Search Results for "Show Review"

Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival (Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater, Denver)

It seems like there’s more and more beer/music festivals popping up these days. Sabroso Craft Beer & music Festival sets itself apart from the herd by adding a pinch of Latin flair to the mix. Not only are there taco and burrito trucks, there’s full on luchador wrestling matches boot! If that’s not enough, there’s also a ton of rad bands who take the stage once everyone’s bellies have been filled with comida y cerveza! At the Denver stop, we were treated to quite a few heavyweight acts including Bad Religion, |Strung Out Black Flag and The Offspring and none of them disappointed. Check out the full write up and gallery, below!



DS Photo Gallery: The Interrupters with Masked Intruder & Rat Boy (The Ogden Theater, Denver)

For me, Friday April 5th 2019 was a night of excitement, curiosity and comfort. Ska superstars, The Interrupters were here in The Mile High and having seen them perform many times before, there’s s sense of comfort and familiarity that I feel every time I catch one of their live performances. On the flip side of that coin, I had never had the chance to see the legendary antics of Fat Wreck alum Masked Intruder before. Many fables have been told of their highly interactive and massively entertaining sets, the lore alone enough to pique my interest. So, I was more excited than I normally am for a show, just to add this specific feather to my cap. I also had some curiosity mixed in as the opening act, Rat Boy was in from the UK and other than knowing that Tim Timebomb had taken the young act under his wing, I knew nothing about them. INTRIGUE!! So, I grabbed my trusty Nikon and headed down to The Ogden Theatre to the punk rock shooooow! Check out the full review and gallery below!



Show Review: Jawbreaker at Brooklyn Steel with War On Women and Pohgoh

 

            Jawbreaker at Brooklyn Steel 3/24/19. Text and Photos By Kate Hoos.

Jawbreaker- who first ignited a frenzy when they reunited in 2017 at Riot Fest and then went on to tour throughout 2018- is back on the road again, currently on a week long run on the East Coast with War On Women and an also re-united 90s group, Pohgoh. The tour hit NYC for a pair of shows at Brooklyn Steel on 3/23-3/24. While the 3/23 show was sold out, Sunday was more low-key attendance wise, but that didn’t hinder any of the bands in giving rock solid, spot on performances. Keep scrolling for pics and show review.

Pohgoh opened up the night with a set of emo flavored indie cuts. The band was initially active in the mid 1990s, releasing a split with Braid, as well as several of their own singles and a full length in 1997 that came out shortly after they ceased playing shows. Their song “Friend X” was also the closing track on the very first of the legendary Emo Diaries series of comps on Deep Elm Records, which any eagle earred longtime fans in the crowd would have picked out right away when they closed their set with it. Having been a Deep Elm devotee in the late 90s and 2000s, who owned almost every comp they put out until 2003ish, I certainly perked right up when I heard it, smiling as recognition of a nice slice of the past set in.

Though the band ended their first run in 1997, they are officially back now with this tour and a recently released album, Secret Club. Released in 2018, it is a deeply personal album that touches on singer Susie Ulrey’s life with Multiple Sclerosis, the last 20 years, and what it is like being a re-united band now.

War On Women is fresh off of an Australian tour, having just barely arrived back home before this current tour kicked off, but you would never suspect a single ounce of fatigue or jet lag in them. They blazed full force into their set, opening with the searing rager “Pro-Life?” from their 2015 self titled debut leaving no question as to exactly what this band stand for. Singer Shawna Potter is one of the best front women in punk today, captivating audiences while never giving less than 110% in every performance and the rest of her band mates have the intensity to match her. In a set that was pretty evenly split with songs from their debut and their latest album, 2018’s brilliant and fiery Capture The Flag, they minced no words and took no prisoners, making it very clear their stance on life in America today with every lyric of every single song confronting misogyny, rape culture, transphobia, the brutality of healthcare and a whole host of issues that are sadly all too relevant in the political climate of 2019.

The band will continue their frenetic pace up through summer with North East and Canadian dates scheduled for May right before they embark on a UK/European tour with feminist post hardcore shredders Petrol Girls. War On Women is without a doubt one of the most important bands making music today, be sure to keep your eyes open for when they hit your town next.

