Show Review: Millencolin/Success

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True Brew Tour 2016

Millencolin has finally done a legit U.S. tour after all these years. As a fan that has been waiting for a tour on this side of the Atlantic, this one was not to be missed. I saw them on a random date last year in Dallas but that left me wanting more from Millencolin. It was awesome that they came back to Texas and gave Austin a shot this time.

 

 

For myself, seeing a band like Millencolin was a right of passage. There are certain bands we listened to in our punk journey that we dream about seeing live. Basically, any band that was on a Fat Wreck compilation or Punk-O-Rama is on that list. Throughout May and June, they are joined by Success and MXPX, which are great additions to this tour. They are also doing tour stops during the Punk Rock Bowling Festival (Las Vegas and Denver dates).

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Millencolin 2016 at Mohawk 

 

Let’s begin with their opening band Success on this particular tour date. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I was about to hear. I just knew they are a band from Seattle. I have read a bunch about them over the past two years since they have been on several festival lineups and have been touring frequently. I was really surprised by their sound because I was built up to believe they were more pop punk than they actually were. When I think of pop punk as a genre, it sometimes can lean on the sugary sweet side. You can tell who their influences are in the punk genre but what was truly fascinating was the overall musical influences they have. They are music nerds and not afraid to show it. They fused their set by playing their songs that would somehow end up playing “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. These poor guys played their hearts out in the hot Texas humidity and didn’t fail to impress.

Millencolin’s set was everything I expect from them. They played a few songs from their latest release True Brew, thus why the tour is named as such. What I really enjoyed about their set is that I didn’t feel like I saw the same set twice. It consisted of their hits such as “Penguins and Polar Bears”, “Twenty Two”, and “Mr.Clean”. Also my personal favorite “Black Eye”. I know I have seen these songs at the show last year but it honestly felt refreshing rather than repetitive. Especially since this band only does so many releases over the years, it is crucial to stay fresh and innovative for your fans. I definitely feel they keep this idea in mind on their tours and their music. I hope their absence from Texas won’t be the many years it has been and we will get more great music from this band in the future.

Joyce Manor Cover Murder City Devils

I recently saw one of my favorite bands Joyce Manor on tour with Modern Baseball and Say Anything this past month. Unfortunately, some of my content was messed up for a full review of that show. But my favorite moment from this tour is what remains. I can’t describe how much I love the Murder City Devils. So when I see bands like Joyce Manor embrace their love, it is magnificent.

They did a cover of Murder City Devils “Midnight at the Mutter Museum” off the Thelema EP (2001). I thoroughly enjoyed their version of this song and I hope you do too.

Notes: My storage space cut out the last bit of the video. Also, the non-landscape view is due to poles in the view and my height, apologies on those issues.

 

Punk Rock Festivals 2016: Lineups, Reunions, and Hang Overs

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Photo by Tyson Heder

This time of year, in my opinion, is the beginning of the punk festival season. I think between Punk Rock Bowling and Fest is the prime picking for festivals in the United States. With these amazing lineups and the Misfits reunion, we can all see the money flying out of our bank accounts. Just remember there is no price on memories even if we might black out and forget….

Here is the break down for every major punk lineup in the U.S. and a few international mentions:

Punk Rock Bowling: Las Vegas, NV( May 26-30), Denver, CO (June 2-4), and Ashbury, NJ (June 10-12)

I am VERY biased when I say this is my favorite festival. I have been several times now and it is the quintessential punk rock festival. All the punk kids having fun against the glitzy Las Vegas lights is a sight to be seen. This festival also brings cool and unique club after shows. Did I mention there is a bowling tournament too? With the gambling, pool parties, and karaoke, the fun never stops in this 24-hour festival. This year they are attempting to branch out by having dates in Ashbury and Denver. Here are the lineups for each date:

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Riot Fest: Chicago, IL (Sept. 16-18) and Denver, CO (Sept. 2-4)

