My Driving?, and The Vatican Press)

Photos courtesy of Benjamin Oliver Hicks En La Calle Photographer.

It was Saturday night and I hadn’t made any plans. My wife, Maeghen, was off watching Adam Lazzara swing his microphone and I’d decided to pass, but my mom had already told me she’d watch the baby for a while, and I’d seen that a few of my buds were going to the Piñata Protest event on Facebook. I’d seen Piñata once before with Brujeria and The Casualties, and remembered their set being a lot of fun. They are like the Mexican Flogging Molly, and that night was a blast, so I decided to message my friend Cody and planned to meet up with him and Zooki at Lola’s Trailor Park in Fort Worth for the show. Read that story below.



DS Photo Gallery: The Dead Milkmen Curate Show at House of Vans Chicago

The Dead Milkmen

House of Vans in Chicago hosted another installment in their periodic House Party series a couple of Thursdays ago (July 12th, if we’re being specific). As always, the events are 18+ and free by RSVP, and this one in particular featured a lineup centered around none other than Dead Milkmen! This provided a chance for Punk Rock Girls of all ages (and Punk Rock Boys as well) to once again sing along with the Philly legends. It was a very laid back time in a space that also doubles as an indoor/outdoor skate park. Attendees were treated to free t-shirts with show’s logo, venue tote bags and buckets full of water bottles to stave off dehydration in what was promised to be and indeed delivered a sweaty good time.

The Dead Milkmen, as you’re undoubtedly aware, hail from Philadelphia, where they got their start in 1983. They have been together on and off since then with the current line up of Joe Jack Talcum (Joe Genaro), Rodney Anonymous (Rodney Linderman), Dandrew Stevens (Dan Stevens); and Dean Clean (Dean Sabatino) having been in operation since 2004. The band hit the stage strong, starting with what is arguably one of their two most popular tunes, “Punk Rock Girl” riling the crowd up to a frenzy. Besides “Punk Rock Girl,” another highlight was “Bitchin’ Camaro” (the other of the arguably most popular tunes), while the whole setlist really consisted of hits including crowd favorites, like “Big Lizard In My Backyard,” “V.F.W.,” and “Tiny Town.”

And as an aside: perhaps the offstage highlight for me was when Joe Genaro and I explained dangerous toys and the reasons us kids from the ’60’s and ’70’s should not be alive, to a younger photographer. I always find that subject slightly amusing. Per this discussion I offered Jarts, Joe brought up Shrinky Dinks. If you are not familiar with either, I recommend looking them up. It was just one example of the band’s co-leader singer and guitarist spending the majority of the evening whilst not on stage, among the crowd, watching the supporting acts and amiably engaging in conversations with fans.

Support acts for this show were curated by the headliners themselves, and featured sets by Los Angeles’ Youth Code, Madison, Wisconsin’s Caustic, and Chicago’s own San Andreas Fault. Per Youth Code’s Facebook, the duo is “raw, punishing, industrious electronics built from the seeds of hardcore and early Wax Trax. Ryan William George and Sara Taylor blend chaos with catchy dance undertones to create a sonic fury paralleled to none.” San Andreas Fault, meanwhile (per their Bandcamp) are described as follows: “The surf-noir instrumental and narrative stylings of the San Andreas Fault began in 1999 in a Chicago steel plant. Founders Robert Spain and Pete Machine cataloged the sound of heartbreak with the 2003 CD “Encantada” and reunited in 2013″

The Dead Milkmen’s last release was their Welcome To The End Of The World EP, which was released last year. You can check out info on their upcoming hometown-adjacent show in Ardmore, PA, here. You can also catch Genaro at a few of his “Joe Jack Talcum” solo shows on the East Coast through September. Check out the details here.



Festival Review: Punk Island 2018 (New York City)

All Photos courtesy of JeffSchaerMoses.com
Rael Griffin of I Against Eye proved himself to be one of the most dynamic performers at the entire festival.

On Saturday afternoon some of the best purveyors of punk in New York City got together to put on what had to have been one of the best punk festivals in the Big Apple this year. It was free, it was all-day, it was all-ages, and most importantly it was all inclusive. Punks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and gender identities got together to have one hell of a great time in a beautiful New York City Park on Randall’s Island. Check out the full write up and photos below.



Manchester Punk Festival 2018: Some Words and Pictures

Dying Scene were lucky enough to be invited to Manchester Punk Festival this year. You can read all about it below.

If you’re interested in attending the event next year, get your tickets sorted fast! It will definitely be another sell out.



Show Review: Hub City Stompers and Bigger Thomas (The Court Tavern in New Brunswick New Jersey)


It’s not often, nor are there many venues that host shows that are anywhere near as well organized and shall I say as professionally put together as the one I attended this past Friday at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick New Jersey, where I went to see home town heroes The Hub City Stompers perform with the legendary Ska outfit Bigger Thomas who are celebrating their 30th year this year.

The Court Tavern has gone through some changes over the last couple of decades from being a solid reputable venue for underground music to a weak non caring mismanaged shit hole. Now, once again The Court Tavern is under new management, and it appears that it is returning to its former glory as a very caring home for real music that seems to respect both the artists as well as the customers who come to attend it’s shows.

Upon arrival we heard the sounds of classic old school Ska filtering it’s way up the stairs from the lower level music room, this was being spun by one of two DJ’s –Selecter Judge Knott and DJ Chuck Dat of Steady Sound System who tag teamed one another with all vinyl sets of classic Ska throughout the night between band sets.

The first band to play was hardcore Oi act Damage Done, unfortunately we missed there set I’m sorry to say, but next up was a blistering and angry set by the local Oi band Dusters, who got some of the local crowd worked up and bouncing off one another in the mosh pit. Dusters have some promise, and the band was tight but the Front man was lacking in enthusiasm unfortunately giving their set the lack of the one two punch it needed to really carry the energy being delivered by the rest of the band.

Dusters set ended and more classic Ska was delivered by the DJ’s who did a really remarkable job of setting the mood for the evening.

Next to take the stage was Bigger Thomas, and by this point the room was approaching capacity as front man Roger Apollon who as always was dressed to kill, stepped up to the mic and began slaying us with all our favorite Bigger Thomas tunes getting the crowd skanking like crazy to BT classics like Ska In My Pocket and I Can’t Remember My Name by the end of this set the place was packed and the energy was high.