 

Like many fans of Jawbreaker my age (just a shade under 40 if I’m dating myself!) I’m just a bit too young to have caught them in their initial run which ended in 1996, so this was something I had looked forward to for over 20 years. I also sadly wasn’t able to see them on their first shows back in New York in 2018, so this was really a night I had absolutely been waiting for. They have meant so much to so many people for a very long time, myself included, and I was not at all disappointed; from the reaction of the crowd- with a few attendees in the front row shedding tears- no one else was either. Hearing so many of the songs that were such a big part of my formative years played live was an incredible experience. It didn’t even dawn on me that all of the material they were performing was over 20 years old, some songs even 30 years old; they are all still so fresh in my mind and in the mind of so many of the fans, regardless of if they listened to Jawbreaker in the 90s or were even born at the time some of their albums came out. Needless to say, the band effortlessly delivered an intense and remarkable set as if no time had passed at all since their initial years.

The set list was switched up from night to night and touched on tracks from all over their catalog, sure to please even the most die-hard fans. On Sunday they opened with “Want,” the first track from their 1990 debut Unfun and went on to hit B-Sides “Sea Foam Green,” and “Kiss The Bottle” along with tracks from all four of their albums including solid helping of gems from Dear Youan album that on initial release in 1995 was particularly polarizing to long time fans, but now finally has the healthy respect it always deserved. It almost seemed like they weren’t going to play fan favorite “Boxcar,” but they held out and saved it for the encore to the delight of a very enthusiastic crowd. It is truly a special band that can write and play songs that sound as necessary today in 2019 as they did when they were first written in the late 80s and early 90s.

While fans new and old are certainly waiting to see if this reunion will bring new music, it hasn’t been made clear by the band yet if that is something on the horizon. For now they will finish this tour and then head to the UK/Europe for dates with Beach Slang and will also play for the 25th anniversary of Warped Tour in July.



The Wonder Years/Mayday Parade Live Review @The Troxy, London UK 23/02/2019

The Wonder Years and Mayday Parade seem like a slightly strange pairing for a co-headline tour. Although from the same world, they occupy different spaces within punk and pop punk music. Over the past few years, The Wonder Years have steadily been moving away from the positive leaning pop punk they originally came up playing alongside contemporaries like Man Overboard and The Story So Far. More recent albums have seen The Wonder Years broadening their horizon and arguably following a similar musical path to Brand New (apologies for the unfortunate reference). Mayday Parade, on the other hand, are something of a poppier and cheesier version of Taking Back Sunday. To see these two bands headlining a tour together at this stage of their careers, is therefore something of a surprise.

This past Saturday The Wonder Years and Mayday Parade played The Troxy in East London, a step up for both bands in terms of venue size for a London headlining show. Along on this tour were also opening acts pronoun and Movements.

Given doors open at 6pm, pronoun have an earlier set time than they perhaps might have chosen. When they take the stage, the room is not yet half full. This is however to be expected for a band playing first on a four-band bill, and at least the front floor is more or less covered. Alyse Vellturo is the sole official member of pronoun, she takes the stage with her backing band in what look like mechanic jumpsuits. The atmosphere in the room suggests that not many of the crowd are familiar with Alyse and her music, and she seems humbled that some of the crowd have made the effort to catch the early set. Their second song ‘A Million Other Things’ (from the 2017’s EP ‘Use Passport To Choose A New Location’) is a great driving pop song in a major key that is reminiscent of The 1975. Much of the set continues in a similar vein and it makes for an enjoyable listen. The songs feel more indie-pop rather than punk, the guitars aren’t too heavy and there isn’t a palm muted verse in sight. By the second half of the set, the venue is beginning to look busier and pronoun have the attention of all who are there. The set finishes with two songs from the upcoming full-length ‘I’ll Show You Stronger’ (out in May). Whilst both songs are strong, the prominent backing track is somewhat distracting and takes away any energy the songs might have otherwise had live.

