There is seriously no better opening band for Screeching Weasel than the Queers. And there is no better follow–up to the Queers than Screeching Weasel. Seeing the two bands perfrom at the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street, June 7th 2014, was like watching one kickass punk rock family reunion (even though this was my first chance witnessing it). Both bands fired off rounds of classic songs one after another with short pauses to reload before the sold out crowd. And like most larger Philadelphia shows, the fans were the real deal– and the bands knew it, matching the crowd in its intensity– allowing for awesome sing–alongs, sweet covers, and heartfelt addresses from both Joe Queer and Ben Weasel of their gratitude to play shows together once again.
The Queers took the stage and blasted into "No Tit," followed directly by "You're Tripping." They played pretty much non–stop for about an hour, playing a whole lot of hits like: "Noodlebrain," "I Hate Everything," "Ursula Finally Has Tits," "Fuck This World," "Monster Zero," "Love, Love, Love," and "Like A Parasite." The band sounded great, too– Joe Queer center stage, Dangerous Dave on bass, and Lurch Nobody absolutely killing it on drums. They covered Mr. T Experience's "And I Will Be With You" and for the encore, played "Granola Head" and ended their set with "I Only Drink Bud." The Queers really performed in rapid fire style– short songs played loud, fast, and with awesome energy that made Screeching Weasel's entrance that much more exciting.
Screeching Weasel matched the Queers' stamina and intensity and upped the ante– as the cover art of their 1994 album How to Make Enemies and Irritate People revealed itself in the form of a giant backdrop in all its old school comic book–esque glory. They too delivered a plethora of great tunes– "I Wanna Be With You Tonight," "My Right," "Don't Turn Out the Lights," "Hey Suburbia," "Dingbat," "The First Day of Summer," and "The Science of Myth." Ben Weasel, the only original member of the band performing, occupied the stage like the animated frontman that he is– his bald head bouncing around as he violently jumped back and forth between sides of the stage. There was a moment when he started singing "Teenage Lobotomy" as the band delved into covering the legendary Ramones song– like everything made sense for a minute and a half. Screeching Weasel came back for their encore to play "Cindy's on Methadone," ending with "Cool Kids." The pit for the whole show was strangely inviting– more intense than expected, but not too wild– just actual fans freaking out to hear some of their favorite songs live.
This was pop punk in its purest, most uncut form. The Queers and Screeching Weasel have been doing this for years and years– and it shows in the professionalism they brought to their performances. Likewise the decades of collaboration between the two bands from their beginnings translates into an intimate connection onstage– like their members were almost interchangable, their sets not so separate from one another. Screeching Weasel and the Queers have a way of bringing people together– they remind their fans of how fun it is to be young and alive and to celebrate all that's shitty in life.
I went to this show with two older brothers who grew up on these bands and introduced me to them when I was growing up; on the other hand, I was able to bring a friend who had never been to a punk show before– and the similarities of experiences was amazing. What was striking is the magic I saw in all their eyes– when punk rock changes someone's life overnight, or reinforces their love for it. It's that positive, genuine feeling of camaraderie that snaps us back into being okay with who we are– and bands like Screeching Weasel and the Queers make it possible through their immense power of pop punk genius.