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DS Exclusive: My Year in Photos 2018

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs, gestures to crowd surfer at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

2018 was another great year for documenting the punk rock scene, not just in my adopted city of Chicago. I also spent time shooting shows in my native state of New York, specifically, in my little brother’s borough of Brooklyn. And for the fourth consecutive year, I spent a long mid-December weekend in Boston, MA. For the compilation of my favorite images of 2018, I am again including faves from bands from a wide spectrum of years together and differing levels of public recognition. Quite a few of these images were featured in DS this year. However, as with my faves gallery in 2017, many others were heretofore not featured in any online or hard copy publications. The shows, Weekend Stands; and festivals (such as Wreck the Halls, Motoblot, Punk the Burbs; and Riot Fest) represented were a blast, every last one. Every group included is one more than worth checking out should they hit your town, city or other location where you might find yourself at the same time as them.

Personal Note:  A good many of the photos in this selection are of Street Dogs. I have been following them and documenting them coming up on 10 years in March. Those who know me know the only band I place above them as a personal favorite is The Clash. There are numerous reasons for my love of Street Dogs and among those reasons is their showmanship. 2018 presented me with the opportunity to document the band in NYC, Chicago; and in the Boston area. The Chicago images were part of my Riot Fest gallery for DS. They will be playing Punk Rock Bowling this May (which I likely may not make). After that, there are no scheduled shows announced for the foreseeable future. They are among the most fun and exciting bands to shoot. Their shows are always at maximum energy levels and the crowds pretty much never disappoint in matching that energy.  So I would like to extend my best wishes to the Michael, Johnny, Lenny, Pete, and Matt; as well as their crews. They and their latest album, “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing,” were surely among the best of 2018.

Johnny Rioux (left) and Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS may be one of Those Who Can’t on television but when it comes to getting a crowd going, he is definitely one of those who can.

Street Dogs’ Mike McColgan pulled me up on stage at Brooklyn Bazaar to get a shot of the crowd. I have documented band from various places on the sides and in the back of stages. However, getting the right up at the front P.O.V. of most of the band members certainly is eye-opening

Triumph Ace and helmet sporting the Ace Cafe London logo at Motoblot

The Queers perform at Punk the Burbs 2

Peter Mittler of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop Chicago

Chicago

Ken Fitzner of The Bollweevils at Chop Shop in Chicago

Dr. Daryl Wilson of The Bollweevils gets high…on punk. Pete Mumford and Ken Fitzner also pictured.

A photographer shoot images of Street Dogs at Brooklyn Bazaar in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY

Pete Sosa of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls #SadPeteSosa? Nah, just a quiet moment in the beautiful chaos.

Stickfight! perform at Liar’s Club Halloween show

The Run Around at Punk the Burbs 2

Stage invader during Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls

Ben Roy of SPELLS at Wicker Park Fest in Chicago

Pussy Riot at Riot Fest

Off With Their Heads at Wicker Park Fest

Nuns of Brixton at Motoblot in Chicago

Nate Leinfelder of Noi!se at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Bill Stephens of Naked Raygun

Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun

Nikki Beller of Mystery Actions at Punk the Burbs 2

Mike McColgan of Street Dogs amid the crowd at Riot Fest

Street Dogs’ Johnny Rioux with his wife Melissa Rioux, on stage at Wreck the Halls

Lenny Lashley of Street Dogs at Wreck the Halls in Allston, MA

Legendary Shack Shakers’ JD Wilkes bends over backward for the Motoblot crowd

Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly on the squeezebox at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL

The Queers headlined Punk the Burbs 2

Scott Brooks of Avenues at Punk The Burbs 2

Trever Keith of Face to Face at Riot Fest in Chicago

Caitlin Rose of Bumsy and the Moochers performs at Punk the Burbs 2. Rose is one of the co-organizers of the fest taking place in the suburbs outside of Chicago

Rubber soles meet Bouncing Souls. Pete Steinkopf of Bouncing Souls has great taste in shoes.

Poli Van Dam of The Bombpops has fun at Riot Fest in Chicago

Todd Pott of Apocalypse Hoboken becomes one with the band’s fans at Chop Shop in Chicago

Alkaline Trejo during Alkaline Trio at Riot Fest

Tony Reflex leads Adolescents at Riot Fest. The band hung a large banner with the name Soto in place of the group name as a tribute to their late bandmate Steve Soto.