Next up are Caliifornia’s Movements. The room is filling more by the time they take the stage and jump straight into the opener which is textbook emo-tinged post-hardcore with driving palm-muting guitars. The four-piece look the part in their long-sleeved streetwear t shirts and chinos. One thing that iss immediately noticeable about their live sound is the significant amount of reverb on the vocals, this could have been dialed back somewhat. It’s obvious from the start that a lot of the crowd are here to see this band as a moshpit breaks out fairly quickly. The songs, however, feel like they’re missing the big choruses that would make the set a lot more entertaining. The band are also very static on stage, but one could argue that is often the style for many of these modern post-hardcore pop punk bands. Despite their lack of stage presence,some of the audience begin crowd-surfing a few songs in. It is difficult to share the enthusiasm of the fans at the front of the room, as Movements subject the crowd constantly to Nirvana-esque riffs and predictably dull choruses.

By 8pm, it was time for the first of tonight’s co-headliners. The Wonder Years take the stage and burst into the title track of last year’s ‘Sister Cities’. There is an abundance of energy with this opener and most of the crowd are singing along. The venue however, does not look particularly full, perhaps this due to the fact that 8pm is a comparatively early slot for a headliner. The band then jumps straight into ‘Local Man Ruins Everything’ which sounds huge with the three guitars on stage and the Troxy is singing every word. The Wonder Years are not afraid of a bit of pogo-jumping (and rightly so) as they get the room jumping for ‘Dismantling Summer’ from 2013’s ‘The Greatest Generation’. This song also showcases the impressive harmonies the band are capable of, which appear to be more prominent with guitarist Matt Brasch seeming to add more vocals than he has done previously. ‘Raining In Kyoto’ is a strong song from their most recent record, and they execute this well with lead singer Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell grabbing a drum stick and hitting an extra crash cymbal. They continue mixing songs from their last three records well with the crowd enjoying them all equally. One problem with The Wonder Years, however, is how seriously they take themselves. Whilst of course it is a good thing to believe in your art, the pretentious tendencies of this band can sometimes feel a little bit uncomfortable. The more recent slow rock songs, whilst mostly well-written, feel like they are by band that ‘thinks’ they are writing a masterpiece. Also, Soupy’s interaction with the crowd sometimes feels cringe-worthy, he constantly speaks in a theatrical over-emotive voice that makes one think “just talk normally dammit!”. Soupy also takes a moment to say that the band are ‘bruised’ by being on tour and doing press. It’s understandable that tour can be grueling and hard work, but this sentiment feels slightly crass given they are co-headlining a big tour which is likely to not be paid poorly.

Despite these hang-ups, the Wonder Years remain engaging. They throw the crowd off guard by playing old classic ‘Don’t Let Me Cave In’ at what feels like twice the normal pace. It cannot be denied how many good songs they have written over the past few years as the room explodes for ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’ and ‘Cardinals’ reminds us how strong its chorus is. They finish up a primarily impressive set with fan favourite ‘Came Out Swinging’ which is delivered with lots of energy and is great fun, even though the lyrics feel a bit stale and dated eight years after its release.

Florida’s Mayday Parade have a had a steady career since their first EP in 2006. They have played increasingly bigger and bigger venues each time they have visited the UK, and the Troxy seems like a good step after they headlined The Forum in Kentish Town 18 months ago. Their sound of emo pop rock, whilst cheesy, is both charming and catchy if one accepts them for what they are. Tonight they open with ‘Never Sure’ from their 2018 album ‘Sunnyland’. This is a solid pop song with an excellent middle 8, but the crowd is yet to be grabbed in the same way they were instantly by The Wonder Years’ set. It’s when Mayday go into ‘Jersey’ from their 2007 album ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ that the audience really gets excited. The singalong this ignites is arguably more intense than anything The Wonder Years inspired. They continue the first half of the set by mostly interweaving songs from ‘Sunnyland’ and ‘A Lesson In Romantics’, this works well as the latter is their most popular album. Songs like ‘Black Cat’ are irresistible to those familiar with ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ and ‘Piece Of Your Heart’ was a well received single last year.

Before going into their biggest song ‘Jamie All Over’, Mayday Parade treat the crowd to a medley of songs by the likes of New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday. They then follow with their cover of Gotye’s ‘Someone That I Used To Know’ and several songs from their self titled album, all of which are received enthusiastically by the crowd. The band leaves the stage before returning for their encore song ‘I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About’ to the delight of the audience.

