*This review was composed by Zac Lomas and edited by Erik van Rheenen
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.