Hub City Stompers took the stage and kicked it off with a new song called Hub City Stomp which started off slow and cool then erupted into a full fun fast blast of horns and front man’s Reverend T. Sinisters unique vocal stylings, which immediately worked the crowd into a frenzy… after playing a couple more new ones off the bands upcoming 6th full length album Haters Dozen mixed in with many classic fan favorites they brought up Coolie Ranx of The Toasters and The Pilfers, who joined them for another new song entitled Distance Water which they dedicated to the late great Roy Radics of the Rudie Crew who also appears on the recorded version of the song, a couple more songs through the set and the band starts up a Ska cover of Fugazi’s Waiting Room, during which another Ska legend is announced to be in attendance, and who do they bring up on stage next? The Legendary King Django gets up, and Reverend Sinister hands the mic over to him and he spontaneously raps something fantastic that seemed to say something about him having a head cold and the only cure was attending a Hub City Stompers show and receiving some kind of Devine intervention from the good Reverend T. Sinister, at this point Coolie Ranx also returned to the stage and the three of them did a back and forth with one another, all during the constant beat of Waiting Room. This one song was reason enough to come to this amazing show and I am so happy I caught this trio in action.

The set ended with the bands signature Hub City Stompers which is actually an Inspector Seven song written by Sinister twenty years ago before forming HCS and taking the name. There was then the obligatory rush to the merch table as the bands all passed out their sweaty hugs to one another and shared a shot and a beer. Thus another great and forever memorable show night came to an end in New Jersey.

Thank you Court Tavern for being cool once again and putting on a truly memorable night of entertainment. We will return.



Show Review: Stza Crack Returns from Mexico for his First Hometown Show in 8 Months

All Photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photgraphy.
Scott Sturgeon of the Crack Rock Steady 7 at The El Cortez in Bushwick

If punk is dead than somebody forgot to tell Scenic Presents and the rest of the New York City punk scene. Because things got live as fuck in the Safari Room at El Cortez in Bushwick, Brooklyn on Sunday evening when Scott Sturgeon’s auxiliary band The Crack Rock Steady 7 swung through for a hoedown.

The room was packed to the gills from start to finish to see Rebelmatic, Skullcaster, Trashy, and late edition (literally added to the bill during the show) Cop/Out get down with the godfather of the Crack Rock Steady beat. But even though Stza was the main attraction the riotous punks in attendance made every band feel welcome by singing along to the lyrics and moshing along to the rhythms.

Left to right Alkatrraz, Creature, and Karnage of Rebelmatic.

Rebelmatic was first up and their drummer Ray Reed is an absolute punisher behind the kit. His ferociousness on the drums sets the entire tone for his bandmates lead singer Creature, guitarist Alkatraz, and bass player Karnage who all come together to drive home some of the most original punk music in The Big Apple.

Skullcaster is fast and heavy just like front man Joey Steele’s other project All Torn Up,

Upstarts Skullcaster, a band that Stza himself claims to have helped name, got up second next and their brand of hardcore punk got the crowd going really good. A little too good in fact and frontman Joey Steele had to banish some crowd destroying bros to the back of the room mid-set. The group shares two members with All Torn Upin Steele, and guitarist Jay Tancer (also of The Crack Rock Steady 7) so they come with a built-in fan base in the City That Never Sleeps and they delivered for their devotees.

Katie Hoos of Cop/Out is an organizer of New York City’s Punk Island along with their bandmates.

Third up was Cop/Out, sort of an all-star team of the New York City politico/punks all of whom help organize Punk Island, an event which they called “the biggest free DIY punk music festival in New York City.” The group didn’t know they were going to be playing until just before the set and the group shares Steele with his other projects as lead singer. He admitted he may have left a little too much on stage opening with Skullcaster but still managed to dial in a more than competent performance that came off as much more tongue in cheek than his other projects.

TransCore darlings Trashy took the slot right before CS7 and even with a singer/guitarist Al working double duty in Cop/Out they put on a tremendous set. To start the set off the group invited anyone was queer, short, or brown to the front of the stage to catch the show.

Santos, bass, and Jayne, drums of Trashy.

They have a much more melodic/poppy sound than the two bands that came before and deliver them in a much more upbeat way than Skullcaster and Cop/Out. Don’t get me wrong, the doom and gloom of anti-capitalism is important … but it’s okay to smile every once in a while too. Some of Trashy’s subject matter may be pretty heavy, but they still deliver it in a fun and relatable way.

Scott Sturgeon and his Crack Rock Steady 7 were really more of a Crack Rock Steady three and a half in the Safari Room on Sunday. Sturg was joined by Tancer on bass and a drummer as well as Enoch on guitar on some songs. Before getting into the set Sturgeon let the crowd know this was his first New York City show in 8-months, which is the longest he had gone without a hometown throwdown in quite some time.

Scott Sturgeon, left, and Jay Tancer headlining as The Crack Rock Steady 7.

The group opened with two Choking Victims tunes and then moved in to “3,000 Miles” by the Star fucking Hipsters before “Fucked Reality,” and “Zombie Christ,” which lead into renditions of “500 Channels” and “Crack Rock Steady.” Stza also unveiled a brand new tune known only as “Metal Banger” for now, which he claims could be the first tune on Leftover Crack’s next record.

Things got pretty choppy when Stza and Tancer switched instruments to go into what they were referring to as:”the extended cut” of “Ya Can’t Go Home.” The bass gave out on Stza multiple times before he decided to take the strap off and throw a mic to the ground and head off stage. Sturgeon’s tantrum lasted about 10-minutes but he did return to the stage once the tech was working again. As a Kanye fan, I was way into the idea of one of my favorite artists leaving the stage a refusing to come back due to tech issues, especially so many songs in. But heaving Stza re-enter and finish out strong wasn’t a bad way to go either.

Crowd surfers abound all night at The El Cortez.

After the intermission it was a few more songs including “Money Change,” and “Born To Die,” and The Crack Rock Steady 7 closing out strong. Frankly, it was a lot like watching a rehearsal, but when it’s Crack Daddy Caine himself playing the tunes and a familiar New York punk audience that ain’t so bad.



Show Review: The Split Seconds and Riverside Odds (Connie’s Ric Rac Philadelphia, 3/31/18)

This past Saturday I took a trip down to one of my favorite punk rock dive bars Connie’s Ric Rac which resides in one of my favorite party cities Philadelphia Pennsylvania to catch one of my favorite newer bands The Split Seconds who I had missed at their New Jersey date on Thursday due to work and wasn’t up for the trip to Brooklyn the next night so we hoped in the car and headed down to Philly for a cheesesteak at Pat’s, some beers and some killer punk rock.
I am sorry and a bit ashamed to say I missed the opening act because I hate to be that girl who only shows up for the headliner, and I am also sorry to say the second band on the bill was so weak and unforgettable that I won’t tarnish their name in this review in case they’re still new, and turn out to be great in a year or two. But I will rave, yes rave about the direct support for this show. A new band (For me anyway) who call themselves Riverside Odds.

