Summer 2018: Jawbreaker Reunion Austin

As you can tell from this blog, I love a good reunion show. Jawbreaker is no exception. Austin was lucky enough to get a date added to the reunion tour on July 13, 2018 at the Skyline Theater. Jawbreaker wasn’t always my favorite band. I had to give it several listens. After I started seeing the pattern of the bands that I liked have an affection for Jawbreaker, I started to see the bigger picture.

What also caught my attention was the release of the documentary Don’t Break Down: A Film about Jawbreaker. Seeing all the collective bands and fans of Jawbreaker talk about this moment in time and telling their story of making it brought real light about how life is in a band. Success is defined and showed in different ways. By industry standards, Jawbreaker wasn’t as successful as they wanted. Fans saw something completely different and were hoping for a longer run than they had as a band. Just like any tragic music story, the fallout is the hardest. In the end, the band came to terms and turned it around this year.

In true punk fashion, Riot Fest got a jump on their reunion plans in 2017. Riot Fest has been responsible for hosting a few reunions under their belt and this was no exception. Luckily, this reunion wasn’t short lived and this tour actually happened. At the Austin date, we had local openers Lemuria and A Giant Dog. I definitely believe Lemuria was influenced by a band like Jawbreaker with their introspective lyrics and riffs.

A Giant Dog might be the crown jewel of the current Austin music scene. I am not surprised they opened for sure a high profile show. I am not sure they are completely underneath the umbrella of the punk genre but at the very least you will be entertained by their garage influence.

This was the first show I have seen at this made-up venue. The Long Center is a theatre but doesn’t normally do concerts of this kind. Margin Walker events put on this tour date and built the stage for the Jawbreaker show specifically due to the Mohawk being a smaller more intimate venue in town. It was a cool venue and you could see the whole stage from the hillside. I would like to see this venue set up again for another artist. I would also love to see Jawbreaker again.

Here is the setlist from this date and some videos from this show:

  1. Boxcar
  2. West Bay Invitational
  3. Sea Foam Green
  4. Save Your Generation
  5. Do You Still Hate Me?
  6. Condition Oakland
  7. Chemistry
  8. The Boat Dreams From the Hill
  9. Jet Black
  10. Parabola
  11. Accident Prone
  12. Ache
  13. Sluttering (May 4th)
  14. Housesitter
  15. Kiss the Bottle
  16. Shield Your Eyes

No encore for some weird reason. It was rumored they were going to play Chesterfield King but honestly, it was stupid hot outside so who knows what really happened at the end of the night.

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Show Review: The Distillers

This might be the golden age of punk reunions. The last 5 years have brought several bands out of hiding and back to what they do best. There are several listed throughout this blog even. The Distillers have made the list of much-anticipated reunion tours. With these limited dates, there has been a lot of buzz about each show. Most of the week I have been following their press and fans on their journey.

I got to relive the magic at the Mohawk here in Austin, Texas. They didn’t have any local support bands but they choose the L.A. based band The Flytraps for all the tour dates. You can guess their possible inspirations; The Cramps, Joan Jett and the Runaways, and just old school rock and roll. They were a fun opener. Kind of cheesy but it worked on several levels. Kristin Cooper is an amazing bassist and she is a frontwoman extraordinaire. The one thing I couldn’t figure out was if their guitarists looked bored on purpose or if it was an act. I have to admit it kept me guessing. Their songs were catchy and had some clever subject matter. I will say they were professionals and got people behind their music. They also got a lot of their merch sold, which bands should take note of their hustle.  Even though they were a great opener for this tour, I think a more street punk type of band would have made the tour even sweeter.

The Distillers came out the gate with “I am a Revenant” which would be my top choice for an opening song. Everything they played was pretty much what I wanted to hear. Their discography is not a large one but every album is great. Setlist below:

  1. I am the Revenant
  2. L.A. Girl
  3. Seneca Falls
  4. Die on a Rope
  5. Sick of it All
  6. The Gallow is God
  7. Oh Serena
  8. Dismantle Me
  9. The Hunger
  10. Love is Paranoid
  11. For Tonight You’re Only Here to Know
  12. Drain the Blood
  13. City of Angels
  14. The Blackest Years

They played a little from each album and my favorite had to be “Die on a Rope”. Unfortunately, Brodie’s voice wasn’t 100% at the Austin date. I think this was to be expected on some level since these albums are intense and have real highs/lows vocally. I think the band did their best collectively to make sure the show went on as planned. I thought her voice sounded beautiful in ” The Hunger” which just starts out with just vocals and guitar. One thought I had originally about this tour was Brodie going to able to sing some of this material since it is very personal and haunting. Luckily it seems liked second nature and the band made it seem effortless.  I was also really thankful to see a ton of women at the show because in most scenes the female gender lacks in representation. I think this is a sign that there is a need for more female fronted/minded bands that represent all of us. This short tour makes me hopeful for the future of women in music and to hear some new tracks from the Distillers themselves.

 

Feel free to comment about other dates on this tour or photos/videos!