Riot Fest REALLY brought the surprise of the year by only announcing the Misfits reunion in their initial band. They didn’t mention any of their other stellar artists and let us just freak out for a moment because hell froze over for a second. Of course, in our heart of hearts, we could see this happening but no one was holding their breath. But it’s happening! I will be there this September to give all the details of this reunion for you guys. This might be my favorite lineup of all the festivals this year. It has such punk gems as Bad Religion, Lagwagon, NOFX, The Aquabats, Against Me!, and Leftover Crack to name just a few. Both lineups are very similar but it depends on how much you want to see certain headliners and old school favorites. They are still announcing more to each lineup so stay tuned:

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Fest 15: Gainesville, FL (Oct. 28-30)

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Fest is on my bucket list of punk festivals to go to before I die. I think it should be on yours as well. Anyone that I have discussed Fest with says that it is a place where new punk bands are made and found. This year is very special since it is an anniversary of the festival. They have a heavy lineup of alumni playing, which makes it harder to decide who you want to see. This is a great problem to have. So cancel all your Halloween plans now and make it out to Fest 15 this year, check out the official lineup below:Image-14-05-2016-at-01.02.jpg

Remember the Punks Fest: San Antonio, TX (October 1, 2016)

A super surprise for the state of Texas. As a punker growing up in Texas, we tend to miss out on bands from the other coasts that can’t afford to tour here often. So when this festival popped up, the internet lit up! I feel the lineup is equal parts street punk, pop punk, and ska. It will be amazing to see Bigwig, Slapshot, The Exploited again since it has been a hot minute. I think this festival will do well since the venues will cater to every kind of punk. I will also be covering this festival since it is in my backyard, which in Texas means a 2-hour drive.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest: Austin, TX (Nov 6-8)

This has been my favorite local festival for many years now. This 10-year festival is uniquely Austin. These festival people love bands such as the Descendents, GWAR, and Fat Wreck bands, and reunions. And don’t forget tacos. I hope this is not the end of the road for this festival since the company has changed owners this past month. It is a great festival that is equal parts electronic, hip-hop, comedy, punk, metal, hardcore, and indie rock. Every year they do a recap video and I think it gives a good depiction of what good times to expect. Fingers crossed for another great year and lineup to come!

Other Honorable Mentions:

Since some of these festivals are overseas or have already happened, here is a quick list of festivals to hit up outside the U.S. Get those passports ready!

Get FESTING in 2016 and feel free to share local festivals within the comments. See you out there!

Fat Wreck Chords Takes SXSW 2016

Even though most SXSW veterans will say this year’s festival wasn’t above and beyond might not be appreciating the roots of the festival. Growing up punk in Austin, I used to wait on the sidewalks of Emo’s hoping to get into the SXSW Fat Wreck Chords showcase. Those were the golden years of Rock Against Bush for Fat Wreck and we needed NOFX’s anthems then.

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Ray Rocket at Fat Wreck Chords Showcase SXSW2016

Let’s focus on today; we need their help against Trump and to celebrate their classic punk tracks. This year NOFX released their memoir and brought the best of their label roster to SXSW. The showcase at Buffalo Billard’s was intimate enough for the stylings of Ray Rocket’s acoustic set and to rock out in the pit. All the bands I bought albums from this past year were on the lineup: Ray Rocket, The Dirty Nil, Mean Jeans, toyGuitar, Night Birds, and NOFX.

The two bands I haven’t gotten to see within the past years were my most anticipated: Mean Jeans and Night Birds. I was fortunate enough to go to the Fat Wreck Anniversary Tour this past year but did not get to see these gems. Mean Jeans would be my vote for the most anticipated band for the fest. NOFX is definitely everyone’s favorite but I am always curious to find out who is going to be the next wave of punk. Mean Jeans has the amazing grit and snarl that true punk rock has, but also contains the roots of the Ramones tangled within every song. Their energy and live show was everything I expected from their music and are a perfect fit for the label.

Night Birds has also been a favorite of mine for the past year. They are the hardcore punk that I need to revival the sweet melodic punk I love. Most of the audience noted that the Night Birds are one of the best live band. That is definitely the truth. They come running out the gate and you are coming with them no matter what. Their guitars and angst reels you in and leaves you wanting more.

Of course, the end of the night is topped with the sweet cherry that is NOFX. They are the crowd favorite and everyone goes crazy. Maybe because it was St. Patrick’s Day or the fact they were finally back in Austin but it felt good to have NOFX just play a solid set and have fun with it. I hope this continues to be a tradition with Fat Wreck Chords and SXSW.  The most important part of this festival is to remember why we listen to music in the first place: the classics and new finds.