Mayday Parade are a strange beast. To the eye, they seem to be stuck in 2009 with their long hair and ultra-skinny jeans (singer Derek Sanders looks overly-comfortable in bare feet!). They have music that can dismissed as ‘sappy’, but yet there is something wholly appealing about them and many of their songs. Whilst they may never reach the heights of some of their contemporaries, there is no reason why they cannot continue to build upon their rising career.

The Wonder Years seem set on continuing developing their musical sound and message. They have a huge, loyal following that will no doubt embrace whatever direction they take their band in the coming years. After watching their set, however, it is hard not to ignore the overheard sentiments of one American fan commenting midset “I get that they are an important band for this scene, but their shows can be annoying with the singer going on like he’s fucking Axel Rose”.



World/Inferno Gets Caliente At El Cortez In Bushwick, Brooklyn

All Photos by JeffSchaerMoses.com
Jack Terricloth of the World/Inferno Friendship Society at El Cortez Tuesday night.

Scenic Presents could hardly contain themselves when they announced they would have a mysterious headliner at Bushwick’s El Cortez Tuesday night and when news broke it would be the World/ Inferno Friendship Society word spread quickly. WIFS at El Cortez was a hot ticket that became a hot and sticky event as about 100 people crammed into the tiny Safari Room.

It was a packed room for the Brooklyn based 7-piece and they delivered by playing the hits with passion and vigor. WIFS was fresh from a show in Teaneck, New Jersey at Debonair Music Hall and after a show over the bridge, it showed they were happy to be back in New York City for the evening.

There were a few new faces playing with WIFS at El Cortez.

Songs mostly from Red Eyed Soul and This Packed Funeral dominated the setlist and World/Inferno’s stalwart leader Jack Terricloth kept the energy high in the room from beginning to end. It was a sweaty mess by midset with the entire crowd moshing along and Jack spraying the crowd with his own perspiration.

It was reallyinterestig seeing them in such an intimate environment in their home city seeing as they regularly play venue’s two and three times the size of the narrow hallway of a space at El Cortez. It must have been pretty interesting for Terricloth as well as he proclaimed loudly as soon as he hit the stage, “what the hell are we doing at El Cortez. But reguardless of venue size WIFS gave the crowd an unrelenting set worthy of Madison Square Garden.

Brooklyn punks Cop/Out who will be touring the West Coast in support of Leftover Crack next month went on right before WIFS and they are just about the clostest thing to a super group that the Brooklyn punk scene can produce. All 4 members play in other successful bands and all 4 members help produce New Yorks best punk festival every year, Punk Island.

Cop/Out is still in their infancy and they are already rocking rooms all over the city with a major tour on the horizon. They are definitely worth keeping an eye on. Pop-punkers Fat Heaven and two piece guitar and sax duo Flesh rounded out the evening.

Kate Hoos and Joey Steel of Cop/Out

 

 



Show Review: The Slackers celebrate the Holidays at Irving Plaza with War On Women and The Pandemics

The Slackers on stage at Irving Plaza. Text and photos by Kate Hoos

NYC Ska stalwarts The Slackers hit the stage a few days before Christmas for their annual holiday show at Irving Plaza in Manhattan where they were joined by fellow ska heads The Pandemics and feminist hardcore firebrands War On Women to make for a genre bending helluva good time holiday shindig!

Pics and review from the show below.



BK Punks THICK Release Video For “Lyfe”

Photo By Jeff Schaer-Moses Photogrpahy
THICK guitarist Nikki Crowdsurfing during their set at Brooklyn Bazaar on Dec, 8.

Brooklyn punks THICK released the video for their newest single “Lyfe” at Brooklyn Bazaar on December 8. I don’t want to overstate how good I think THICK is, so lets just put it this way …. get on that wave right now because THICK is the new religion and it’s not going anywhere but up from here.

THICK is already one of the most exciting bands in the BK and it’s only a matter of time before their infectious sound crosses the East River and spreads through The Big Apple like a plague of ass-kicking destruction. THICK may not be reinventing the wheel with their pop-punk tunes but what they are doing is bringing a whole new energy and attitude to the genre.

Glass Slipper, Fat Heaven, and Whiner acted on support on THICKs big night in Greenpoint.