Riverside Odds killed it, they absolutely killed it with a nonstop barrage of fast aggressive punk tinged rock and roll that would have made Lemmy Kilmister jump to his feet and yell for more. Riverside Odds do Rock & Roll fast and hard with lots of back up whoa oh’s and fist pumping singalongs about drinking, and brawling in their great hometown of Philadelphia. I can’t wait to see these guys again and if you get the chance I say don’t miss it.

Next up was the band we had come for. Washington D.C.s The Split Seconds who I am also happy to say absolutely killed it, which is good because they had a tough act to follow, but follow them they did with an amazing 40 plus minute set of 70’s style raw power, the only glitch was getting the vocals right during the first song but Connie’s sound man was on point and had them sounding sweet before the start of the rest of the set where they played most of our favorites off of last year’s release “Center Of Attention” plus several new songs off this Summers upcoming release, “Counterfeit Reality” and as usual front man Drew Champion looked almost as good as they sounded in his polished boots and button down shirt.

Yes the Split Seconds brought the noise and made the hour plus long drive well worth the trip, and hearing their new songs being previewed at this show was a real treat for us and left me dying to get my hands on the new album out sometime this Summer I believe.

The Split Seconds will be touring with the final cross country Warped Tour this Summer.

New full length Counterfeit Reality will be released on June 8th.



Show Review: Altercation Punk Rock BBQ 2018

“Hello, we are your punk rock breakfast this morning!” shouted the singer for Mutant Love, and with that yet another Altercation Punk Rock BBQ was underway. I admittedly missed last year’s annual shindig, and was apprehensive about the new venue of Kick Butt Coffee, having grown accustomed to the outdoor fun of The Vortex in previous years. But within a few minutes of Mutant Love’s blistering opening set, any fears quickly evaporated.

Kick Butt Coffee in Austin, Texas is far and away one of the best venues I have been to in the Lone Star State, and Altercation’s move made total sense once I witnessed firsthand the new venue. Two stages meant even more bands rocking the notorious free yearly event, with larger capacity to handle the impressively huge crowd, and some of the most pitch-perfect sound I heard all week during SXSW.

After ML wrapped up I caught a relatively new Austin band called Despero, who did a great job at channeling Avail-inspired melodic hardcore. I had heard good things about this four piece after some pals saw them at Fest last year, and they more than lived up to the hype. Steadfast from Houston then delivered some blue-collar punk on the Sausage Stage, followed by the snazzy suit-wearing Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5. Mr. Lewis was all swagger and whiskey, calling to mind Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds on a bender, and by the time they finished their set I decided it was time for some quick sunlight and free brisket outside.

The Altercation BBQ has always been a top draw during the SXSW-fueled March madness, but this year the turnout was downright nuts. Fortunately, the brisket and free beer was in large supply, and a local company called Elgin Screenprinting provided some really cool print-on-demand festival shirts in the parking lot. Returning for seconds on the food meant I missed most of Fat By The Gallon and Memphis power duo HEELS, although if the crowd roar is any indication they definitely were both a favorite. I even heard rumor that Altercation Records co-owner JT hopped onstage to shred vocals for a tune, but can neither confirm nor deny this. I am pretty sure that was him running around as the ‘Devil Chef’ for part of the day though, much to the delight and horror of the younger fans.

Dr. Beardface and the Space Man from Philly had the crowd dancing from note one, and mentioned they will be on some Warped Tour dates this summer, before Blag from the legendary Dwarves showed up for his lone solo set of the weekend. Blag’s banter was hilarious, and the setlist was a Dwarves’ fan dream, ripping through ‘Let Me Show You How It’s Done’, ‘Trailer Trash’ and an assortment of other hits.

Nowherebound, which I’m told features former members of Altercation Records band Born To Lose, had the unenviable position of following Blag, but came out guns blazing. Any fan of working class punk like Darkbuster or Street Dogs would be well to search these guys out, who also had the best looking vinyl I saw all day. The Grizzly Band from Houston channeled Lucero-style country-tinged jams, and while I was unfamiliar with some of the newer songs they played the band was clearly a crowd favorite.

The Fantastic Plastics from Chicago had the most ‘buzz’ I heard all day, and I was honestly wondering what to expect of the guy in the giant white ‘fro wig and the gal in the B-52’s-inspired art-deco dress. Consider me a new FP believer. This duo absolutely owned the stage, complete with a sensory-overload live show of lights and projected images. If you at all like the White Stripes or Devo, the Fantastic Plastics are your new wet dream. Seriously, believe the hype and seek them out.

Punks On Parade, another Austin band I was unfamiliar with, closed out the show with their last set ever (or so it was announced). I was not expecting too much, since the band looked like many of the typical ‘up the punx’ mohawk outfits that seem to be everywhere these days. Shame on me, because it quickly became apparent that Punks On Parade were the real deal. Think ‘Let’s Go’-era Rancid songwriting, with a bass player and drummer that were unbelievably tight considering the lightning speed of the street anthems. The pit truly opened up for these Punks, giving them a proper sendoff and making me feel both sad and lucky to have seen their final show. All in all yet another epic year. How Altercation will top it in 2019 is anyone’s guess, but I know I’ll do my best to never miss another year going forward.

– Chloe Garcia



Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, and Punk Rock – Pegboy, Bollweevils and more in Chicago

“Thanksgiving Eve” and the extended holiday weekend in Chicago had the city hopping with terrific shows. I covered a few of them.

Thanksgiving Eve at First Ward ChopShop was headlined Pegboy, The Bollweevils pretty much co-headliners; with Airstream Futures out of St. Louis; and Breakmouth Annie also on the bill.

It was Pegboy’s first show back in their hometown after terrific receptions at two recent festivals, the most recent being in Brazil. This was first international trip for “Skinny” Mike Thompson and he described it to me as “incredible.”
Pegboy, in recent years has rarely left the state of Illinois to perform. To their beloved hometown crowd they brought their classics, including lead singer and guitarist Larry Damore’s classic uniform of white t-shirt and blue jeans. In the crowd, the team #WeAreLarry #CultofDamore, a small group of big Pegboy fan whom also happen to be close friends with the band members, also sported that same uniform.

Damore himself made fun of his usual hitting the floor with exhaustion. However, he impressively lasted nearly an hour before lying down on the job. Damore punching the air throughout the set and leaving the stage as he crowd surfed, caused a frenzy in full measure with Pegboy bandmates, lead guitarist John Haggerty, the gold standard of punk rock guitarists; John’s brother Joe Haggerty powering through on drums, and bass player “Skinny” Mike Thompson roaming the stage and cranking up the intensity. Thompson, appeared not to just playing his bass but the bass seemed to be another of his limbs as he folded himself over time and time again. At times it became difficult to distinguish the instrument from the player of said instrument.

