The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms: live in Columbuslive in Columbus (2003)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: SciulliSciulli
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This show was held in the Distillery in Columbus, Ohio, a small pub/music venue. It was supposed to start at 8:00 PM, but didn't actually get going until 10:30. First thing I noticed was Brendan of the Lawrence Arms sitting on a bar stool drinking a beer. Alcohol Brendan = Fun Show. I don.

This show was held in the Distillery in Columbus, Ohio, a small pub/music venue. It was supposed to start at 8:00 PM, but didn't actually get going until 10:30. First thing I noticed was Brendan of the Lawrence Arms sitting on a bar stool drinking a beer. Alcohol Brendan = Fun Show.

I don't remember who else played that night besides the Lawrence Arms, and frankly, I don't care. The first band was some local deal that sounded like a hardcore Taking Back Sunday. Ok. Next was a 3 piece rock and roll type band that sounded pretty good, but got quite repetitive after a bit. They played some 80s cover for their last song that I didn't know but everyone else seemed to know the words to. They also did this freaky thing where the guitar player and bass player would lean their heads on each other's shoulders and play (picture two Rams in the wild locking horns). They went on for about a minute like this with everyone in the audience just sort of looking at each other asking, "Why are they doing this?"

Then it was time for what 95% of the audience came for, The Lawrence Arms. As the band set up, it was quite obvious that Brendan was plastered. And believe me, I know the difference between trashed Brendan and sober Brendan. Just the week before I was at the Pittsburgh show (held in a lecture hall at the University of Pittsburgh, quite cool) and he was fine. Tonight though, he was stumbling around the stage uttering incomplete thoughts into the mic every now and then. Halfway through the set up, he jokingly asked if anyone would buy him a beer and a shot of Jim Bean. Sure enough, right before the set got started, he was handed his alcohol.

Now it was time for some music. "Hesitation Station" was the opener. It was quite humorous to see how well Brendan could actually play while being so drunk. They sounded good, he managed to remember all the words, and he had that familiar insane look in his eyes (if you've seen them live, you know what I mean). Next up was Chris and one of my all time favorite Lawrence Arms songs, "First Eviction Notice." Chris sounded phenomenal live. If you ever thought that maybe they added some "effects" on their albums to enhance his voice, well no, he really sounds that great. Next up was one of my favorites from "The Greatest Story Ever Told." With its bass-only intro, it's a good thing they played "Alert the Audience!" early on (I'll explain in a bit). This is possibly one of their catchiest songs to date and it obviously translates very well when played live. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the people who attended the show knew the words to even the new songs. The week before in Pittsburgh, I think myself and maybe three others were the only ones who were really there for them (Rise Against was the main draw). After this we were treated to a "Ghost Stories" classic, "Turnstyles." At this point, things got quite interesting.

"Turnstyles" ended and there was something wrong. What could it be? Did Chris slice his finger on a guitar string and have to go to the hospital? Did a drunkard in the crowd pick a fight with Neil behind the drum set? No. Brendan broke a string on his bass (haha). So this was a quick fix, right? The band called for their guitar tech after Brendan unsuccessfully tried to fix things himself. Basses from the other bands were graciously offered, but none of them seemed to work. It was concluded after a few minutes that his amplifier was no longer outputting any sound. Most bands at this point would pack it up and call it a day if they didn't have any bass. Brendan said screw it and grabbed the mic. They would play the rest of the set without bass. "I haven't done this since I was in a ska band." Perhaps one of the coolest quotes ever (for those with slightly lower mental capabilities than most, he was referring to the legendary Slapstick).

As you may guess, the crowd was about to explode (there was only about fifty of us though, but still, we were going to explode, take my word for it). Brendan asked the band for some fast songs (and obviously ones that weren't very bass-centric). Of course, one of the best fast, crowd moving songs would be "Presenting: The Dancing Machine." Everyone went wild as the first dark chords of the song were played. It was truly a sight to see, everyone in the small venue was surrounding Brendan. Anyone close enough screamed into the mic and my friend even got to sing the line "fuck what we say and all that we do, I'm saving myself for something beautifully true." You have to remember that Brendan was drunk as he ever is, so this basically added to the chaos of the situation. Next they played "March of the Elephants" and then a song off "A Guided Tour of Chicago" (can't remember which one, though I CAN say it wasn't "An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance" or "Eighteen Inches," my two favorite). Since they took up so much time during the whole bass confusion, they now had to play their final song. For this they took requests from the crowd. My friend and I yelled "Quincentuple Your Money" at the top of our lungs. Yep, they played it. Before they started, Neil requested that Brendan sing the bass line in the beginning. Of course everyone joined it. It was pretty funny to hear the whole audience screaming out each note. Everyone was going wild at this point, beer was flying everywhere, and there was such a surge of people at one point that Brendan was knocked over. He sang part of the song on his knees then got up. They eventually finished, and everyone stuck around for a few minutes to congratulate them on such an awesome show.

On my way out, I grabbed one of the new Larry Arms t-shirts (four of the new ones were designed by the fans through a contest on their website). This easily ranks up there as one of my favorite shows ever. The only thing that could have been better was a few more songs, but hey, I can't complain. Just before we left I noticed another band was setting up. I think everyone in the bar felt bad for them.


People who liked this also liked:
Slow Gherkin - Shed Some SkinAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireThe Lawrence Arms - Ghost StoriesDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RHard Girls - A Thousand SurfacesShinobu - 10 Thermidor

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 11, 2004)

just went out and bought the lawrence arms *the greatest story ever told* its an amazing cd.. go get it.

Anonymous (November 14, 2003)

Did you blow all of them or just neil?