Larry Damore of Pegboy is surrounded by fans at Cobra Lounge in Chicago. The band performed at this fundraiser for another small Chicago venue.

Steev MF Custer and Devin Morris of Death and Memphis perform during their set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Juan Avalos of Size 5’s jumps, for joy perhaps, as the band performs at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Benny NoGood of Benny and the No-Goods pours emotion into his performance during the band’s set at Brauerhouse Lombard.

Off With Their Heads perform at Brauerhouse Lombard

1916 gave a rollicking performance at this year’s Wreck the Halls

Denis Buckley of 88 Fingers Louie sits this one in, continuing to sing at the band’s show at Chop Shop Chicago

And finally, one of my faves I did not take. From left: Johnny Rioux, Matt Pruitt, Lenny Lashley, Pete Sosa, yours truly, and Mike McColgan. Thanks for all the great times! It’s been a blast documenting you all and I so wish I could make PRB this May in Las Vegas! Best Wishes!! Photo by Mark Korich



DS Exclusive: The Live Music Year In Pictures (Anarchopunk)

Oi!!!! Here’s some facts, Jack:  2018 is (almost) over. I didn’t manage to shoot as many shows this year. I moved from my home in Los Angeles to the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. I got a new kitten. I bought a new car. I started a new job. Now, here’s some stats, Jill (I didn’t want anyone to feel left out):  Despite all of that, I still shot well over one hundred sets from about twenty-five different shows/festivals. Moral of the story:  I’m fucking tired.

Check out a gallery of some of my favorite pictures from 2018, below!



DS Exclusive: The Live Music Year In Pictures (Jay Stone)

Another year in the books, and while I scaled down the amount of shows I shot this year for a variety of reasons, it was still pretty awesome and eventful. The year started with a trip to Jersey to catch Jared Hart and a barn-burner of a Ben Nichols solo performance at the inimitable Crossroads venue booked by the equally inimitable Andy Diamond. There was also a trip to Connecticut to see Lucero and Jake LaBotz, a trip to Memphis for Lucero’s Family Block Party-slash-20th birthday celebration, another trip to Connecticut for the last installment of the Warped Tour (so, mostly, to see The Interrupters) and another trip back to Jersey for the Bouncing Souls‘ annual Stoked For The Summer throwdown that featured sets from Against Me!, Tim Barry, Titus Andronicus and Smoking Popes. Then there was a whirlwind Brooklyn trip to see Brian Fallon and Craig Finn. Oh, and there was another trip to Connecticut for a rager of a Bouncing Souls/Swingin Utters show. And a trip to New Hampshire for another Utters show. And a Frank Turner show in New Hampshire with Bad Cop/Bad Cop too.

Michael Kane

 

Oh The Humanity

Johnny Rioux (Street Dogs)

Rebuilder

But don’t think that means there was a lack of spectacular shows here on the homefront. There were stellar nights with Bundles and Birdwatching and Michael Kane & The Morning Afters and Art Thieves and Street Dogs and of course Rebuilder and of course Rebuilder again and Dan Webb and the Spiders a few times and Mint Green and Depressors and Oh The Humanity and KCUF and Weathered Friends.

Jared Hart and his better half, Casey

Ben Nichols

Trever and Dennis of Face To Face

Kayleigh Goldsworthy (Dave Hause)

National acts of all shapes and sizes came through the Boston area as well. Of course there was Lucero. And the same Brian Fallon/Craig Finn tour. And The Penske File. And The Lawrence Arms with Sincere Engineer and Red City Radio. And Fallon again. And Face To Face with Austin Lucas. And Dave Hause a couple times in a couple different formats. And another Frank Turner show. And Iron Chic. And Dead Bars. And Noi!se. And of course there was Pearl Jam at Fenway.

CJ Ramone

Bouncing Souls

Dave Hause crowd surfing during Frank Turner

Sincere Engineer

If you check this site out a lot, you’ll know I take a ton of pictures at most shows, and I try to present some of my favorite ones on a regular basis. Below, however, is a few dozen of my favorite pictures of the year. Some of them came out great, some of them came out less great but tell a cool story or evoke a great and personal memory. That’s ultimately, I guess, what I try to do when I’m shooting shows. Thanks for reading, and for looking, and for supporting the people and the venues that keep this thing chugging down the road.