Pegboy started their set with “Not What I Want,” and jammed through 15 songs including classics “Superstar,” “DangerMare,” “Strong Reaction,” “Revolver” (their great cover of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” and the song Damore has routinely described as making him financially independent) and “Through My Fingers.”

Their classic and moving “Strong Reaction,” which has been covered live numerous times by well known artists, has been getting renewed attention, in big part due to Chuck Ragan speaking publicly about how Pegboy has inspired him. Ragan and his Hot Water Music bandmates pay homage to the tune in the first line of the song “Never Going Back” from their new album Light It Up— “Had a strong reaction waking up.”

Full Disclosure and personal note: I am friends with the band members, especially Skinny Mike and Larry. Larry and I had actually discussed “Strong Reaction” and what it meant to me less than a week earlier when we hung out a Liar’s Club show. So this show was a first for me: It was the first time I ever joined the lead singer on the mic, informally and spontaneous as it was. Whilst shooting the show, I had to sit partly on the stage to work amidst the chaos and Larry came over and put his arm around me and I helped him sing that tune. This was truly a verklempt-inducing moment for me.

However, I am glad no footage of that has surfaced as of yet, because as a singer, I am a great photographer.

Still, just another example of how punk rock is about more than just getting rowdy, the connections between those who write the songs and those who find meaning in them cannot be underestimated. One just need to listen to few of the lyrics to “Strong reaction” – “ I walk alone through the sleet and snow and pouring rain to…Get my heart broken, forever ever lost inside of…I walk along to slip and fall on strong reactions…Keep my heart broken, never ever amend myself…That’s all right and that’s okay” — whatever Damore’s personal motivation or his own story behind his writing, no doubt many people can take those lyrics and relate to them in some measure.

However, the crowd was not filled with just locals. Karring Moan flew in from his present home in the Twin Cities of for this show. Moan is a long time fan of both bands, “I try to go to most Pegboy shows actually. My first punk show ever was Pegboy at Fireside Bowl in the mid ’90s, and it was just one of those moments that changed my musical taste — or at least what I wanted to experience in music. And the fact the Bollweevils were playing too meant that it was a no brainer of a show. I still have the flyer from that first Pegboy show…”

The Bollweevils were the penultimate set and they too spend some time rocking on the international fest set. This past August, they played Rebellion in Blackpool. Dr. Daryl Wilson, aka the Punk Rock Doc, punctuated the space above the stage with numerous high jumps that makes one wonder if he competed in the track part of the track and field as a high schooler. Surely the combination of his 6’5″ frame and ability to grab massive air would have served him well in several events.

As it was Wilson did not spend his entire time on stage. He often ventured into the crowd where he shared the mic with the enthusiastic crowd and diehard Bollweevils fan. The 14 song set list started off with “Honesty Isn’t so Simple,” and included “Fencesitter,” “Bottomless Pit”, “Peggy Sue”, “Galt’s Gulch”, “John Doe”, “Altered States” “999-Stoney” and of course their call to fun,“Bollweevils Anthem.”

Wilson is one of the subjects in the documentary, “Men: the Series.” The film tells the stories of four African-American men, one of whom is Dr. Daryl Wilson. Wilson is by day is EMS Medical Director at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL.

Remaining on the stage but providing just as much power for the Bollweevils are the two Petes: Peter Mittler on bass, and Pete Mumford on drums. Mumford seems to always have a smile on his face, look of pure joy as he smashes the skins. What is going through his mind as he plays? This is how Mumford described it to me recently: “I normally don’t really think of anything at all when I’m playing. When I’m on stage, I like to look at the people in the crowd acting like idiots and having fun…that always makes me smile. I like to make stupid faces at the people I know too. So yeah, not thinking much…just trying to have as much fun as I can.”

Mittler said this about playing in The Bollweevils: “I love playing in this band with guys I love and have so much in common with. I also think that it’s the heaviest drinking band I’ve ever been in.”
This is a sentiment shared by his bandmate, guitarist Ken Fitzner. Fitzner is arguably the Chicago Public School system’s coolest elementary school principal. Fitzner brings the serious chops, and the communal bottle of Makers Mark. He also seconds Mittler’s description of the allure of playing in The Bollweevils: “yes hardest drinking band.”

As for some of The Bollweevils most diehard and long time fans? Patrick Lancor of Chicago remembers his first show: “I was the kid on Fullerton at the Fireside with a 40oz of Big Bear standing at the corner fucking with the red laces. Then a giant showed up, like 6′ 5″ or some shit. His name was Daryl, and he had a 3-liter of RC Cola in hand.”

As I noted above, for all intents and purposes Pegboy and The Bollweevils were co-headliners, no matter that Pegboy’s name was at the very top of the bill.

Daryl Wilson joined Larry Damore at the mics. Though they joked about Ebony and Ivory,”” the song closing out the night was Pegboy’s “Hardlight.” And they left the crowd smiling…and exhausted. Which is exactly how one should feel at the end of a great night punk rock.

In addition to the veteran groups co-headlining the show, first two bands on the bill, Breakmouth Annie out of St. Louis; and Chicago’s Airstream Futures provided far more than just a warm up. Both groups got the crowd moving and rowdy.

But terrific music this weekend also happened at least twice at Liar’s (likely three times but I was on site twice).




Friday was a night to recover from any family drama and over-eating that might have occurred on Thanksgiving. It was also a night to celebrate the birthday of lifelong skateboarder Abe Linders who turned… well a bit over 21 and let’s leave it at that. While he pulled no tricks on the cozy stage indicating that he was too old for that well we know how the line goes. His band Fastplants, out of Waukegan, needed no tricks to provide fast-moving punk rock. Linders described the origin of the band name, “We’re all skateboarders none pro. A fastplant is a skateboarding trick that none of us are able to do.”

Stomping Grounds is American Oi!/punk band formed a decade ago and members describe the band as product of the tough working class culture found on the streets of Chicago’s south side and Northwest Indiana. Lead singer/guitarist Marcus is a Chicago Fireman, His twin, E.J. commands the drums and is also a writer; Matt on rhythm guitar is a member of the Indiana Teachers Union; Dmitri on bass wears his blue-collar proudly as well.

Paulie Think brought his unique brand of Hip Hop Folk-Punk to Liars. This time on stage fronting Shots Fired Shots Fired, he sounded out on the President Trump and his administration. Needless to say, he is apparently is not a fan of the 45th President of the United States.

