My first experience with Lagwagon was 10th grade. Mind you, I'm turning 23 next month, so this is a while ago. I had moved to a new state, had a new school, didn't really know anyone. A girl at my lunch table knew I liked Green Day; she brought in a copy of Hoss, loaned it to me, and since then it's been one of my favorite pop-punk records. Unfortunately, growing up in the sticks of New Hampshire lends very few opportunities to see Lagwagon live. But oh, I did it, motherfuckers. Finally. It took high school, college, and moving 3,000 miles clear across the country, but two nights ago I saw Lagwagon. It's about fucking time.
The show started off with Oliver, a local band, who weren't that good. However, some local kid who had obviously indulged in too much ecstasy was prolifically booing and running around, ended up throwing his shoe at the band and provided some great entertainment as he was thrown out into the cold rain, shoeless and stoned. I'm all for a few drinks before a show, but kids, take it easy or you might wake up in strange locations.
Bullets to Broadway came on and rocked the fucking stage to death. The lead singer looked eerily like Jordan of A New Found Glory, and the band actually reminded me of a more aggressive ANFG, with female backup vocals and a Lawrence Arms kind of attitude; drinking, smoking, fucking, and taking care of your friends. An overwhelmingly positive and grateful band, and I would love to see them get some bigger gigs, as they played an amazing set. The highlight was the lead singer asking for cigarettes and actually getting a good $10 worth of smokes thrown at him, while the bassist/resident girl of the band asked for tampons and had a disturbing amount thrown at the stage. But then, well, then came Lagwagon.
Everything they had said about Lagwagon was true. The Big Bitch is big. Joey Cape is small. I was expecting Joey to be a little more of a frontman, but he seemed very sincere in his art form, very removed from the venue, undertaking each and every song as if it were the first time he had ever sang it live. The new songs were dead-on, with Joey even rocking a megaphone for parts of the more produced songs on Resolve. While the crowd wasn't as sing-along-ready for the new material, the band was putting their entire heart into the set.
The set consisted of basically the live album, substituting a few songs for new tracks. Unfortuantely for me, they took out "Alien 8" and a few songs from Hoss, rather than some of the ones I wasn't as fond of. It wasn't a bad set at all, but I was really hoping to hear "Sleep." The new songs played were "Heartbreaking Music," "Automatic," "Virus," "Runs in the Family," "Sad Astronaut," "Rager," and a resounding "Days of New."
It's odd, seeing Lagwagon the better part of a decade after the first time I had ever heard them on record; this was easily the most fun I'd had at a show in a while. While I have recently seen the Fat Tour, I was sick and thus, couldn't join the crowd antics... but Lagwagon was just nothing but fun live. Everyone was having a great time, from those who were well over my ancient age of 23 to those who had obviously recently discovered the band (there was a group of four kids next to me who must have been 13 at best). This is a hell of a live band that I cannot recommend enough, and I will surely be there the next time they come around.