Click on the individual pictures to see blow them up. Bring on 2019. -JMS-

 



DS Photo Gallery: Street Dogs Wreck The Halls with Noi!se and Art Thieves

Last weekend, the punks and skins came from far and wide, descending upon Boston’s Brighton Music Hall for the 13th installment of Street Dogs‘ annual Wreck The Halls festivities. The hometown working class heroes have been riding high this year, primarily due to the release of Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing, their first full-length in eight years. As the band’s members – and fans – spread far and wide, it can be hard to get all the moving parts in one place at the same time, making events like the three-day Wreck The Halls blowout all the more special.

Nights two and three of this year’s Wreck The Halls featured opening performances from Slapshot, Dori Cameron and the Invisible Monsters, Ramallah and 1916. Dying Scene made it out to the first night, particularly to get the chance to see Street Dogs take the stage with a couple bands that we’ve been fired up to finally see live: Noi!se and Art Thieves, and boy are we glad we did.

Fresh off the release of their own stellar full length, Russian Rats (State Line Records), Art Thieves kicked off the long weekend of Wreck The Halls shenanigans in fine fashion. The three-piece local band play a no-frills style of street punk that’s been the calling card of the local scene for a long time. They’ve sort of perfected the fuck-the-government calls to arms from a past generation and morphed it with the melodic sensibilities of the newer school. If there’s a local band to carry the torch that Street Dogs have been brandishing for the better part of the last couple decades once they decide to hang it up, it may well be Art Thieves.

Noi!se followed up in one of the most eagerly-awaited sets I’ve seen in quite a while. The Tacoma-based quartet has been around for seven-ish years now, but had yet to make it to this side of the Mississippi River. And yet, in many ways, Noi!se’s 45-minute set had the feel of a hometown show of their own, as a solid majority of the 435-strong capacity crowd was well versed in the band’s entire catalog. “Rank And File,” from the band’s 2012 Pushing On full-length (and previously from the This Is Who We Are 7-inch) kicked things off, and from their the band mixed in a dozen other tracks from across the last half decade. The first real pit of the night – and the first in a seemingly endless barrage of crowd-surface – fired itself up by the time fan-favorite “How We Made It Through” made its way into the set at the halfway point, pushing the gas pedal on an energy level that wouldn’t let up for the remainder of the evening. It was one of those times where the event actually exceeds lofty expectations, and where the symbiotic relationship between a band and a crowd is truly palpable.

It can be tough to come up with new phrases or adjectives to describe the live performance of a band that’s long been a stalwart of the scene. Still, the recent Boston Music Award winners for Best Punk/Hardcore act seem to find new ways to mix things up and keep them fresh, perhaps now more so than ever. The band ripped through “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing,” the title track and lead single from their latest album, as they took the stage (well…after the rocking out to a few minutes of Boston’s “Foreplay” as the instrument-wielding 4/5th of the band took the stage anyway) before proceeding to dig deeper into the back catalog than I’ve seen them do in recent memory. “Pull The Pin” and “You Alone” and “Katie Bar The Door” were welcome additions to the setlist that I can’t recall having seen in the last handful of SD shows. The band played without a barrier (and, as a result, without a photo pit, which is something I’ve become apparently waaaaaaay too comfortable with in my old age), meaning that a band that already gets up close and personal with its fans anyway was able to raise that bar even further. There were guest appearances from Big Truth of American War Machine (I think) and the legendary CJ Ramone, the latter of whom took on vocal duties for a cover of his namesake band’s classic track “Blitzkrieg Bop.” It was a raucous first night for both band and crowd — many of whom were in attendance for two or three nights — and set the stage brilliantly for what was to come.

Head below for our full photo rundown.



DS Photo Gallery: The Radiator Rattlers Rock Nashua’s Holiday Stroll

It’s not often that Dying Scene covers performances at local Christmas season outdoor holiday strolls. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the only time we’ve done it. However, it’s also not often that a band as cool as The Radiator Rattlers plays a local Christmas season outdoor holiday stroll, so this past weekend, we packed up our camera bag, headed to our old hometown, and took in a pretty awesome performance to finish out the family-friendly annual event.