Sunday brought the 5th annual Punksgiving Food Drive and Benefit. Among the acts featured this night were the Anti-Trumpz and Squared Off. The Anti-Trumpz may be one of the first punk bands founded and focused completely on protesting President Donald Trump. They classify themselves as protest punk and their mission statement on Facebook is: “Playing loud music, Fighting the powers that be, Corrupting the corrupt system, Speaking the truth, Empowering the people, Sticking up for the downtrodden.” The founding date of the band is listed as November 8, 2016, as in the date of the presidential election. With a set list including: “Trump Nation,” “Thanx for makin’ me a Target”, “China is comin’ fo Texas”, “Uncle Sam’s a Peepin’ Tom”,“Up to Us”, “Do the Pussy Grab”, “Dump Trump,” and they are about neither political subtlety nor apathy. This is their punk rock version of right of the redress of grievances provided in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Chicago blue-collar stalwarts Squared Off are veterans of the stage at Liar’s Club and never fail to stir the crowd to full on chaos. Sunday night was another example of this as they performed a set including, “Haymarket Riots,”“ My World,” “As one”,“Instigator,” “The rail,” “B.C. Boys”; and “Blue Collar Cry.”

The night was a success in raising almost $200 and a many bags full of non-perishable food donations for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. It was also a terrific way to close out his holiday weekend. But hey, in a few weeks, there will be Christmas shows followed in quick succession by New Years’ to keep the holidays rocking.



Show Review: Hallowmas 20 With World/Inferno Friendship Society

All photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
World/Inferno Friendship Society truly puts on one of the best Halloween spectacles in the world.

Danielle Kolker of Brooklyn based folk-punk band Out of System Transfer had to turn down a gig with her other project, Funk Rust Brass Band, on Oct. 31 to tend to a religious obligation. That spiritual commitment was World/Inferno Friendship Society’s annual Halloween rowdy down Hallowmas at The Warsaw. As much as Kolker was half joking with her bandmates about why she had to miss the show, calling what transpired in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on All Hallow’s Eve a religious experience isn’t that far from the truth.

The chief pontificator of The Great Pumpkin Jack Terricloth lead his congregation of crusties, misfits, punks, and weirdos on a nearly two-hour long vision quest of intrigue and drama culminating in a rousing rendition of the old World/Inferno hymn “Pumpkin Time.” Terricloth is a cult unto himself and with his absurdly talented brood behind him, it’s hard not fall hook, line, and sinker for his silver-tongued sermons revolving around the aforementioned gourde, the history of WIFS, and the finer points of mischief-making.

It goes without saying that Halloween is a big night in New York City and even with the likes of Gwar and the Parliament Funkadelic putting on competing shows within the borders of the Big Apple WIFS loyal Infernites still made their way to the National Polish Home in Northwest Brooklyn to worship at the altar of the Great Pumpkin. For those who were counted, they were given a real treat of a show for the 20th annual Hallowmas.

It was definitely an intimate affair for World/Inferno and all the Infernites.

On this special evening World/Inferno decided not to open with their usual score “Tattoos Fade” and went instead with “Ich Erinnere Mich An Die Weimarer Republik” and allowed the crowd to sing out the masterful lyrics “I’m a fag, I’m a Jew, how do you do? That’s Mr. Anarchist to you,” but really the whole evening was just one big singalong. The band went through tunes like “Politics of Passing Out,” “The Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater,” “And Embarked on a Life of Poverty,” “American Mercurial” “Addicted to Bad Ideas,” “Your Younger Man,” and slew of others while the crowd sloshed along dancing, singing, and drinking. WIFS even had their opening act the Lowdown Brass Band jump on stage to add a few extra horns to certain numbers including the opener and “Pumpkin Time.”

With all the costume-clad dancers and the overall design of The Warsaw the whole event kind of felt like a school dance … if your school hired a band fronted by the twisted love child of Frank Sinatra and Elvira who was possibly baptized by satan. But that’s the real fun of Hallowmas, it’s a night to leave the pretension at home and just jump in the Moshpit dressed as Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan.

There was no way Bill and Ted were going to miss this rock show.

After 20-years of being one of New York City’s best kept Halloween secrets World/Inferno says they are ready for 20 more. Hell, when the fans who are now half the age of the band still come out in droves for the chance to party it up with the Pumpkin King it’s easy to see why Hallowmas is still one of the best punk events in NYC and by far the best yearly punk shows still kicking in the Volcano.

The Lowdown Brass Band really takes their name to heart as they decided to get down low onto the venue’s floor to entertain the hordes.

The Lowdown Brass Band and Of Death opened the evening. Lowdown captured the crowd with their marching band style tunes and high energy. While the crusties got to moshing to Of Deaths almost alt-country affectations.

Here’s hoping Travis James and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists can open Hallowmas 21 and hats off to Terricloth and the gang for giving all the miscreants something to do on Halloween until the bars close and the real fun can begin.



DS Editorial & Show Review: Worldwide Street Generation (Barb Wire Dolls, Svetlanas & 57)

By Michael Sorensen

Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s what we’re taught as young future forward independent thinkers. However, on December 27th, 2014, I came across an online ad for a band called Barb Wire Dolls playing at the now defunct Blank Club in San Jose. Although not familiar with their music, their name suggested they don’t play smooth jazz and their look supported my suspicion that they may be brewing up my cup of tea.

What I witnessed that night was one of the most memorable live shows I can recall. This band didn’t aim to reinvent the wheel, but rather execute upon a blueprint laid out by one of their main influences – Darby Crash of The Germs. Play loud fast rock n’ roll music with bollocks, delivered with a dose of authenticity!

Hailing from the Greek island of Crete, the band was formed by singer Isis Queen and guitarist Pyn Doll. The band was born of the Ikarus Artist Commune, an elusive retreat in the mountains of Avdou. The commune, co-founded by Pyn, is a place where like-minded residents spend their time pursuing their artistic endeavors and surfing the legendary Cretan coast.

After crafting their sound while playing shows in their native Greece, Barb Wire Dolls were discovered by KROQ host Rodney Bingenheimer – who’s also responsible for discovering such relatively unknown bands as Sex Pistols, Guns N’ Roses, and Nirvana. It’s safe to say that Rodney’s attention casts a bright light. The Barb Wire Dolls did what many have done before – sold their belongings and embarked on a pilgrimage to Hollywood. Their journey, however, was a bit longer than the American bands before them. In December of 2010, the Dolls made history by becoming the first Greek band to play in America, and oh by the way it was a sold out show at The Roxy.

The band capitalized on this debut by touring relentlessly, playing over 300 shows between 2012 and 2013! Their omnipresent tour-de-rock eventually led to the eternal godfather of loud fast music, our rock n roll warlord Lemmy Kilmister, who upon hearing the Dolls personally signed them to his newly created label. With a new home at Motorhead Music, they continue to tour, record, and surf all over the world.