Leftover Crack Owns New York City

 

Scott Sturgeon of Leftover Crack
All Photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography.

Leftover Crack put on a command performance for a sold-out crowd in their hometown on December, 3,  just a few short days after dropping a new record. Sturg and the gang rocked the hordes of Crack Rock Steady fans at Brooklyn Bazaar into a punk induced sweat laced frenzy touching on all the CRS hits. Stza Crack can be a bit of a prima donna at times but acting as the ringleader of a raucous punk rock circus like the one they put on in the BK, the Crack Daddy had no problem rising to the occasion.

Leftover Crack is being joined on tour by Midwest hardcore legends Negative Approach and New Jersey wildmen Crazy and the Brains, and also had Brooklyn’s Cop/Out and (A)Truth out as local support.

Check out the full show review below.



DS Photo Gallery: Jawbreaker, Naked Raygun; and Smoking Popes at Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL

Jawbreaker

Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on the north side of the city played host to three heavy hitters Sunday November 4, 2018. The bill provided fans a bit of relief from near constant coverage running up to the midterm elections. There more than a few “I Voted” (early in those cases) wristbands, politically motivated t-shirts and buttons visible. But for the most part this show would promise a a time-out from the heavy 24 hours news cycle.

The crowd proved that they were among those undeterred by heavy rains. They were too interested in watching Jawbreaker, a beloved headliner returning to Chicago roughly a year after the city played host to the band’s reunion at Riot Fest 2017. There had been more than a little grumbling about the ticket prices for this show when it was first announced. However, it appeared those in attendance in short order decided that shelling out north of $40 was well worth it.  Surely seeing two groups of favorite sons, Naked Raygun and Smoking Popes from Chicago’s tight knit punk rock community helped.

Speaking of tight knit, this show did draw a strong representation of aforementioned community. Spotted in the crowd, but not a complete list by any means I’m sure, were members of Pegboy, The Bollweevils, Death and Memphis; and The Usuals.

Smoking Popes

The Smoking Popes launched into a set of both old tracks and new tunes from “Into The Agony,” the band’s first full length album in many years. Lead singer Josh Caterer dedicated “You Spoke To Me,” off their third album, 1997’s “Destination Failure,” to Jawbreaker, as the song was written about Blake Schwarzenbach himself. Caterer described how fortunate he felt to be on same bill as one of his musical inspirations.

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

 

Smoking Popes

Naked Raygun is routinely described as legendary. And despite any hesitation about that word from its founder and lead singer Jeff Pezzati, it is so frequently used one may come to believe that is actually part of the band’s name.

There had been rumors that due to heath and other concerns, this show would be Naked Raygun’s last live performance. Jeff Pezzati dispelled those rumors and assured me they will in fact continue playing live shows.

Naked Raygun

 

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Bill Stephens, of Naked Raygun, in a lighthearted moment, sticks his tongue out at photographers shooting from the pit below.

Pierre Kezdy, Naked Raygun’s longest running bass player is presently battling cancer and was not in attendance on stage or in the crowd. But his spirit was nonetheless felt and it was seen, on one of the most popular items at Naked Raygun’s table: a t-shirt featuring a full-bodied portrait of Kezdy.

 

Naked Raygun                                                

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

 

Naked Raygun

Returning to Naked Raygun’s performance on this night, Pezzati’s bandmates, drummer Eric Spicer, Bill Stephens on guitar and bass player Fritz Doreza, in their respective roles matched Pezzati’s vocal strength and powered through almost two dozen songs. Highlights including “Home of the Brave, “Peacemaker,” “Vanilla Blue,” the perhaps fortuitously named “Treason,” on which Eli Caterer of The Smoking Popes guested on stage. And of course “Rat Patrol” with its frenzy inducing “Whoah oh oh oh oh oh.” 

Naked Raygun

Oh and a photographer’s note: After the first three songs were completed Pezzati glanced down into the photo pit when he noticed the security signaling for the shooters to leave the pit and indicated to them with “he stays, she stays…” and so on. When the security again signaled for us to leave, Pezzati once again took a moment to tells the security, “they stay.” This was not the first time, Pezzati has advised security that the photographers stay for the entire set. It’s always appreciated by those of us documenting the show.