As you may recall from our recent sit-down with guitarist and co-frontman Frankie Piessens, The Rattlers hail from a half-hour down the road in Haverhill, Massachusetts. However, the octet’s (Piessens, Kenny Turner on washboard and vocals, Matt Pepp on banjo and vocals, Travis Boucher on mandolin and vocals, Carla Pierce on acoustic guitar, Luke Williams on Drums and Jimbo Ritchie on bass) swashbuckling pedal steel player Jonee Earthquake has been a fixture in the New Hampshire punk rock community for…well, for as long as I’ve been alive, and I’ll be forty on my next birthday. Earlier in the week, they announced a pretty huge milestone in their career that spans about a half-dozen years; they’ll be playing the big stage at next May’s Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas! And while you wouldn’t think of “family friendly downtown holiday stroll in southern New Hampshire” as perhaps the punk rockingest of venues, the set up was very much guerrilla-style and DIY: the street was blocked to through traffic by off-duty DPW heavy equipment, and the band performed on the in between snowbanks on a sidewalk – no stage in sight – outside a dive bar in the sub-40 degree temperatures. That’s pretty punk rock if you ask us.

Check out the rest of our full photo gallery below.

 



DS Photo Gallery: Rebuilder w/Dead Bars, Pity Party and Weathered Friends (Cambridge, MA)

A couple weeks back, yours truly once again found himself at Charlie’s Kitchen, the burger-joint and part-time no frills punk rock venue nestled just off the heart of Cambridge’s Harvard Square. The venue stacks the tables into the corner on Monday nights, fires up the PA system, and hosts local and national touring acts, and this particular Monday night featured hometown heroes Rebuilder headlining a bill that also included their Seattle-based BFFs Dead Bars, Oakland, California’s Pity Party, with brand-spankin’-new locals Weathered Friends kicking things off. It was another example of the kind of awesome and diverse bills that should get more and more people interested in keeping the scene moving forward.

Weathered Friends are a local three-piece that were making their public debut on this fine evening. They’r enew enough that, well, hold off on Googling them unless you’re overly interested in learning “how to cope with a fair-weather friend” or the wholesome craft projects of a delightful Kalamazoo woman (that’s not a euphemism). Still obviously finding their way as a band, they excel at a sort of angular post-hardcore sound that was reminiscent of Cave In’s earlier work. I like them, and hope they at least make a Facebook page for me to direct you too. Hint hint.

Pity Party were next out of the chute. The event marked roughly the halfway point in the band’s Herculean fifty-nine day cross-country tour, and though vocalist/guitarist Sarah Levy was dealing with a pretty gnarly case of strep throat (don’t worry, she wasn’t contagious), that left her voice shredded, which added an extra layer of urgency to the vocals as the self-proclaimed sadboys still managed to bulldoze their way through their half-hour slot.

So Dead Bars were next.  Rebuilder’s Sal Medrano has been bestowing the virtues of their live show to me for some time now, and for good reason. When Dying Scene’s own Carson Winter recently saw them down at Fest in Gainesville, he wrote that their “live show is like living out a daydream, complete with guitar melodies and singalongs.” Sal and Carson are to be rewarded for their insight; Dead Bars absolutely slay live. It’s a cathartic, frantic good time of a set, and I get the sense that their upcoming Jay Maas-produced A-F Records debut full-length is going to slingshot them to at least the Iron Chick level of revelry. Stay tuned for that.

Finally…what can I say about Rebuilder that I haven’t said in the other 168 posts I’ve written about them? I’m not sure, to be honest. They’re the best. They’re authentic. They play their asses off every set and seem to love doing so. The “core four” lineup (I just coined that…patent pending) is one of my favorites around, but the addition of keys (whether it was Rick or more recently Patrick or most recently Leo) adds a few sonic layers of depth that other bands can’t quite match (even if I can never seem to adequately photograph that particular fifth of the band). I want to quit my job and go on tour with Rebuilder…assuming they all quit their jobs too.

Head below for our full photo rundown from the evening!



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.

 

 



DS Photo Gallery: Swingin’ Utters with Gallows Bound and Michael Kane & The Morning Afters, Dover, NH