The first time I met the people behind this sonic rock n’ roll force was Super Bowl Sunday in February of 2015. The Barb Wire Dolls had announced a secret show in their practice space at KOOS Studio in San Pedro, and I just happened to be in Southern California for work anyway. I showed up at the studio and watched the Barb Wire Dolls deliver another epic frenzied performance to about a dozen people, most of whom I assume were from other bands and just happened to be in the studio practicing. After the set I introduced myself to Isis, Pyn, and drummer Krash. This was before Lemmy had caught wind of them and they were talking about shopping their record around to labels, looking for the right fit. In true DIY fashion, Isis hooked me up with a hand-numbered, white label copy of their unreleased album – complete with lipstick on the sleeve. We talked about surfing spots, punk music, and their upcoming trip back home to Greece.

I would go on to see Barb Wire Dolls another 8 times over the next 2 years between the Bay Area, Hollywood, and Vegas. Each time they would attract new Street Generation converts and amass a larger global following. However, their work ethic, DIY roots, and humility are always intact. They are always available before and after the show to say hello, and they always remember old friends from the shows over the years.

That brings us to now. As the fates would have it, while I’m on a 2-month homecoming from Asia, the Barb Wire Dolls are back in San Francisco with one of the most incredible international lineups I’ve ever seen, including the Svetlanas from Russia and 57 from South Korea. As I arrived at the DNA Lounge, Pyn was leaning against the wall outside, coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Krash was in line at the next-door pizza place, carbing up for the show, while Isis Queen was upstairs reacquainting herself with old friends near the merch table (featuring items custom made by Isis herself).

Like the Dolls did before them, 57 are one of the first South Korean bands to tour the U.S., and oh my lord did they bring the noise! I may be dating myself here, but they are a rock duo similar in makeup to alternative ’90’s band Local H, featuring only guitar and drums. The similarities end there, and please don’t let their lack of band personnel dissuade you from thinking they aren’t an absolute sonic powerhouse. As soon as these two otherwise quiet and restrained individuals took the stage, they unleashed a barrage of frenzied guitars and chaotic drum-beats featuring constantly changing time signatures and effects. Their sound can best be described as if At The Drive ordered a Dillinger Escape Plan with a side of Lo-Fi garage goodness.

Next up was Svetlanas. Wanna know how you’ve earned your stripes in the punk scene? Well, being banned from your home country would certainly do it. Having been described as the most dangerous band in the world, Svetlanas certainly live up to the title by being labeled enemies of the state due to their confrontational brand of political dissent. Constantly on the road while in exile from their homeland, it’s safe to say they are certainly not here to sway the outcome of any election. Rather, they want to deliver their consistent message complete with a pair of middle fingers in the air. The band’s singer and primary energy source is the pint-sized Olga, but please don’t underestimate this agent of chaos. While the band is on stage, Olga is bouncing around across the entire venue. If you are within her sights, she will be up in your face screaming lyrics like “no hope no way” and “let’s get drunk”, accompanied by the intense stares of a woman possessed. You will not be comfortable while they are performing, but isn’t that what we all came here for?!

Finally, Isis Queen hit the stage and proclaimed, “We’re the Barb Wire Dolls and we play rock n’ roll.”. Truer words were never spoken! While they ripped through new cuts from their album Rub My Mind and staples like Revolution, they slowed it down for ballads like I Will Sail and Where Mountains Drink Wine. In addition to the core members, the current lineup includes bassist Iriel Blaque and a rhythm guitarist whose name I didn’t get. They are constantly expanding their sound and reaching new audiences the world over. I knew from the moment I heard them years ago that they would be an influential force in the live music scene for many years to come.

After their set, I caught up with Isis Queen, who remembered my white and red leather jacket. We briefly talked about NorCal surf spots, their new album, and my upcoming move to the Philippines. I attempted to lure the band there by mentioning the Pinoy surf jaunt Siargao.

So, there you have it. I just revealed one of the greatest kept secrets in music today – The Barb Wire Dolls. On a cold Tuesday night at DNA Lounge in San Francisco, myself and a couple dozen others witnessed one of the greatest international lineups the world has ever known. 57 was there. Svetlanas was there. Barb Wire Dolls was there. Blaq Dahlia from The Dwarves was there. Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedy’s fame was there. Were you there?!



DS Editorial: The Night I Videotaped Circle Jerks & Fear And Barely Lived To Tell About It

Words by Loren Kantor

In the winter of 1981, I responded to a backpage ad in Flipside, an independent zine covering the Los Angeles punk rock scene. The ad read: “Videographer needed to document local punk shows.” I’d spent several thousand dollars on a Panasonic video camera and was looking for a way to recoup the investment. I called the number and spoke with Boris, a man with a heavy Slavic accent. He told me to meet him on Wednesday night at the Stardust Ballroom, an old big band venue at the corner of Western & Sunset in East Hollywood.

All I had to do was videotape several hours of punk rock performances and Boris would pay me $300. It sounded simple enough. I’d been a drummer in high school with a love for prog-rock bands like Genesis and King Crimson. I didn’t know much about punk. I’d heard the Sex Pistols and the Clash. I figured punk was just another outlet for teen angst and rebellion, the essence of all rock ‘n’ roll.

The band list that night included the Circle Jerks, Fear and Black Flag. This would be an epic LA show, but I had no way of knowing this at the time. Boris met me outside the venue. He wore a dark sharkskin suit and his face was pockmarked with acne scars. He introduced me to El Duce, a local punk legend who would be my chaperone that evening. El Duce was a menacing singer for the “rape rock” band The Mentors. He was a bald Latino with a ratty beard, sanpaku eyes and a hairy belly protruding beneath a tight t-shirt. He was rude, crass and prone to spitting on and cursing women. (One of his songs included the lyrics, “Bend up and smell my anal vapor, your face is my toilet paper.”) Boris said, “As long as you stay near him no one will fuck with you.”

Boris said he’d meet me on the sidewalk after the show. I followed El Duce into the lobby past a mass of white teens wearing t-shirts and jeans. People gave El Duce a wide berth as he flashed the finger and made fart sounds with his lips. I noticed several skinheads beating the crap out of a longhair near the concession stand. I also had long hair. I turned on my video camera and started taping. My camera would be my invisibility cloak, my instrument of anonymity.

El Duce disappeared into the crowd leaving me without a security detail. I entered the performance space as the Circle Jerks were playing “Live Fast Die Young.” Singer Keith Morris thrashed around stage screaming indecipherable vocals into the microphone. The music was frenetic with distorted guitar, pulsing bass and hyperactive drums. I searched for a vantage point to position my camera. There was an opening left of stage, directly beneath a large amp. I turned on my portable light and carved through the crowd like a snowplow.

There were about 200 people in the audience. Most were calm except a few trying to start a mosh pit. As the Circle Jerks stormed through their playlist, the throng pushed against me and the slam dancing began in earnest. I was struck by a few wayward arm thrusts but I was more concerned for the camera than my own personal safety.

