When I first heard Mest would embark on their first headlining tour this fall and would take Home Grown and Catch 22 along for the ride, I was excited. I didn't even know Madcap had been added to the bill until the day before the show. But as the show neared, I became a little more nervous as I'd seen Mest a couple times before. One time, they were really drunk and played like shit and the other, they only got a 20 minute set. I'd also heard some live Catch 22 tracks and tried not to expect too much from them.
The night of the show snuck up on me, and the first thing I noticed as I walked into The Graceland was that it was unbearably warm and humid inside, and was only bound to get worse by the time the show was in full swing. I also realized how much I hate The Graceland's pole in the middle of the stage and post in the middle of the floor. I almost got pushed into the post several times before the night was over, which had never happened to me before.
Anyway, the first band to play was Madcap. The crowd stood completely still through most of their first song, but when a break came in the song, the lead singer said "on the count of 4, I want you guys to all jump up and down," and everyone actually did it! I definitely didn't expect that. But from that point on, they were quite well received, but I didn't really dig them. Their set started to drag on after about the fourth or fifth song of their set, just like the last time I'd seen them. They have a great stage presence, but their songs don't do a whole lot for me.
Next up, Catch 22. As I already mentioned, I had pretty low expectations for this band, but I wanted them to destroy my expectations and knock me on my ass. Unfortunately, they didn't. They're all really talented musicians (especially the bassist and trumpet player), but they can't sing for shit and they play too fast for their own good. There's nothing wrong with sloppy punk, but when you lose the beat or your tempo fluctuates as badly as theirs did, you come off as incredibly amateurish. For a band that's been around as long as Catch 22, they should definitely be much tighter. On the plus side, at least they played a good mix of old and new songs, as well as not playing their awful cover of "American Pie" (but only because they were running low on time). This was only the second time they'd ever played Seattle (the other being several years ago with The Suicide Machines), and hopefully they'll get it together before they come back.
Next up, Home Grown. I realized that I went about 3 years without ever getting to see these guys live and here I am, seeing them for the fourth time in the last year. They were in top form to boot! They played a great mix of songs from Act Your Age and their latest The Kings of Pop, with "Get a Job" being the only song they played from That's Business. The only flaw in the entire set was when they let their drummer come out and sing the last part of "Surfer Girl." I wish they would stop letting him do this. He can't sing and it fucks up the rest of the song. But it was otherwise the greatest performance from them I'd ever seen and I look forward to seeing them again.
I was now drenched head-to-toe in sweat as Mest took the stage. They came out onto the stage to Dr. Dre's "Nothin But a G Thang" and launched right into "Opinions." When the first verse came up, the band stopped playing and let the crowd sing the lyrics. It was pretty amazing. Mest has a much larger fanbase in Seattle than I'd thought, as almost everyone in the place was singing. They plowed through several more songs and were doing amazing until one of the security guards started getting a little rough with crowd-surfers, jerking them down onto the floor and screaming at them before letting them go. So, the band stops playing mid-song to tell the guy to knock it off. Good for them. Then, the lead singer goes on to say that this is a punk show and if people want to crowd-surf, then they should because that's what it's all about. Blah! I would just like to say that I hate crowd-surfers and there's nothing fun about having some 80-200 pound asshole land on your head or kick you in the face. Getting hurt is not what it's all about to me, but I digress. End rant.
So they plow right back into the song where they left off and play a few more songs and stop to do a September 11th tribute. I have to say that I'm getting a little sick of bands doing this. I don't like to think about depressing things at shows. I like to go, sing along, jump around, and just have fun. It's a way to get away from the real world for a few hours. But at least they didn't play "The Innocent," which I'm convinced was written in less than 5 minutes. Instead, they opted to play "Mother's Prayer," not much better, but at least it gave the crowd a chance to catch their breath.
So, they promptly picked up the pace again and played a few more songs before the lead singer's guitar got screwed up and he had to get another. Again, a break for the crowd. Once he got the guitar all set up, he started talking about Nirvana and they played a little bit of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Ha-ha guys, very funny. You're also the first band to ever come through here and do that too! Dorks. But after they finished that, the lead singer starts joking about suicide and said "Let's give it up for suicide!" I'm just thankful that everyone booed him and I would have liked to see them get booed off the stage, and this is a band I love. The lead singer promptly apologized, but the damage had already been done. Again, they brought up depressing subject matter at a show and after a crack like that, many people were just not into it anymore, thinking about loved ones they'd lost. I also found it to be pretty hypocritical that he made such a joke only a few minutes after making a tribute to the people lost on September 11th. Incredibly poor taste, if you ask me. He kept going too, talking about how Courtney Love killed Kurt Cobain and it reached a point where the bassist said "Hey, let's play another song." You know you're fucking up when one of your bandmates says something like that on stage.
So they played through the rest of their set and didn't get the same reception were getting before. It almost felt like about half the people left the venue after that happened. It's a shame too, as they were playing so great up until that point. They closed with "Cadillac" (of course) and completely omitted "What's the Dillio" from their setlist. I know it's a terrible song, but it was the first song I heard from them, so it holds a special place in my heart.
In the end, the show left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a bad smell on my shirt. I haven't made up my mind as to whether or not I'll continue to support Mest or not. But at least Home Grown was excellent and totally stole the show. They get a 10, but the overall show gets a 3, due to Mest's behavior and the far from stellar performances of Catch 22 and Madcap.