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Lagwagon / the Lawrence Arms

Lagwagon / the Lawrence Arms: live in San Franciscolive in San Francisco (2005)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4


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

I am a sucker for a few things in life. Things like clam chowder (even a vegetarian needs it), hoodies, and apparently two-night "residences" by bands at a club. Adding one of the bands performing being a longtime favorite is just icing on the cake. Over the last weekend of November, the Lawrence Ar.


I am a sucker for a few things in life. Things like clam chowder (even a vegetarian needs it), hoodies, and apparently two-night "residences" by bands at a club. Adding one of the bands performing being a longtime favorite is just icing on the cake. Over the last weekend of November, the Lawrence Arms and Lagwagon treated San Francisco to two nights of their traveling performance to end their small jaunt up the California coastline, providing one of the most enjoyable series of concerts I've seen.

They brought along with them a couple of openers, which were basically hit and miss. Well, really miss and hit, as it went, as the first night's opener, SetOff, really wasn't so great. I kept trying to nail down their sound, but inconsistencies made it pretty difficult. At times, it sounded like they were going for something along the lines of Lagwagon or A Wilhelm Scream, but they kept missing one important part. Three-part harmonies have become a big part of punk music, with pretty much every band to come out of California using (and abusing) them at some point. The important part to remember about a three-part harmony is that you need, well, all three parts. The problem for SetOff was that the singer and guy on the left (bass, I believe), fit together wonderfully. However, the guitarist (guy on the right), kept joining in with them, using what sounded somewhat between a throaty version of a bad early Fat Mike impression and a cliche nü-screamo scream. Not all that enjoyable, and really ruined what are often the highlight of a band like that's set. Overall, they failed to impress in the live setting, although I did get a copy of their demo which should see review in coming weeks.

Sicker Than Others, the second night's opener, hailed from Santa Barbara, like the headliners, and comprised of 2 folks from the recently defunct Staring Back, with Nick playing guitar and vocals, and Matt, who actually was unable to make it to the San Francisco show. To sum up their sound, I'd just say No Use for a Name. Nick's voice sounds ridiculously similar to Tony's, and many of the songs sounded like More Betterness or Making Friends outtakes. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to the listener, but I rather enjoyed it. I think that it's nice to hear a band that's playing the type of 3-5 chord power-skate-punk that labels like Fat used to be so derided for, because it's enjoyable music. I got into punk through bands with similar sounds, and sometimes you just want to hear something familiar and enjoyable.

The Lawrence Arms played second both nights, and both nights they played fantastic sets. I've learned one thing from seeing them, and that's never to expect a certain set of songs to be played, and to expect to be entertained. The first night, they were probably as tight as I've ever seen them. I sometimes fall short of being able to describe a band that I really like, because it's just...you know, them. The biggest difference between this time and most times I've seen them was due to the size of Slim's. Slim's has a pretty huge stage. Brendan and Chris were on opposite sides and it was a little jarring at first. Being the tightly knit three-piece that they are, you expect them to kind of huddle as close as possible, but they worked it out, playing far away from each other. Brendan was on point, as always, with his jokes, puns and random political ramblings. Chris even treated the crowd to "The First Eviction Notice" in response to a request from one of the guys from Communique.

The real joy of both nights were the new songs. I only caught the name of one of the songs, "Cut It Up." I remember my first time seeing a band play new material, and it was your standard fare of being interested but bored because you didn't know the song. The exact opposite happened. "Cut It Up" is maybe the hardest, fastest, catchiest song I've heard come out of the Chicago boys in a while. I was pretty much floored and just staring; it was amazing. The other songs weren't nearly as hard hitting, but they were also great. It pretty much sounds like they're turning the knobs to 11 and both going full blast all the time. We've got a lot to look forward to with Oh! Calcutta.

Punk rock confessional time. I don't like Lagwagon. I've got my reasons, but the bottom line is that I've never been interested. Just not quite my thing. Close, but not quite, and that in particular drove me farther away from them, I think. I will say that I was interested in hearing Resolve however, if only to hear how a long-running band deals with the loss of a longtime bandmate and friend. I was pleasantly surprised to see them. Judging by the fans, they played a great set. I can say from my impartial, if not biased against them, view they definitely are a good live band. While Joey's voice was sometimes low in the mix, it overall was a great sound, with all of the solos sounding on point and definitely not muddled. You also have to hand it to a band that encourages crowd participation after 15 years of being at it. Some random yah dude got on stage and wanted to sing the song "Sick." So Joey let him. Walked away, gave him the mic, and the young man went to town. This wasn't a pre-scripted move as far as anyone could tell, and shows a connection with the fans, after all these years, is still alive.