At the end of the set I followed the Circle Jerks backstage. I entered a small room with graffiti-covered walls, a torn couch and several broken chairs. Guitarist Greg Hetson thrust a beer into my hand. He urged me to roll camera as he yelled directly into the lens. “We’re making history tonight. LA is the center of the punk universe.” Someone else screamed, “The Pistols are pussies.” El Duce entered the room, dropped his pants and grabbed his testicles. Everyone was excited, caught in the magnitude of the evening.

That was when I sensed a menacing presence in the corner. He was a short, stocky man with close-cropped hair, muscular neck and piercing blue eyes. He was quiet and tense, oozing rage like a tiger caught in a steel trap. I pointed the camera toward him. He flipped me off and scowled. I turned away, intimidated. El Duce admonished me, “Don’t diss Lee, man. He’ll mess you up.” He referred to Lee Ving, the notorious lead singer of Fear. To this day I’ve never met a scarier human being.

I returned to the auditorium and was greeted by a stench of body odor and stale beer. The room was now packed with thousands of screaming, shirtless fans. My previous camera position was filled. I made a fateful decision, climbing atop the eight-foot high amplifier on the stage. From there I could tape the performance without anyone blocking my view. The sound might be muffled but I was clear of the mosh pit and out of harm’s way.

As Fear began their set, the crowd roared. Suddenly everything was chaos. Their first song was “I Love Livin’ In The City.” Moshers blitzed the stage and smashed into each other like bowling pins. Two beefy bouncers grabbed the aggressive fans and hurled them into the oscillating mass. A band member played an out-of-tune saxophone. Lee Ving stumbled backwards, bodies flying around him. At one point, he looked my way. This caught the crowd’s attention as if they suddenly noticed me for the first time.

I pointed the camera toward the crowd. This was a big mistake. A cup of beer hit me in the chest. Suddenly I felt the amplifier swaying. I looked down and saw two moshers rocking the amp back and forth. Fans cheered. Lee Ving thrust his fist in the air as if to signal his approval.

The amp toppled. I cradled my camera to my chest and prepared for impact. I fell headfirst into a horde of bodies and limbs. People began punching and kicking me. Someone yanked my hair. Others spit at me. I curled into a ball, making myself as small as possible. For some reason I focused on the song that was playing, “Beef Bologna.” I had the thought, “That’s a strange thing to write a song about.”

Someone grabbed me under the armpits and dragged me away. I’ve no idea who it was. He deposited me by the back wall, near the bathroom. My shirt was soaked from sweat and beer. My breathing was labored. I struggled to my feet and shuffled out of the venue. When I reached the sidewalk, I gulped for air. My nose was bleeding but my main concern was my camera. There was a dent in the camera body but it still worked. I pointed at the marquee and took one last shot. Then I staggered to my car and drove home.

The next morning the phone rang at 6:30. It was Boris. He wanted to know why I didn’t meet him after the show. I told him what happened. He wasn’t interested. All he cared was whether I recorded Black Flag. I told him no. He cursed in Slavic. He said there’d been a near riot and a tape of the show would be gold.

He asked if he could get the tape that morning. I told him my camera was damaged and I wanted extra money. He said he would only pay $200 since I didn’t record Black Flag. We agreed on $400. Before delivering the tape, I watched the footage. The performance shots were dark and the sound quality crackled. But the backstage shots of the Circle Jerks and Lee Ving looked great.

It would take a few weeks before my ribs and nose were back to normal. The trauma would take longer to heal. I don’t know why I didn’t make a copy of the tape. Maybe I wanted to put the incident behind me. That would be the last punk show I ever attended.



Show Review: Upstart Street Festival Catskill NY (Dr. Beardface, Kyle Trocolla, Strangers, Pitchfork Militia)

So this last weekend I see an ad on Facebook that reads “Upstart Music-Arts Brewfest and Fleamarket” and what caught my eye was the font in the word Upstart was the same as Upstart Fest and the Upstart Antisocial Campout two of my favorite punk festivals/tours so I went to the page that was linked on the ad and sure enough the good people from Upstart Fest had put together a street festival in the little town of Catskill NY which is maybe an hour and a half north of where I am from in Poughkeepsie.

And  with nothing to do on this fine end of summer day I grabbed two friends and we made the drive up to Catskill NY which turned out to be a really cute little town right on the Hudson River and an easy drive from where we lived. Upon arrival at about noon it appeared the Fest was already in full swing and the street was filled with people, my friends and I grabbed a beer from the Rip Van Winkle Brewery tent and caught the last two songs from a set done by Danny Stitches who looked and sounded like a dead Waylon Jennings, and before you think I’m making fun of Mr. Stitches I’m not, he was done up in rather professional makeup to look like  Frankenstein’s Monster with a black cowboy hat and he sang country songs, and from the little I heard was quite good.

Next followed a poppy band called Ramona Lane, whose front man had a good voice, they weren’t bad and with some polishing and more stage presence may be able to gain some recognition down the line in the new alternative scene. The set after that was by a young looking band called Frances Dean, fans of Nirvana rejoice these guys brought back the dead with this set, the front man stood out as the omnipresent grunge master with a permanent scowl on his face as the rhythm guitarist kept the frantic momentum going as they entertained the growing crowd and local fans.

We shared some delicious spinach and potato pierogis bought some ear rings and another craft beer this time from Keegan Ales which was also really delicious, and then returned to the stage to see Mr. Danny Stitches back up there with a different front man and a full band who called themselves Casanova Frankenstein And The Voodoo Machine. Dressed in black and red bowling shirts and all done up like corpses they rocked out a set of creepy rockabilly songs that got us all thinking that we needed to start getting ready for Halloween. And as it happened they did a really great job and were a lot of fun.

The next three bands slated to appear were a surprise, a very good surprise for me as I know and love them all, Dr. Beardfacé And The Spaceman, Pitchfork Militia, and Kyle Trocolla and his full band The Strangers. I was surprised because there was no mention of any of the performers I could see on the Facebook Ad other than “Bands” so obviously once I read the whiteboard with the full list of bands the day got a whole lot more interesting for me.

Dr. Beardfacé And The Spaceman hit the stage hard, opening the set up with Teenage Runaway, one of my favorite songs off their latest album, and then just rolled into song after song in an almost panicked pace hitting us with one song after another Ramones style for at least 45 minutes the crowd growing as they played and jumping when they layed into their cover of Dramarama’s  anything anything.

A band who I haven’t seen in years was up next, Hudson Valley legends Pitchfork Militia got up and after their first song announced that this was their 23rd year as a band which garnered cheers from their fans and other show goers as they played their infamous brand of “Cow Punk” with front man Peter Head playing his guitar with a toy fire truck to the amazement of onlookers who were unfamiliar with the bands onstage antics.