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Naked Raygun

 

Eli Caterer of Smoking Popes guests on a couple of Naked Raygun songs.

Jawbreaker’s reunion at Riot Fest 2017 whet their fans’ cravings for more shows. Headlining the annual festival weekend apparently also whet the band’s own appetite to play together more often. Jawbreaker kicked off its set with West Bay Invitational and filled it with some of its best songs, including “Jinx Removing,” “Chesterfield King,” “Kiss The Bottle,” and “Accident Prone.” Their energetic performance challenged the crowd to keep up.

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker 

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

 

Jawbreaker

By the end of the night, many the show attendees straggled out of the Uptown venue and up to the “L” red line platform just across the street, shoulders hunched with exhaustion and clothes soaking wet. But it was hard to tell if that was more due to the rain outside or sweat earned inside by leaning into a solid punk rock bill top to bottom, working to match the energy expelled by those on stage. Just your average Sunday night in Chicago, IL.

 

 



21 Years, The Best Halloween Party in New York City

The lights dim, the crowd quiets, and a chorus of “Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up! Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up, Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up,” fills the cavernous Warsaw International Polish Home before the demonic despot Jack Terricloth hits the stage with his mischievous gang of rabble-rousers The World/Inferno Friendship Society.

It doesn’t take them long to break into their perennial opener “Tattoo’s Fade” and with its opening notes the clawed hands of the WIFS faithful reached for the heavens and moved toward their frenetic leader, the Pumpkin King. Their mere appearance on stage is a happening, but when the World/Inferno are on like they were for Hallowmas 21 they are one of the most powerful sonic forces on Earth

Hallowmas is so much more than a Halloween concert, it is a New York City underground tradition as important for its fun factor as it’s cultural significance. 21-years isn’t just a tradition, it’s an (and I apologize to Mr. Terricloth for using this word) an institution. It’s New York City’s officially unofficial punk-rock Halloween party.

Year after year WIFS pulls out all the stops for their flagship show and without fail they top themselves every time. The giant Jack puppet that performed the show’s overture was a fitting and creepy ode to Jack’s 1950’s aesthetic, while the addition of an LED screen and graphics added a more modern flair the often more vintage tones the World/Inferno are known for taking on.

Modernity aside The overall feel of the band remains that of the devil’s lounge act and what better night for them to show out than all hallows eve. The crowd full of familiar faces bounced around the room pushing and shoving and singing along because every World/Inferno show is a sing-along.

Through their extended set WIFS played a mix of the hits and the deep cuts and through the revere “Politics of Passing Out” sticks out as a complete highlight of the evening. As does their classic Halloween closer “Pumpkin Time” which when performed was accompanied by a stilt-walking great pumpkin who mid-song stripped out their orange costume into a bedazzled BDSM outfit.

But Hallowmas is about so much more than what songs World/Inferno played or which band’s open, Crazy and the Brains, and Gallows Bound as it were.

It’s about the fact that every year you know it’s going to happen. It’s about getting out there and mixing it up with the creatures of the night and it’s about throwing a New York City Halloween Party that’s meant for the weirdos.



Festival Review: A first timer’s Fest – Fest 17 @ Gainesville, FL (October 26-28, 2018)

Punk rock can mean a lot of things—a delivery method for progressive politics; deconstructivist rock ‘n roll; a space for self-expression. It represents itself through a multi-colored palette—street, hardcore, psychobilly, skate, pop, folk, crust, melodic, post, and more. What connects it is our most sacred tenet, one that stretches from our goofiest pop punk to our most somber hardcore, our number one deity: DIY.

In the quest to define what punk is, or what it’s become, DIY becomes the key, simply because: whatever this is—and this can be a a lot to unload—we did it ourselves. Punk rock is a necessarily nebulous catch-all for a slew of different outsiders with different wants and needs. But wherever they end up on punk’s spectrum, it’s assumed that they’re there to do something. Punk rock is as much music as it is a community—a place for people to come together.