Tours: The Distillers Reunion

New Year, new blog! What has brought new life into me? The one and only the Distillers reunion tour. Everyone thought it would NEVER happen but all my punk girl dreams are coming true in 2018. The reactions have been nothing but positive since the teaser video was released on their social media on January 3. See the teaser below:

There are two main reasons this reunion has me excited more than most. I have lived to see the Refused and Misfits reunite after saying they said they never would. The reason I am fangirling out more than usual would be because this is a female fronted band making big waves in the scene. Growing up my heroes were Joan Jett and Debra Harry.  But these are not women of my own generation. Brody Dalle would the closest musician that mirrored how I looked and felt. She didn’t sing about sugary things, didn’t wear pink shit, and she could play an amazing guitar. The raspy screams and hit songs are what makes this band shine and beloved even today. Throughout the years this band was filled with controversy and their eventual fallout but I feel no other band filled their void since. I am looking forward to a future album and this tour.

Reason number two I am psyched is because The Distillers apparently love Texas, my home state. We are lucky enough to get 3 city tours for this reunion. Certain punk acts have a hard time getting to Texas because of the location and funding but they are coming straight for us this spring. Photos popped up after the reunion announcement and one of the first dates was El Paso. I was even more thrilled to get tickets to the Austin date. Dallas will be blessed on May 2 at the Curtain Club. See you at the show!

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The Distillers, Spring 2018 Tour:
April 25 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
April 27 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
April 28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
April 29 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrown Palace
May 1 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
May 2 – Dallas, TX @ The Curtain Club

*Favorite reunions so far would be in order: The Misfits, The Descendants, The Refused, and The Impossibles. I think this will be #4 in the top five of all time.*

 

Show Review: Save Ferris is Back!

It only took 15 years but here is the new Save Ferris band and EP. I can’t deny that I was super curious to see what the hype was about. I first saw Save Ferris at my first Warped Tour in 1999. I can definitely say this was one of the first times I experienced ska, especially since it was in a revival. Nevertheless, it has been a love of mine ever since. The album It Means Everything was the essence of my youth and was something I related to immensely.

The story goes as follows; Monique Powell wanted to continue with Save Ferris and here is what the finished product is. There is a new 5 songs EP called Checkered Past and a tour. There are new members in Save Ferris which everyone knows by now since the infamous lawsuit. But when changing band members and using the same name, it can be a tricky manoeuver to pull off successfully.

I honestly didn’t care for the opening bands in the stop in Austin. First Year Fight is still a very young and new band, also not ska. Vista Kicks were entertaining but also not ska. Believe it or not but Austin does have ska bands. This tour might have been a test run for the future to come, I will forgive it this time. Word to the wise, email or message the Austin Ska Collective next time since they might have the answers.

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Regardless, Save Ferris met and exceeded my expectations. They played the hits of course but also threw in some songs from the new EP. Monique could at least joke about being in a movie in the 90s and doing covers. Life is too short to be embarrassed by the things you did in the 90s. The band members are seasoned ska players, which made the set even more enjoyable. I like their bass player a lot. Regardless, check out the photos and videos below and let me know what you think.

Show Review: Guttermouth/The Queers/Agent Orange

I just want to start out by stating I think Guttermouth and The Queers are underrated when it comes to being popular in punk rock. Will they ever be a band like Rancid? No. When I want to see quintessential and offensive punk rock; this is where I go. These bands are not politically correct and not here to impress, they are here to be fun punk rock like it is supposed to be.

That being said, this was a show I was super excited for. After all these years of missing them come through town, I got to see The Queers and Agent Orange. I don’t know what I was doing with life that I kept missing these shows but I finally got my act together.

I am thrilled that a local production company Come and Take it Productions, has decided to bring these tours into town and give them a place to play. Needless to say, I got to the show late which usually isn’t my style. I actually like to check out opening bands. I regret not seeing the One Shot Down and the Atom Age. One Shot Down is a local Austin band and I love their hardcore style. The Atom Age I have heard so much about and I love what I have heard from them.

But my heart truly lies with The Queers. I love their sweet pop-punk songs but then they turn around and offend me (in a good way). Everyone was going crazy and enjoying songs such as “Murder at The Brady House” and “Love Love Love” which were some of my favorites. They also did two covers; The Ramones “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and Screeching Weasel’s “Cindy’s on Methadone”.

Guttermouth is one of my favorite bands to see. The first time I saw Guttermouth was the best. In Emo’s heyday in Austin, Guttermouth played there quite a few times. I once saw them throw a kid out for looking like he shopped at Hot Topic (and for being an asshole). From then on, I was a fan for life. They don’t care what they look like or how they sound for that matter. Some of their songs are ridiculously good and well written. Even though the subject lines of their songs are over the top but they are still weirdly relatable.

Lastly, I got to see Agent Orange. I have been a fan for a long time now. Living in Darkness is one of my favorite nihilist punk albums. It is dark surf punk opus. I was happy to see that they still tour and I love hearing their songs. My only real bone to pick is that I wanted their set to have that dark edgy sound rather than how they performed their songs live. I can get over member changes but arrangement changes might be where I draw the line. Regardless, I think all the bands on this tour are underrated in the punk’s vast culture and there should be more lineups like all these bands currently on tour.