With any luck, some of you have been paying attention while something truly remarkable has been happening on the eastern half of the US and Canada for the last couple weeks. That something, specifically, is the Swingin’ Utters tour in support of their solid new album, Peace And Love.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Even for a master of hyperbole such as yourself, this is a new level, Stone!” You’d be correct about the first half of that statement, but dead wrong about the last. At least, that’s the overwhelming feeling I had in watching the Bay Area punk legends as they took the owned the stage at the Dover Brickhouse in Dover, New Hampshire. It was a cold, drizzly Wednesday night that saw a small crowd that gathered upstairs in the brick-and-dark-wood adorned venue that creates a vibe that’s equal parts brew pub and sports bar (especially because the flat screens showing Game Four of the American League Championship Series remained on throughout). The Utters took the stage as a four-piece, with longtime partners-in-crime Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski joined by their newest bassist, Tony Teixeira, and by Gabe Katz, filling in on drums for Luke Ray who was away at a family reunion. In spite of the latest in what’s become a series of line-up changes, the band totally delivered from note one, in a way that’s at the very least inspiring. It might stand to reason that a setlist in such a situation would be scaled down or overly reliant on material from the new album, but that wasn’t the case. Sure Peace And Love tracks were well-represented, but tunes like “No Eager Man” and “Windspitting Punk” and “The Next In Line” and “The Librarians Are Hiding Something” were as vibrant, vital, and well-received as ever.

Support on this run (aside from three dates that find the Utters playing alongside Bouncing Souls in the greater NYC area – more on that later) came from Gallows Bound, and Michael Kane And The Morning Afters served as local opener, venturing up from Worcester, MA, for the mid-week opportunity to play alongside a venerated and influential band like the Utters. Gallows Bound, if you’re not familiar, are a five-piece from Winchester, Virginia, whose sound is delightfully hard to pin down. “Appalachian Punk Bluegrass” is what they’re billed as and is a fairly accurate description, with the acoustic-driven instrumentation and dueling vocalists (Jordan Joyes and Jesse Markle) trading duties and allowing elements of country and punk and folk and gothic undertones to meld in a unique way. Michael Kane and crew, who you may recognize as among our local favorites, are a working-class rock-and-roll band with influences that are equal parts The Clash, Tom Petty and, as evidenced by their set-closing rendition of “Born To Run,” Bruce Springsteen.

Head below to scroll through our photo gallery from the evening!

 



DS Photo Gallery: Face To Face and Austin Lucas at Boston’s City Winery (9/23/18)

Face To Face brought the US tour for their recent Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions) EP to its Boston stop at City Winery last Sunday night. If you missed the abridged backstory behind this latest release, it goes a little something like this: inspired by the positive vibes that came out of the acoustic VIP pre-show sets that they performed on last year’s EconoLive ’17 tour, the pioneering SoCal quartet hit the studio, emerging with new versions of some previously-recorded tracks like “All For Nothing” and “Shame On Me” and “Keep Your Chin Up,” tracks that didn’t normally see the light of day during the band’s normal punk rock set. (And “Disconnected,” a song that the band has seemingly recorded at least once per year since its appearance as their debut single 27 years ago.)

Instead of merely playing the original tracks close to their respective vests and simply re-recording them as straight-forward acoustic tracks, the band opted to strip each song down and re-imagine it in new and sometimes surprising ways: boot-stompers, Lucero-style alt-country jams, sort of Jason Mraz-style adult contemporary-ish ballads, and so on and so forth. The results may be – in this writer’s opinion – mixed, but they may also represent the band’s most “punk rock” effort since their 1999 album Ignorance Is Bliss. And they also make for a pretty fun, occasionally raucous, and enjoyably different type of Face To Face show. With a stripped down set, there’s very little room for error, and that’s magnified in a venue like City Winery with its crystal-clear sound and clear sight lines in spite of its long rows of family-style tables that run the length of the venue perpendicular to the stage. This puts extreme focus on the band’s musicianship; Scott Shiflett has long been known as one of the premier bass players in the scene, and he played with a much smoother groove than the normally in-your-face “lead bass” style we’re accustomed to from him. The setting and the country-ish rock and roll style fit pretty perfectly in Dennis Hill’s lead guitar playing wheelhouse. Danny Thompson, rock-solid behind the drum kit during the band’s normal set was perhaps the hardest-working member of the foursome on this occasion, employing castinets and an electric cajon and a washboard and a variety of other percussion instruments that lent unique flavor to the different tracks that composed the hour-long set. And while frontman Trever Keith has always played guitar in the band, it’s his voice that’s been a large portion of the band’s trademark over the last quarter century, and it had plenty of room to soar and to whip up the occasional singalong (some of them admittedly half-hearted, though that was our fault, not theirs) in the process.

