With a friend in town from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and another one in from Columbus, Ohio, it wasn’t hard for me to come up with something to do. Sure, we could have gone to a baseball game or a nice dinner but, let’s be honest, that’s just not my style. So I piled my friends into my car and we headed to the punk rock show.
Due to the amazing happy hour that Triple Rock has and last night’s show actually starting on time, we missed the first band, American Dischord. I always hate missing bands, especially at smaller shows like last night’s, but the drinks and food were tasting too good to just get up and leave in haste. My apologies to the band. I promise to catch you guys next time you come through town and I’m bringing cash because your merch was amazing!
Local group The Chinchees were the next band to take the stage and our first band of the night. This power pop trio kicked off our night the right way with their contagious energy and clean-sounding music. Their music is hook filled and upbeat making it hard to not fall in love with these guys even though their set, like the other bands of the night, seemed super short. With their mascot being a giant purple grape, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect these guys and was half thinking they might be a bit of a joke. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Their short set left me wanting more and moving things around on my calendar so I can catch them again.
After being pleasantly surprised by The Chinchees, I couldn’t help but get even more excited about all of the music that was still to come. Up next was a personal favorite of mine, Arms Aloft. These guys have been around for what seems like forever and being able to see them so often (they are from Eau Claire, WI so it’s not a long drive for them) is more of a treat than anything else. They have a sense of power and intensity about them without coming off as brash or trying too hard. With a punk sound that has very pop-punk tendencies, the music these guys play is more than enough to make you forget that it’s nearly 11 PM on a Tuesday night. It’s upbeat, fresh, and has passion. I mean, come on, what more could you ask for?
As my friends and I grabbed a final round of drinks, the stage was being turned over for Mikey Erg. Let me list all of the bands and projects that Mike (real name Mike Yannich) has been involved in… Kidding! Don’t worry, that would take far too long for me to type up and you would never read it all. Let me just list a couple for you… The Ergs!, Star Fucking Hipsters, and, my personal favorite, The Dopamines. You see, Mike is a bit of a legend in the scene and a bit of an idol to me because of how hard he grinds and how everything he touches is amazing. Being able to see him on a stage with just a guitar in hand and nothing else was truly a highlight in the middle of an already amazing night for me.
Mikey Erg’s solo music is a bit different than when he plays in bands. The sound seems to be a bit more subdued but, because of the intensity and passion that Mike is so well known for, it never feels like a truly acoustic set. Honestly, after a couple of songs I think I enjoyed watching him perform solo rather than with a band because everything felt much more raw and pure. Mike didn’t seem shy on stage but he also didn’t seem overly attention-seeking. He had this perfect way of commanding the modest crowd without being needy. He never asked people to quiet down or even pay attention but, when you have passion like he does, it’s hard for everyone in the room to not stop what they’re doing and take a listen if only for a little bit.
Rounding out the night was The Slow Death. With Mikey Erg behind the drum set and Paddy Costello of Dillinger Four on bass, these guys are a treat to be able to see and bit of a super group when you’ve immersed your self in this particular punky-pop scene. Out of all of the bands that played last night, The Slow Death had the most intensity on stage but still kept with the fun-loving theme of the night. Their music is fast paced but not frantic and clean but still keeps a sense of “garage rock” to it. The infectious rhythms and contagious beats match the voice and driving guitars and signature bass sound from Paddy perfectly.
The Slow Death’s set, like all of the other bands that graced the stage, seemed far too short but when I looked down and saw that it was already after midnight and I had the dreaded alarm clock already set to go off in a measly five and a half hours, I came to the conclusion that maybe the short sets weren’t the worst thing. The Slow Death’s upbeat music had me wired as my friends and I walked out of the venue. It was the kind of set that, even though it was so late on a week night, I was truly happy that I got to see it.
“Tonight is our record release party for the record we don’t have yet! We do have t-shirts with the album cover on it though!”- The Slow Death.
That statement right there is a perfect description of the show last night. Like many of the other smaller punk shows I go to and fall in love with, last night was imperfectly perfect– just the way I like it. My friends and I may have left yawning, but we were yawning through giant smiles.
Venue: Triple Rock
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Passed Out People – 0
Celebrity Sightings- Nato Coles
Overall Score- 8 out of 10
Show on Deck- Boomtown Riot/ XIII Arrows + More