POZ Show Review: The Menzingers - 05/28/13
The Menzingers are better than Fall Out Boy. Not only is this statement controversial, but it also comes straight out of left field, since comparing one of this generation’s most celebrated pop-punk band with an up-and-coming punk-revival band is absurd. However, on May 28, both of those bands made the trek into the greater-Buffalo area and that was the choice local punk fans were faced with. Obviously I chose The Menzingers, which proved to be the right choice.
Hot off the release of their LP The Future Is Cancelled, Captain, We’re Sinking donned matching blue tie-dye shirts and kicked off the show with a selection of new tracks and a few old ones. Vocalist and guitarist Bobby Barnett warmed up the crowd with some humorously forced small talk between songs that had the growing audience bobbing their heads. Highlights of their short set included “Here’s To Forever” off of the new album, featuring such wonderful lyrics as, “I can’t remember what I was looking for, but I did find something in myself that I despised.” Combining gritty punk rock with vocals reminiscent of The Hold Steady, Captain, We’re Sinking provided a nice warm-up for the raucous festivities that lay ahead.
Following Captain, We’re Sinking was Restorations, whose brand of indie influenced punk rock added to the overall diversity of this stacked tour. Featuring three guitarists, the band layered intricate guitar melodies over driving riffs to create a sound akin to early Radiohead. If the multitude of guitars wasn’t enough, guitarist Ben Pierce added his own piano flavor on a few tracks in their set, creating a unique live sound, dripping with variety. To top this musical miscellany off was Carlin Brown’s boisterous drumming that provided a fat backbeat to the powerful and poignant songs that Restorations sampled.
Up next were Florida upstarts Fake Problems, who wowed the crowd with their blend of folk-punk, indie, bebop, and everything in between. While vocalist and guitarist Chris Farren was busy blasting away power chords and belting lyrics, bassist Derek Perry was stealing the show with his impeccable bass-playing skills that added the undeniable funk that makes Fake Problems so unique. The band had the near capacity crowd singing along, clapping their hands and even casually dancing in the pit.
By the time the Scranton natives took the stage, The Waiting Room was full to capacity, with fans ranging from young kids, proudly bearing the Xs marked on their under-21 hands, to seasoned punkers looking to come out of mosh-pit retirement for just one night.
It took only the opening notes of perennial favorite “The Obituaries” to set off the full house into a maelstrom of flying bodies and spilt beers. With the lines “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it,” the crowd fully released its uncontainable energy in an eruption of screams and utter madness that would prove to be the status quo for the rest of the evening.
After running through “I Can’t Seem To Tell” and “A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology,” the band blasted into On The Impossible Past opener “Good Things.” With Greg Barnett’s unmistakable baritone, the song’s fast tempo and abrupt shifts from complete anarchy to standalone guitar melodies had many in the crowd breaking the venue’s vehement no stage-dive rule.
As if last year’s On The Impossible Past didn’t give fans enough quality punk-rock anthems, the band played a new song, titled “The Shakes,” during the end of their set, proving that they aren’t busy reminiscing on the impossible past, but rather looking ahead to a bright future filled with even more new music.
After exciting renditions of “Gates” and “Who’s Your Partner,” the band announced that they’d be playing one final song: “Irish Goodbyes.” As the searing punk jam came to a head, May bounced energetically around the stage, legs spread in a classic rock ’n’ roll power stance.
At the end of the night, it was apparent that this wasn’t just a concert, but rather a celebration of all that punk aims to achieve. The revelry, the camaraderie, the bridge between fan and artist: it was all there. This show lacked nothing, achieving a punk rock perfection that few fans have ever witnessed and even fewer bands have ever created.
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