Support on this leg of the Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions) tour run comes from Austin Lucas. The Indiana-based troubadour grew up a punk rock fan in small town America, and has become one of the more hard-working, road-tested members of the country-punk set in the last decade. The City Winery style lends itself well to the solo singer-songwriter, and Lucas, ever the story-teller (and wildly underrated as a guitar player) took full advantage of that. While I’ve never set foot in Indiana, Lucas’ songs paint a picture that’s not unlike the main streets and backroads of New Hampshire where I grew up before moving south, so there is an instant, funny familiarity that makes his work so engaging.

Head below to check out our full photo gallery!



DS Photo Gallery: Scallywag Festival 2018 – Denver

Festival Season is starting to slow down as Winter approaches, but there’s still quite a few lingering around for the next few weeks before it goes completely silent! Scallywag Fest, although a newcomer to the arena, is one of the better festival! Not only do you get some incredible music like Mad Caddies, The Interrupters, Bad Religion and Rancid, you also get to enjoy a few hours of free craft beer tasting! Free beer and punk rock? sign us up! We sent senior staffer, Anarchopunk out the opening day  in his new hometown of Denver and he actually stayed sober enough to get some pretty rad shots! If you’re in the path of this one (check out the complete list of dates and stops here), we’d highly recommend getting your lazy ass off of the couch and going. Enjoy the full photo gallery of the opening day, below!



DS Photo Gallery: Against Me! Off With Their Heads, SPELLS, The Get Up Kids, among acts at Chicago’s Wicker Park Fest 2018

The 15th Anniversary Wicker Park Fest took place over the three blazing hot days of July 2018’s final weekend, the 27th-29th. The event is perhaps the most popular street festival in Chicago and surely the most popular on the north side of the city. Each year, it brings a wide variety of national and local musical acts to one of the city’s very diverse neighborhoods. This year the number of musical acts exceeded 40. Considering this also the neighborhood which is home to – or in close proximity to – such popular venues (and in the case of the now-closed Double Door, legendary) such as Subterranean, Hideout, the Empty Bottle, and Cobra Lounge.

SPELLS

WPF also attracts many, many dogs of all ages and breeds, mixed or otherwise. Far more than 40. Perhaps the most dog attended annual fest in the city. But as adorable as that it is, this is about the music and a photo gallery of just a few of the bands Dying Scene caught and shot. Head below to check out our shots from SPELLS, Against Me!, Off With Their Heads, The Brokedowns, The Get Up Kids, and more!



DS Photo Gallery: Apocalypse Hoboken; 88 Fingers Louie; The Bollweevils at Chop Shop Chicago

Apocalypse Hoboken headlined a three-night stand at Chicago’s Chop Shop, July 13-15, 2018. The weekend’s events were set in conjunction with the July 13, 2018 release of “Everybody’s Been Burned” on Underground Communique Records. UCR’s Bandcamp site describes the release as follows: “This is a collection of recordings not previously released on vinyl. The record and download contain 17 songs, and yes there are only 16 streaming.”

The final day of the band’s three-night run saw things changed up a bit. Their Sunday “Matinee” was more of a Sunday Family Fun Day, where the musicians had the opportunity to show their kids what their work was all about. The show was topped by several of the kids joining their parents on or near the stage for a rousing rendition of Three Dog Nights’ “Joy to the World,” led in unison by Apocalypse Hoboken’s Todd Pot, 88 Fingers Louie’s Denis Buckley; and The Bollweevils’ Daryl Wilson. Wilson, by the way, with his three young daughters by his side on the stage, the youngest dancing up a storm, appeared to be the only one of the trio of vocalists not requiring a lyric sheet. He had that down pat, perhaps having the most recent experience singing the tune over and over to his little girls?

I asked Todd Pot of Apocalypse Hoboken his thoughts on the weekend, how it came about and what the future has in store for the band. His response:

“Ok here goes….. We’d like to thank each and every person that made it out to our three-day celebration of a community that’s taken almost thirty years to build. The band is humbled beyond words. Since junior high Apocalypse Hoboken was my favorite band outta the suburbs of Chicago. I never in a million years thought I’d front my heroes band. Through the luck of seeing a flier back in 1993 that Apocalypse Hoboken was looking for a new lead singer, my life has never been the same. Fast forward to 2018. We have had a few reunion shows throughout the years but something just clicked with this most recent slew of shows. Older, wiser, and strangely enough with more to say. I think the boys in the band are on a stone cold mission. A mission that never really ended. The future looks bright and everybody is invited to the party. November third we will be returning to the Chop Shop with our comrades in Riff Sidekick Kato. The party has just begun. One by one we all are learning what it’s like to be pissed on. It could be worse. Right?”