 

Show Review: Lemuria/Cayetana/Mikey Erg

This show lineup is where music fans that love punk and indie rock live and coincide. From the Against Me! and The Menzingers t-shirts to the fashion clad hipsters; there is something for everyone. This was my first show of the year and I have to say it was a good pick. Nothing too crazy or heavy but a true quintessential classic.

All of my friends were excited to see Mikey Erg. Personally, I missed this part of the punk history. Like most of the great pop-punk, we have heard out the New Jersey area, Mikey Erg is definitely is keeping those great songs alive. He does a solo set that is similar to an acoustic solo set. But he is not exactly an “acoustic” guy (sorry Chuck Ragan) so he plays with a guitar and an amp. This is unorthodox but the songs are well written and catchy, exactly what you can expect from 1/3 of The Ergs! His band had a short-lived reunion but I think that might be it for now. His solo stuff is worth checking out if you are getting over a breakup, driving through the east coast, or riding your bicycle in Converse on a Wednesday.

What really sold me on this show was the band Cayetana. I have been annoying my partner by playing this band over and over in the apartment for the past year. I highly believe that “Hot Dad Calendar” is a perfectly written pop song. The lyrics are catchy, the guitar and bass are in synch, and vocals are silly and intense all at the same time. I was glad I was able to see this band live and it definitely made me more of a fan. They have a new album coming out this year which I can’t wait to check out, especially if it is as great as Nervous Like Me. Check out more below:

Speaking of classic albums, Lemuria has mastered this art. Get Better is having its 10th anniversary and it is an album I like to revisit time to time. The best things about Lemuria is there layered vocals and harmonies, riffy guitars, and their self-doubt lyrics with splashes of optimism. Living in a place between pop music and with a dash of punk is a hard stunt to pull off as a band but Lemuria really makes it work.

They probably over think everything as a band but that is something that always pays off for them. From their song structure to the merch they sell, every piece is given care and thought. I think more bands need to over care and get to be this professional. This is why a lot of their fan base (and indie labels) care about what this band does next. I was really glad to see all these artists finally in my hometown and in one of my favorite local venues. 2017 is going to be a great year in music if artists like these keep making pop music in these dark times.

Show Review: Refused/The Coathangers/Plague Vendor

I have been fortunate enough to catch Refused three times in my life and this is a short list of the following experiences:

1.) The first time I saw Refused live, the first statement out of my mouth was ” I want to feel this good all the time!!” And yes I was sober.

2.) The second time I stated that “When I die and my life flashes before my eyes, the two times I saw Refused will be included.”

3.) Third time, I got to do a meet and greet.

Besides the details of my obsession, this tour’s lineup is pretty great. The local band they chose for this date was Residual Kid, which is an Austin favorite. I saw that their singer graduated from high school the previous week and then got to play a show at the Mohawk. Yeah, we are all a bit jealous. I like their style a lot but since they are so young I feel their style will keeping developing into something more complex. They are a great opener though for a tour like this though.

I also dug Plague Vendor. I liked their odd style the most; fashion and musically. Their members had styles varying from dad wear to goth but I like to keep guessing where this is going. Plus their music and style don’t feel forced, it’s who they are. They are here for the music. I think they are excellent musicians and I really enjoyed their live show. I can say it is not for everyone. I like that kind of dark and trashy (I use trashy as a positive here) style of music. Who am I to judge when I love Sisters of Mercy? They are also on Epitaph Records, and someone important definitely sees the appeal and I think you might too.

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Refused at Mohawk 2016

I was pretty excited to see The Coathangers since I had seen their name around the blogosphere. I really also love female supported bands since there are so few. But I didn’t really get that into them as much as I wanted. I love their vocals and they are talented musicians. I just think it is just difficult to judge when there are a lot of bands in their particular genre that does a similar style. It makes it difficult not to compare them with other bands too harshly. But I lot of people came to see them play and enjoyed their set. Also, they are opening for Refused, so that does say something about their band. The verdict is still out, so check them out for yourself and be the final vote.

Refused was and still is amazing. I was excited for the show since I was starting to see pictures from their Houston date at Free Press. They opened with “Elektra” and everyone lost it. Finally being able to see a festival headliner at a club show ultimately created a unique experience. They played all their newer songs sprinkled within their hits, which I enjoyed since I wanted to hear as much from their catalog as possible. I also really liked that Dennis Lyxzen has some poignant things to say about the ideas of freedom. They offered up Sweden to their fans and whatever they can do to keep that ideal.

What truly struck me as beautiful was during the week the verdict of the Brock Turner case come out, Lyxzen stated that guys need to get their act together to keep the female population safe against sexual assault. It was a tough week all around and it was refreshing to hear that kind of advocacy. I also told him this at the meet and great. And their band is amazing too.

I usually hate meeting people I really admire. That is because I want to continue to like them. I truly can say that Refused were SUPER nice guys. I was surprised due to my pessimism of people being awful. But they made that experience wonderful and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next.

And “New Noise” will also be my JAM!