I needed last night. Hell, I always need a concert but I really needed last night. Yesterday was one of those days that came complete with a mental breakdown and no calming down in my forseeable future. I was in a bit of a haze when I left my apartment and although just drowning my mental breakdown out with pizza rolls and ice cream sounded like a delightful plan, I knew it wasn’t the best idea. I needed a show. I needed to feel the sound pumping through my system. I need to be surrounded by like minded people who use shows as an escape from reality. Like I said, I really needed last night.
San Francisco based Culture Abuse got things started off with a quick but powerful set. Their music was intoxicating in the way that it instantly helped me shrug off the fact that I had just had a complete breakdown. The music was familiar but didn’t step over the line of being generic. There was something refreshing about their take on the state of all things punk right now. Their sound was flawless and well rehearsed but their set and stage presence felt anything but rehearsed. With singer David Kelling throwing objects up into the rafters above the stage (and at one point even getting his hat stuck up there), there was something fun about their set that instantly had me wanting to see them headline a show. They have the sound, they have the charisma, this band has it and, although they’ve been around since 2013, I think they will be climbing the ranks after supporting this tour.
Following Culture Abuse was Tigers Jaw from Scranton, PA (yes, home of The Office). Tigers Jaw is one of those bands that I listen to every once in awhile but have never really committed to. It’s not that they are bad, more that their music just has never really hit me in just the right way to make them become an obsession of mine. They hit me just right last night. The delicacy between the vocals of Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins mix with the anthemic almost pop punk styled guitar work in the most perfect way. Their sound is a bit New Found Glory meets Basement meets Joyce Manor all wrapped up in a bow of Tiger Jaws’ own brand of indie-pop-punk. Although the energy was fairly laid back when it came to both the stage and audience during Tiger Jaws’ set, there was no ignoring the amount of people singing along to the song and bopping their heads to the beat. Sure, this band has never been one of those bands to make me stop everything and listen but there was something so genuine and lovely about their set that I may just spend today digging deeper into their discography.
I have definitely lost count of how many times I’ve seen The Menzingers last night but I honestly don’t care. Sure, there were other shows in town last night that would have been cool but no matter how many times I see The Menzingers play, I keep coming back for more of their energy and sound. This Scranton, PA band (yes, there were two Scranton bands on the three bill show last night) has been putting music out since 2006 but I feel like they are just now starting to hit their stride. Maybe it’s the fact that they have been grinding since the beginning and it’s finally paying off or maybe it’s the fact that everyone is finding The Menzingers’ music a little bit more relateable now than in the past, regardless, it made my heart warm and I sang along to their songs surrounded by other people doing the same thing. It was that moment that I needed… that moment was the reason I left my apartment.
Reading back on what I wrote about the last time I saw The Menzingers headliner a show last November, I realized that they had played all of my songs that night. They didn’t last night. Sure, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t hear everything I wanted to see but, with their new album ‘Hello Exile’ having just been released earlier this year, I wasn’t surprised. Even though I didn’t hear everything I wanted to, I heard everything I needed to. Their nineteen song set (followed by a three song encore) was a great mix of new and old songs and really gave the audience a chance to not only hang out in a cloud of nostalgia but also open their eyes to the newer material that some of us may have not really dug into as hard as we should have (and when I saw “we” I clearly meant me). Yes, I won’t lie, I really haven’t listened to much of their new material. I am hopelessly stuck on their three releases that came out between 2012 and 2017 but, after hearing them perform some of the new songs live, it’s clear that I need to take the time to really sit down and listen to the new album.
Yesterday was a bad day for me. I have some big decisions and big moves coming up that are completely overwhelming. I needed last night. I needed the moment when I was singing along to “Tellin’ Lies” and my brother found me in the mess of people just to scream the chorus of “What are we gonna do now that our twenties are over?” back at me. I needed that cheers with a friend right before The Menzingers kicked into their set. I need that feeling that a good, genuine, and passionate live show gives me and I can not thank The Menzingers, Tigers Jaw, and Culture Abuse enough for giving me exactly that.
Venue: Varsity Theater
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd- 32
Crowd Surfers- None
Moshability- 4.2 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None Witnessed
Celebrity Sightings- Referee Clark Feldman (of F1rst Wrestling Fame)
Overall Score- 9.7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Toro Y Moi/ Channel Tres
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