It could be a lot worse. But it’s pretty good right now, and you can head below to check out our gallery from the Sunday show to demonstrate the fun Pot, his bandmates; and bill-mates are having these days.



DS Photo Galley: Stoked For The Summer 2018 w/Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, Titus Andronicus, Smoking Popes and Tim Barry

For the third time in as many years, New Jersey punk rock stalwarts The Bouncing Souls threw their now-annual Stoked For The Summer blowout show last weekend on the outdoor, beachfront Summer Stage at the legendary Stone Pony in equally legendary Asbury Park. In spite of occurring in what’s theoretically an off-year for the band — their last full-length, Simplicity, was released in 2016 and the band are gearing up for their 30th anniversary next year — it also marked the largest Stoked For The Summer show to date, with well over 4000 people baking outdoors on the blacktop for the festivities.

Tim Barry kicked things off late in the afternoon in quintessential Tim Barry fashion. The Richmond, Virginia, native has long had ties to the Bouncing Souls/Chunksaah Records/Little Eden Studio family in Central Jersey, and as such was the perfect choice to get things rolling. Armed with only his trusty Martin acoustic (and an assist from longtime Souls merchandise manager/video production wizard Matthew Gere on harmonica), Barry blazed through an intense half-hour set that was heavy on songs with Garden State references (“Avoiding Catatonic Surrender,” “40 Miler,” the obvious choice “Little Eden”). Oh…and HE PLAYED AN AVAIL SONG WHICH IS NOT A THING THAT I EVER THOUGHT I’D SAY LET ALONE WITNESS IN PERSON okay, I’m better now.

The Smoking Popes were next out of the chute, fresh off a dozen-hour drive from their previous night’s show in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In spite of the road weariness, the band didn’t seem much worse for the wear, powering through a set that was heavy on crowd favorites like “Rubella” and “I Need You Around.” The Chicago quartet are still celebrating the 20th anniversary re-release of their iconic 1997 album Destination Failure, and have a brand new album mixed, mastered, and ready to go for release this coming fall. If what’s to come bears any resemblance to lead single “Someday I’ll Smile Again,” it’s bound to be an instant pop-punk classic.

Hailing from just up the GSP in Glen Rock, New Jersey, Titus Andronicus occupied the number three spot in the order. Though the Patrick Stickles-led quartet just released a new album, A Productive Cough, a few months back, the band’s half-hour set skipped that album in favor of the more “punk rock bangers” of the back catalog, especially 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy. The band managed to cram a half-dozen songs into their half-hour set, which is not an easy task when you’re known for writing epic tracks about Civil War naval battles and whatnot. In a nod to probably the one artist that cemented Asbury Park’s place in the rock and roll pantheon, the set closed with a pretty stellar cover of Springsteen’s summer classic, “Glory Days.”

Batting clean-up were the inimitable Against Me!. It’s been barely a month since it was announced that former bass player Andrew Seward is now present bass player Andrew Seward once again, and this marked the biggest-scale show in the current lineup’s brief introductory run. I’ve never seen Against Me! – in any formation – be anything short of awe-inspiring, but this show seemed a notch or two above the norm, helped of course by the early evening sun actively setting directly behind the stage. The band’s set opened with scorching renditions “FuckMyLife666” and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” both from their ground-breaking 2014 album of the same name, and never really let up steam at all for forty-five high energy minutes that featured a non-stop barrage of crowd surfers right from the beginning. This is only a brief run of shows for Against Me!, and Laura Jane Grace has got a solo album due out in the coming months, but the newly retooled AM! lineup being this solid – and seeming to genuinely be having this much fun – so soon is a welcome sign.