For me, my brand of outsider status brings me to the corner of punk that features open-wound lyricism and singalongs. This is the stuff that makes you feel like an intruder on another’s thoughts. It’s like mainlining a connection. So, for a guy like me, who loves Hot Water Music, The Menzingers, Off With Their Heads, Leatherface, The Lawrence Arms, and Paint It Black—there’s a lot of labels you can throw at the wall and chances are a lot of them would stick. Orgcore, melodic punk, post-hardcore; but really, if there was one unifying label, the sort of catch-all you could drop in conversation, it’d be Fest.

The Fest in Florida is perhaps the most notorious, and most popular punk rock festival in the world. Every year, thousands of devotees make their yearly trip to Gainesville to see sets from hundreds of bands, meet old friends, and drink gallons of PBR. For many, Fest is punk rock. And this year, for the first time, I joined the many. For me, Fest was a sort of waking dream. There’s too much detail to capture it all accurately, and the minute you’re out of it, all but the broadest strokes remain. It was a blur, a beautiful, intense blur—but I’ll do my best to deliver the moments of clarity, all in the name of documenting my first, and maybe to convince a couple new acolytes.

I came in on a red eye flight, took a nap, then, for the rest of the first day, kept going like my life depended on it. Fest’s appeal is the sheer multitude of quality acts—all three days of the festival had a handful of bands I’d declare personal favorites. There is no waiting out openers for the band you came to see (but plenty of new to discover!). If worst comes to worst, and the venue you want to be in is at full capacity, well, there’s a lot more venues: and a Fest wristband and ID gets you into all of them. I started my maiden voyage at Bo Diddley Plaza, the large outdoor venue that houses a lot of Fest’s biggest names. Direct Hit! was the first heavy-hitter of the day, and the played a mix of new and old (including the Halloween-appropriate “Werewolf Shame”) in the pinks and oranges of sunset. They sounded great, they were clearly happy to be playing, and the new material was refreshingly different from their past catalog, while not feeling out of place in the setlist.

Lemuria was next, a band I stuck around for despite not knowing very well. They played well and had a pretty exuberant audience, one that with a little research I might join in the future. Piebald was another band I didn’t know, but they impressed me with their music and I could see a clear kinship between what they were doing and what I liked in my current lineup of favorites. It sounded like heartfelt pop punk with a hint of emo, and it won me over fast. But the band I had come to see at Bo Diddley was, of course, The Menzingers—quickly becoming my most seen band, as well as my default favorite. They were great, as always, and as per usual: I found myself in the hugging arms of new friends, screaming along to every word.

Next was to the High Dive—the venue, based on their killer lineups, most aligned with my tastes—here, there were two must-sees, one of which pushed the scale enough for me to fly from the opposite corner of the country to Florida. First, I had Dead Bars. I can’t say enough about the Seattle homeboys, but through reviews and interviews, I have certainly tried. Dead Bars is a gravel-voiced melodic punk band with rock ‘n roll aspirations; they sing about big things in the span of simple refrains and matter-of-fact storytelling. Their live show is like living out a daydream, complete with guitar melodies and singalongs. In Gainesville, they pulled the largest crowd I’ve seen for them, and there wasn’t a non-dreamer in the house.

Crusades is another band that has become a passion project of sorts for me. They’re intellectual and melancholy, oblique and heavy—all the while being both visceral and highly musical. Their songs are marked with crusty chord riffs dueling with ghostly vocal melodies. This Fest marked their end as a band, their last two shows, ever. The first show was all rock, no talk—an explosive display of all that they’ve built together. Live, Crusades’ heavy roots appear in full affect. The second night was a more heartfelt affair, with tearful goodbyes and a touching speech from frontman Dave Williams on what Crusades represents at its core. When the last chords were played, the band members embraced each other center stage, as the crowd cheered one final time. There were a lot of great sets at Fest this year, but Crusades’ farewell was the most emotional.

The second day ended with Crusades, but it started just as strong with a ridiculously packed High Dive set from Spanish Love Songs. Judging from the fan response, I am not the only one who loved Schmaltz. These guys are poised to be huge, and they kicked off a run of bands that deserve mention for exceptional sets. France’s Guerilla Poubelle are volcanic onstage—their venom communicated clear as day despite the language barrier. They engaged in charming and eloquent banter in between playing songs from their latest album (and Red Scare debut) La Nausee, ending with a duet featuring Arms Aloft. Worlds Scariest Police Chases also wowed me, having fallen in love with their last full-length, they were a band I had been dying to see for years. As expected, they were as funny, ridiculous, and hardcore as their albums suggest.