 

 

 

Tiger Army is Back! (Finally)

Tiger Army’s mantra is “Never Die” and for a while, I thought they might actually die off. In 2013, the band acted like they were disbanding. After the departing of Geoff Kresge in February 2014, there seems to be a radio silence of what was to come next. Also the fact that Tiger Army hadn’t been to Texas since 2008, it seemed pretty damn bleak. As always though, founding and constant member, Nick 13 said the band would continue.

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Tiger Army (Dropkick Murphy Tour 2016)

After all the drama this band has seen over the decades, I was still pretty excited when I heard they would be touring with the great Dropkick Murphys. I was expecting they would play it safe and play old hits. The set was actually a little bit of everything. They stuck to their roots and also debuted some of their new material. They had been gone so long I forgot how much I truly love Nick 13’s voice. I rarely can hear the crispness of a vocalist, especially at a big venue like Stubbs. I am not gonna sugar coat it but I do miss Geoff Kresge as the bassist because I loved his style of playing but Djordje Stijepovic is definitely up to par. They also have another drummer Mike Fasano, who has played on a previous album. Nick 13 has definitely planned this revamp carefully. By getting top musicians such as Dave Roe and Mitch Marine, that have worked with other artists such as Dwight Yokham and  Johnny Cash, the new record will have a rich vintage sound. Also the fact that it was recorded by Grammy winner Ted Hutt, who also records Dropkick Murphys, Old Crow Medicine Show, and The Gaslight Anthem. Check out the new song “Prisoner of the Night” which they are debuting on this current tour:

This new and improved Tiger Army will also be returning to Texas again for Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest on June 4-5 this summer. An obvious statement here is that: Tiger Army Never Dies.

Editor’s Note: The original post was modified to name the correct musicians in the current touring band and on the album. Apologizes for the mix-up and the correction was made. Thanks for reading and the kind words.

Show Review: Murder City Devils

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As a music junkie, I listen to music day in and day out. I have been to countless tours and have probably spent almost million dollars on this music fanaticism. I regret nothing.

Since I have worked in the industry and have listened to so many hours of music, I rarely get overly excited about a band. One weekend of my life, my asshole friends got married on the same weekend as Fun Fun Fun Fest. I was sad that I wasn’t at the fest but then there is real life. I bought a ticket for the last day of the fest and I thought at the very least I can see one solid day of music.

I want to thank the sound guy at Neutral Milk Hotel for being awful. If he wasn’t so bad and the band wasn’t so depressing, I would have never discovered one of my all-time favorite bands: Murder City Devils. I had never heard a single song by them but I thought anything would be better than the horribly mixed sound (I am an audio engineer). I watched the rest of Murder City Devils set and I couldn’t remove my eyes or ears. It felt like a piece of my life that had not be fulfilled was suddenly over full. I felt the electricity that gives you goosebumps and makes you feel suddenly alive. I didn’t even know what I had been missing all this time.

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Instagram: studyanddestroy

I devoured all the albums I could after that weekend. They are so dark, beautiful, and had this raw emotion that is very hard to describe. They have been a band 1996 and are on SubPop. They did break up for a moment back in 2001 but go back together in 2006 to play a few festivals. Their last album was in 2014, which was titled “The White Ghost Has Blood on its Hands Again”.

I have seen them as much as I could in recent years. I saw them play in a lightning storm at Punk Rock Bowling in Vegas. I recently saw them in a club venue, the Mohawk in Austin. Texas was blessed to have their tour dates this year, which included San Antonio and Dallas. I didn’t really know what to expect since every show I have seen them in had been a unique experience. Their set list was mixed with old and new songs, which is to be expected. But what really sold me on this show was watching the audience. Their fans are devoted and they get it. They get the darkness and the tongue & cheek of it all. Part of the set Spencer had the mic literally in his mouth because no one should ever take themselves that seriously. I think the best quote about Murder City Devils would be the one from that FFF fest handout that said “Murder City Devils are like the drunk uncle you invite over for Thanksgiving. He ends up getting drunk and crashing into a china cabinet.” Maybe it’s a simplified meaning, but they have the allegory just right.