Last, but most certainly not least, were the legendary Bouncing Souls. As I intimated above, the Souls have only played a handful of shows this year, but they certainly made up for lost time on this particular night. With the stage – and the crowd – filled with friends and family, the Jersey legends ripped into fan favorites “Hopeless Romantic,” “East Coast, Fuck You” and “The Gold Song” in rapid succession to kick off a set that extended well into the Asbury Park night. The perfect symbiotic relationship between crowd and band can be a tough thing to keep up for an extended time, but was readily on display for the duration of the Souls’ Herculean thirty-song set (a direct nod to their upcoming thirtieth anniversary?) on this particular night. I’ve said this before on other platforms, but I genuinely thought that the Souls sounded the best I’d ever heard them sound when I last saw them in Boston last November. That show, solid as it was, is now a distant second to this one. There’s obviously been a twin-like bond between Bryan Kienlen and Pete Steinkopf at the sonic core of the Souls for three decades, which translates into the two performing in lockstep and making it seem effortless in the process, giving frontman Greg Attonito the freedom to roam – both vocally and physically on stage – like a mad punk rock scientist giving a high-powered TED Talk. And it’s actually quite amazing how seemingly easily – at least from the audience perspective – that the newest Soul, drummer George Rebelo, has acclimated himself to the role, especially given that his “other band,” Hot Water Music, are not only still a living, breathing entity but left for a handful of European shows a day or so after this epic night.

While we’re waiting for what 30th anniversary hi-jinks the Souls might have coming down the ‘pike next year, have a gander at our pictures from Stoked For The Summer 2018 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.



DS Exclusive: Warped Tour Bids Adieu To Hartford For The Last Time (The Interrupters, This Wild Life, Falling In Reverse and more)

Yes, this is yet another Warped Tour story written by a white guy in his mid-thirties. Relax; I’ll spare you the twenty-five-hundred word rumination on the demise of the Warped Tour as it enters the home stretch of its twenty-fourth — and final — jaunt around North America. It’s not the same as it used to be and I’ve long been wildly out of touch with most of what’s popular there and, ultimately, none of that matters. Yours truly’s first excursion to Warped Tour took place a three-hour drive from my house at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA, in 1997; a show that featured Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Pennywise and Blink-182 and Suicide Machines and Limp Bizkit and a sunburn the likes of which I’m still recovering from. I’ve made a total of eight trips to various different renditions of the Kevin Lyman-helmed annual punk rock summer camp over the years, and there’s no denying that the sheer scale and the popular music trends of the day have morphed a few times. And you can certainly make the argument that the corporate sponsorship bleedover has long since become “too much,” though I’d also present the case that a touring festival of this magnitude wouldn’t have lasted nearly a quarter-century without it.

What hasn’t changed since those early days, however, are the consumers that compose the core that turns out year-after-year; Warped Tour remains a rallying place for the misfits and weirdos and the punks and the metal kids and the hardcore kids to immerse themselves in a total sensory overload of punishing heat and loud music and art and food and more. Warped Tour could run for a hundred more years (much to Lyman’s chagrin) and that part would remain constant.

The touring lineup for Warped’s final run left more than a little to be desired in “the comment sections” of the internet, but you’d never know it from the gigantic crowd that showed up last Sunday in Hartford. The amphitheater portion of the Meadows Music Theatre – er, Dodge Music Theatre or Comcast Theatre or Xfinity Theatre or whatever we’re calling it nowadays – was packed to the gills all day, taking in main stage split in two to accommodate the Journeys Left Foot and Right Foot stages. It was far and away the most crowded I’ve seen in the four Warped Tour’s I’ve ventured to Hartford for. Truthfully, I was primarily there for The Interrupters. Fresh off the release of their third – and best – album, Fight The Good Fight (Hellcat Records), the quartet (with Reel Big Fish’s Billy Kottage filling in on keys and horns) are, without question, the most “old school Warped Tour” band of the newer school generation. A couple years back, they drew a decent crowd on the indoor stage at the 2016 Warped Tour; this year they had a huge, vocal fanbase out in full force and even whipped up a circle pit or two. Maybe the kids are alright after all.

We took in a handful of other events at the daylong festival. 3OH!3 played the Journeys Left Foot Stage just before The Interrupters, though we missed the “photo pit” portion of their frantic thirty-minute set. Epitaph Records’ duo This Wild Life manned the Right Foot stage immediately thereafter, and were a refreshing uptempo acoustic emo change of pace. Falling In Reverse played directly after The Interrupters and…well…made yours truly feel even older than he felt last time he saw Ronnie Radke and crew at Warped a few years ago. Also…there was a pretty sketchy wrestling ring set up on the midway of the festival grounds with several three-way matches (including the one pictured above with a guy in what we think is a crawfish jumpsuit) providing a different sort of entertainment for those who didn’t mind baking in the sun and basking in the glow of the Fried Dough food truck.

For our full photo gallery featuring primarily Interrupters shots, head below!