MakeWar played one of the most memorable sets of the weekend, releasing a fleet of inflatable killer whales into the pit. Soon, these PBR soaked monstrosities were bouncing off the ceilings, knocking out fixtures in their wake. It was, simply put, incredible. The songs were great as well, but anyone who’s listened to Developing a Theory of Integrity can tell you that.

I caught Wolf-Face (who one Fest-goer said, in an overheard conversation, were a must-see), whose gimmick was fun and weird (a Teen Wolf… band?), with good music to boot. They had us perplexed, laughing, and rocking out in equal measure. We popped over to Bo Diddley and saw part of the Lawrence Arms set, with a gravellier (or less than sober) performance from Brendan Kelly.

Being thwarted by an at-capacity Mom Jeans show (another band who is, apparently, huge), I leaned on my old reliable, the High Dive, and decided that if I didn’t know any of the bands playing right then, odds are that at least one was pretty good. The punk gods were smiling on me, and I managed to walk in right before Spells began to play. My memory jogged itself and I recalled this was one of Anxious and Angry’s latest signings.

I was about to find out why.

Spells were the hardest slap in the face I received all weekend. This was a band almost entirely off my radar, and here they were blowing my mind. They were uniformed in polos, one member on tambourine duties, all the while their frenzied lead singer spent the set’s entirety in the pit—grabbing, rubbing, antagonizing, and just generally messing with (me included) audience members. It was a sight to see. Hardcore, punk, pop punk, or some amalgam of—they played and screamed and fucked around with a sense of urgency only matched by their sense of fun.

Bong Mountain, Pkew Pkew Pkew, and Red City Radio formed the heavy-hitters lineup for the next day. The latter, in particular, sounding better than I’ve ever heard them before, with studio-quality vocal harmonies delivered live to a mid-day audience of true believers. It was a cathartic set, made all the more poignant for being the Fest’s final day. This was the end of a perfect weekend for a lot of people, and it was the final chance to go all out.

We took a break from bands to check out Fest Wrestling—an artform I had little to no acquaintance with, but was entirely intrigued by—and I am pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. I’d never watched wrestling in my life, but I was in awe of its unbridled insanity. Fest Wrestling is pure camp spectacle delivered via a stable of super-talented performers. It didn’t take long, even for a novice like myself, to get swept up by its energy. As some punk rock bonuses, we got cameos from Masked Intruder (who would play a fantastic set later in the evening) and the one and only Officer Bradford. For me, Fest Wrestling was a definite highlight of the weekend.

As Fest came to a close, I made it my mission to jump as many venues as I could, to do one last mad-dash to see as many bands as possible, keeping in mind that only one could serve as a proper ending to my first Fest. I jumped from The Get-Up Kids to Question the Mark; from Typesetter to Swiss Army; finally landing on the most Gainesville of Gainesville bands: Radon. For me, there was no more appropriate way to end my time at Fest. It was a sentiment shared by many of my fellow fest-goers, as I walked away from the Palomino, after finally hearing “Radon” live, complete with crowd-surfing and shouted “ba-da-da-das,” I overheard another punk explain Radon succinctly—“They’re Florida’s Jawbreaker… If Jawbreaker were from the south, they’d be Radon.”

The Fest is a monster of a festival. It removes the lines and borders we draw within the boundaries of punk rock and replace them with a singularity—Fest. It’s DIY, scrappy, and heartfelt and it includes a diverse group of both bands and audience members. The community becomes a spectacle in itself—punks make room for extras in each other’s Lyfts; veterans helps first-timers find venues; we all talk and hug and sing along, together. Despite this unity, the pleasure of Fest is that it is such a personal experience. My Fest highlights included The Menzingers, MakeWar, and Spells—yours very well could’ve been Mom Jeans, Lagwagon, and Hospital Job. At Fest, there’s room for a wide breadth of experience, but still, in the end, it’s all Fest.

So, If you haven’t made up your mind yet: go.

And if you’re already a true believer: see ‘ya next year.

 



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.