Anonymous (November 13, 2003)

This show was amazing. I came from cincinnati ohio to see them. Before the show i caught up with brendan, chris and neil when they were exiting their van and got to talk to brendan before hand. i also talked to neil as he was setting up his drums and we gave him a few requests to put on the set list, and hey put em on. real good band, even better live. see them sometime if ya get the chance

Anonymous (November 12, 2003)

Has anyone seen the latest revenge of the nerds movie? Well anyway Lewis' nephew takes over the rains as head nerd; when I saw these guys last year I thought the lead singer was that actor.

Then I realized the whole band was nerds and that they suck ass.

Sciulli (November 11, 2003)

"when was this show? I love Bernies Distillery, I woulda definetly woulda went "
It was November 1st.

Anonymous (November 11, 2003)

Next month I'm seeing the Lawrence Arms at the beautiful wonderful Creepy Crawl in St. Louis, MO...a venue that many people seem to hate...but I love.

treetsux (November 11, 2003)

when was this show? I love Bernies Distillery, I woulda definetly woulda went

Anonymous (November 9, 2003)

excellent review! you really captured the mood.

Anonymous (November 9, 2003)

whoa, they played in pittsburgh and i missed it? how the fuck did i not hear about this show? i live in fucking oakland for gods sake. fuck. they stayed in my apt. after the plea for peace show last year and got real drunk. how punk am i?

Anonymous (November 9, 2003)

yes sir, one the best show i have ever been to and participated in. well worth the four hour drive from detroit to see the lawrence arms and then the agonizing 5 hour drive back due to fog conditions. Brendan told us it was his favorite show as well...

Anonymous (November 9, 2003)

The Ruby Doe's cover final song was "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead

Anonymous (November 9, 2003)

CAL RIP! mr. ripkin, come here.. Debbie

Anonymous (November 8, 2003)

all the great bands decide to come to columbus while i'm gone. fuck. it sounds amazing to have seen the larry arms at bernies.

i'm seeing them next week in tempe, az.


Anonymous (November 8, 2003)

rock and roll
these guys rule

Anonymous (November 8, 2003)

The opening bands were:

A Perfect Day - very, very "emocore"

Ruby Doe - straight up kick your ass rock and roll

Downtrodn - was the band playing after the Arms, cookie cutter punk for the most part

just to add something, the roadie for the Lawrence Arms wanted to knife fight me for my shirt, and I now kick myself for passing up a good knife fight, its been a while

i-type-poorly (November 8, 2003)

"The Lawrence Arms - live in Columbus"

I thought they live in Chicago. hahahahahhahahahatheysuck.

inagreendase (November 8, 2003)

Despite the apathetic attitude about any band playing this show not named "the Lawrence Arms," the review was good...described the set well I must say. From what I've heard the new album seems a lot more varied than previous material.

Anonymous (November 8, 2003)

all the stars for the shot of jim beam, can't beat that.

Anonymous (November 8, 2003)

hey. does anybody know where one could find live mp3s of the lawrence arms? that'd be just great considering that they never come around my country, so i'll never get to hear them live.

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

I drove up from cincinnati to see that show and it was worth every mile.. that was easily one of the most memorable shows ive ever seen. the best part was the last 4 songs consisted of brendon and about 25 others all on a small ass stage pushing the band members into the corner, everyone going fucking crazy.. GREAT SHOW

CrankWillDestroy (November 7, 2003)

'let's not forget the broadways too. or are my mental capacities too low?'

but the broadways weren't ska.
but that would've been great to see brendan singing and goin crazy without the bass.

Sciulli (November 7, 2003)

"let's not forget the broadways too. or are my mental capacities too low?"

1. Brendan played bass and sang in the Broadways. The point was he was just singing, which he did in Slapstick.

2. The Broadways weren't a ska band.

"Are the new Larry Arms shirts going to be sold at Interpunk or only at shows?

I want that penguin one. It kicks my ass."

I dunno, but I bought the Penguin one and I'm wearing it right now. Awesome shirt.

"you're pretty lame for calling out for Quincentuple Your Money as the last song...that's a pretty weak closer"

well I don't care if it was a lame closer. Obviosly the band didn't think so, they got to pick whatever they wanted and they picked that. Plus, it's my favorite LA song, so I wanted to hear it.

"i don't get the ending about another band setting up"

well it was some local band it looked like and I just felt bad for them because LA put on such an amazing show that it would be impossible to follow them.

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

Are the new Larry Arms shirts going to be sold at Interpunk or only at shows?

I want that penguin one. It kicks my ass.

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

Jeezus I was enamoured by that review. Fuck I love the arms' My band covers "Alert the Audience" jesus they are 2 good.

Fuck me


Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

thank you, it's about damn time someone reviewed a larry's show from this tour. is stoked for the denver show

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

let's not forget the broadways too. or are my mental capacities too low?

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

Detention rules. No offense, but you're pretty lame for calling out for Quincentuple Your Money as the last song...that's a pretty weak closer. Anywho, that show sounds pretty fucking great.

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

wow, sounds like you spend a lot of time with brendan, like he's your own brother! Does your head smell from being so far up his ass?

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

They didnt quit because of time, it was because Chris was so pissed off by people getting on stage and unhooking his guitar chord or stomping on his petal that he told Neil and Brendan that it was the last song. And the song that the reviewer forgot was "Detention."

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

Best Lawrence arms show I've ever been to. Goddamn.


Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

i don't get the ending about another band setting up

sk8punx4evr (November 7, 2003)

that seriously sounds fucking awesome. kind of weird about the bass but i would've enjoyed it nonetheless.

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