And finally Kyle Trocolla of Two Fisted Law fame showcased his solo work with the backing of a full band called The Strangers. I was, or am I should say a big fan of Kyle’s solo work, his song writing and his musicianship are on par with contemporaries like Tim Barry and Chuck Regan I believe. And I had heard he occasionally performs his acoustic songs with a full band but have never seen him do it. Let me state for the record he blew us away, I will stand as a firm fan of his solo acoustic stuff and think his last album The Stranger was one of the finest albums of 2016 but hearing those songs played by a full band with all the additional instruments and intricacies a full band can bring was absolutely phenomenal and a really great treat.

So from three Poughkeepsie girls thank you Upstart people for giving us another fine day of music, food, beer, and really interesting vendors and artists…Yes let me not forget to mention the very interesting vendors, artists and craftspeople who made up the bulk of this fine fair as I ramble on about music. There were vendors manning booths selling canned and jarred foods, fruit and vegetables, cool punk clothing, not so cool mainstream clothing (a girl needs that too) vinyl records, really great and interesting artists, jewelers etc. everything and more you could want or ask for in a street festival of this type.

Upstart Music-Arts Brewfest And Fleamarket, We loved you!



Show Review: Punk in Drublic (9/16/17 – Tacoma, WA)

The Punk in Drublic logline is the sort of thing that makes a Pacific Northwest punk a little misty-eyed: craft beer + punk rock. It sounds so simple, yet until now, it hadn’t been done. Fat Mike has managed to combine the unique atmosphere of a punk rock show with a brewfest. As Langston Hughes said, “Hold fast to dreams.”

The tour stops are cities most likely missed on regular circuits. I arrived at the Tacoma stop with the thought, as I’m sure did everyone else: why the fuck is this in Tacoma? The question is probably the answer. NOFX is a band that has been around forever and toured about everywhere you can think of, doing a weird tour of less-sought American cities seems right up their alley. Sometimes the only reason is why not?

I got to the venue early enough to walk around and take in the sights. It kind of reminded me of a mini-Punk Rock Bowling, but without the oppressive desert heat. In fact, the green grass and cool air were a welcome change from my past festival experiences. If there’s anyone listening out there: the mild climate of the Northwest is perfect for this type of thing. People were drinking beers and chatting, hyping themselves about the last time they saw NOFX or Bad Religion; decked out in Fat Wreck gear and comparing tasting notes. It was a cool vibe, definitely a unique festival experience. I had the pleasure of trying out Stone’s NOFX collaboration beer– a hoppy lager called Punk In Drublic– and am happy to report it tastes about how you’d expect: a big earthy bouquet of lager maltiness with a strong dose of hops. Pretty damn good, if you ask me.

The biggest problem with the beer side of the operation was that there wasn’t enough. There were ten-thousand punks in Tacoma that night, and they drank all the beer.

Photo credit: Evan Olszko

Impressively, it wasn’t even cheap beer, we’re talking ten-bucks-a-pop festival cups here. Fat Mike got his I-told-you-so in on the mic at the end of the night. For next time, they’ll have to remember that the crowd that goes to see a craft beer/ NOFX show aren’t the one-and-done types. Besides the beer running out into the middle of the final set, the festival went pretty smoothly, excepting for the long beer and merch lines. It’s hard to be too upset, allowing for inexperience with this sort of event. If they do it again (and God, I hope they do it again), they’ll need twice the kegs and the volunteers to go with them.

For the music of the day, I’m happy to say all the bands killed it. Tacoma darlings, the Hilltop Rats opened the show, obviously honored to be in the company of such a strong lineup. They played fast and aggressive skate punk with tons of melody and banter. They were there to get the fest started off right, and they were there to have fun along the way– what else can you expect from a band who played a song called “Jell-O Shots”?

Not to beat a dead horse, but the lines for beer were getting gargantuan by the time the music started in earnest. Unfortunately, the beer line predicament kept me in line for the entirety of Bad Cop/ Bad Cop’s set. From where I was though, they sounded great. Warriors is one of my favorites of the year, and I was happy to hear them play and harmonize with expert precision.

Goldinger was up next and if I had to name a song of their’s to save my life, I would have to gracefully accept a bullet. But, when they came on stage, I was in total awe. Those guys have energy to spare. They were bouncing up and down, kicking out muscular riffs that had folks dancing and singing along. Ska isn’t usually my thing, but man, I had to admit– Goldfinger kinda rocked it.

Less Than Jake had a bunch of energy too, and gave a bashful “Thanks, Fat Mike,” for putting on the punk beer fest. If there was a running theme through the night, it was that the band’s were as enthralled with the novelty of the event as the fans. They opened with “All My Best Friends are Metalheads,” which means, if I had to name one song of Less Than Jake’s to save my life, I could do exactly that.

The gateway band that I can’t shake is Bad Religion. Yeah, there were other bands I listened to when I first got into punk, but Bad Religion is the one that I always come back to. What can I say about them that hasn’t been said? Their set at Punk In Drublic was one of the best I’ve seen from them, they sounded great (especially their harmonies) and opened with “American Jesus” and ended with “Fuck Armageddon… This is Hell.” In between those two, they also played “No Control,” “Do What You Want,” “Generator,” “Los Angeles Is Burning,” and a bunch of their other hits. As he is apt to do, Fat Mike jumped on stage for the bridge of “21st Century (Digital Boy).” At Punk Rock Bowling, he took over bass for “We’re Only Gonna Die.” If there’s one thing Fat Mike likes to do (besides drugs), it’s help Bad Religion keep their set exciting. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again, but it always brings a smile to my face.

I’d only see NOFX once before, but knowing how the band follows whims (you know, like pulling off a punk beer fest in Tacoma), I always figured their sets could be pretty distinct. As per usual, there was the trademark banter, which for a NOFX fan is as much a part of their set as well, you know– songs– but, it was funny and entertaining. Fat Mike riffed on event coordinators not having enough beer and then proceeded to play a lot of classic tracks, changing words for laughs along the way. Seeing NOFX in their element with an audience of ten-thousand was a sight to see. You don’t get many opportunities to sing “Bob” with a choir that size. Everyone was really into it, singing and circle pitting– whether in the pit or not– and I was pleasantly surprised to hear them play one of my favorite deep cuts, “I’m a Huge Fan of Bad Religion,” maybe just because I can relate to the title.

All in all, Tacoma’s Punk in Drublic was a unique spectacle of good beer, great live performances, and some logistics that could stand to be improved. But, as Fat Mike celebratorily said, “This is a punk rock festival for ADULTS!” And it certainly was. There was beer and there was a music, and not a fucking kid in sight.

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

 

 



Show Review: The Menzingers, Laura Stevenson, The Split Seconds, and Kyle Trocolla (8/26/17 – NY)

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.