By the end of the second night, I was singing "Violins" along with them, and raising a glass to "Sad Astronaut." On the point of that song, and others like it, I'm not even a fan, and I could feel the emotion pouring out of it. I'm not sure if this album, or even these shows are Lagwagon's swansong, but it would be a fitting ending, to go out with an album and songs that can move someone completely unfamiliar with their catalog, and predisposed to not enjoy their music.

The two nights were great. They were even better because I actually grew to appreciate a band that before I had no reason to give a second glance. My band, the Arms, were on point, giving us fans a taste of the familiar while strutting their new stuff and giving me reason to place them at the top of my "most anticipated" list for the coming year. The openers were enjoyable, and most importantly didn't overstay their welcome. All three sets were pleasant lengths and there were pretty much no sound issues. I'd say catch this tour when it comes through your town, but we were the last of it.

 

 
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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 (December 11, 2005)

Dude, clams totally have a nervous system; they're just primitive as fuck. Regardless, if you're worried about the pain and suffering of clams you seriously need to come back to reality.

Anonymous (December 9, 2005)

STOP PRESS!!!STOP PRESS!!!!

colin fails to see gentle jibe.

now, do you think the "middle class punk" comment was serious? really?

FFS! quadruple LOL!

Anonymous (December 9, 2005)

27 and sad?

hahahahaha nice name colin. i'm happy as larry

read me earlier post and you will spot the tumbleweed you pushed across the desert with your 1st response

i love you colin, can i polish your glasses or are you using them?

Anonymous (December 8, 2005)

They played Mr. Coffee... last i checked that was on DUH....

Anonymous (December 8, 2005)

What a waste of great songs. I saw them in Pomona and to my dissapointment they did not play anything off of DUH. Which simply is their best record and the songs actually mean something. For shame.

Anonymous (December 8, 2005)

Ok now you boys kiss and make up... that's it... yes, little peck on the cheek there, don't be embarassed... now take off your shirts and hug... oh yeah that's the stuff... now it's a bit hot in here why don't you take these pants off as well, uh? What's that you're saying? Oh, well that depends what you mean by 'gay' you see, do you mean 'gay' as in 'butt buddies' gay or gay as in 'I'm trying to be punker than you anonymously and on a fucking internet message board' gay?

colin (December 7, 2005)

you're 27 and calling someone a middle class punk on the internet?

sorry man, that's kind of sad.

Dante3000 (December 7, 2005)

Dude can you polish my glasses? They're seriously dusty.
Slow day at work.
-Dante

Anonymous (December 7, 2005)

"commenting anonymously on the internet?

means you have, or have access to a computer. you're probably youngish. you obviously are trying to go for a quick jab. you're obviously a douche."

my name is jock, yes i have access to a computer (well done for spotting that one!), 27, yes twas a quick wind up and Dante did well not bite, no

any more colin? want me to polish your glasses?

Dante3000 (December 7, 2005)

Posted by poopypants on 2005-12-07 01:46:27

oh man some of you guys are gay

can't wait for oh calcutta

talking about dental work and punk class is so upping the punkx in 2k6 i guess. christ i turn 26 this year an no one knows it better than me.

you guys suck

paul
Wow you're awesome capitan punk rock. Oh Calcutta is another topic first off. Second, I was just explaining why I missed the Lagwagon show with my dental work as the reason (we're talking fillings and crowns, not whitening and fancy shit, just the stuff to keep them in my face).
Third, if I made a million dollars I'd totally buy this website and have Adam wax my back while Justin fed me grapes and Aubin fanned me. I'd then have Scott and Brian fight to the death for my entertainment.
Up your punks, gangsta.
-Dante

Fuzzy (December 7, 2005)

Can anyone who's seen Colossal live explain to me how they incorporate two drummers?

They use them just like they do on the album (with Neil from TLA). They play different parts, sometimes in sync, most of the time not. It's...well, it's mind numbingly awesome. I saw them do it with Steve from RXB at Gilman, it was great.

poopypants (December 7, 2005)

oh man some of you guys are gay

can't wait for oh calcutta

talking about dental work and punk class is so upping the punkx in 2k6 i guess. christ i turn 26 this year an no one knows it better than me.

you guys suck

paul

colin (December 6, 2005)

"$700 of dental work done"

middle class punk then?

commenting anonymously on the internet?

means you have, or have access to a computer. you're probably youngish. you obviously are trying to go for a quick jab. you're obviously a douche.

middle class punk then?

david_arquette (December 6, 2005)

Can anyone who's seen Colossal live explain to me how they incorporate two drummers?

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

The only feelings animals should have is the feeling of extreme warmth while being cooked on a skillet for a delicious meal!

darkstarm (December 6, 2005)

i cannot wait for the new record. end transmission.

Dante3000 (December 6, 2005)

"$700 of dental work done"

middle class punk then?
Pfftt..hahah.
Did you read the comment? $700 worth of dental work and I can't afford the $15 to see Lagwagon. Certainly not middle class.
One day maybe, but right now I'm looking at giving my family pictures of my award winning smile for christmas because real gifts cost money.
Don't get me wrong I'd love to be middle class, but I'll let ya know when I get there, I'll have a big as party.
-Dante

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

"$700 of dental work done"

middle class punk then?

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

i should add that in the 2 months i've visited this site this is by far thebest review i've read - well done

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

lawrence arms - great band - seen them twice and never been too much in between song banter.

lagwagon - can't get into them - the live version of razorburn is great but their songs have good parts and some cringe-worthy parts.

calcutta doesn't exist anymore - it's now called Kolkata

cheers
Jock

Fuzzy (December 6, 2005)

The new LA songs were all fairly fast, and full steam ahead. Chris and Brendan sing at the same time, trading off for much of the album (or so I'm told), and that's what I saw at the shows. Cut it Up is fucking awesome. They faced each other and played this great stop and go rhythm, with Neil being fantastic as always. The vocal interplay was pretty amazing.

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

Were the new LA songs fast? slow? emo? punk?

Cut It Up sounds awesome.

jamespastepunk (December 6, 2005)

The First Eviction Notice is one of the Lawrence Arms best songs.

Dante3000 (December 6, 2005)

This is off of Seth Putnams Website,
" disturbed should be playing at a comedy club, their gay midget jewbag singer
is fucking hilarious. they are probably one of the worst bands i've ever
heard in my life, and i've heard the polyphonic spree. thanks to corrosion
of conformity for getting me into the show."
So, I would say yes. That's pretty fucking rad.

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

has anyone seen anal cunt live? are they worth seeing on my birthday

ElVaquero (December 6, 2005)

Damn, Joey was hilarious at the show I went to. He and Big Bitch just traded off and heckled each other through the whole thing. We got speeches about the Shocker, Big Bitch telling us they were going to cover Freebird... the whole nine yards!

Dante3000 (December 6, 2005)

Clams have no CNS, so basically they're a veggie, like a venus fly trap with a tastey center.
Second, I was unable to attend this show after having $700 of dental work done, but damn it sounds like fun.
Though I'm glad I didn't go, because if I went I would have...wait, no I'm not, god damn it.
Good Review.
-Dante

Godfather (December 6, 2005)

it's okay to eat fish because they don't have any feelings - kurt cobain

BTown (December 6, 2005)

Was that a NOFX song? Clams have feelings?

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

"Things like clam chowder (even a vegetarian needs it)"

How can a person be a vegetarian if they are eating clam chowder, which contains clams? The last time I checked, clams are animals.

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

I went to this show on saturday. I would add the following observations to the review.
* lots of youngens at the show, no line for the bar. yeah
* the new larry arms songs are really good.
* cut it up was a killer trade off of vocals as Brendan and Chris were on opposite sides of the stage but faced each other so the audience saw more of a profile of the two.
* the sound for larry arms sucked in comparison to lagwagon, they didn't even mic up all of the drums.
* that guy who got up to sing with lagwagon sucked. I hate it when bands do this. I don't like to spend money to see some 16 year old scream 2 lines of a song and forget the rest.
* Joey seemed kind of subdued and didn't make any jokes.
* Flip has long hair now and looks like a member of canibal corpse.
* Flip advocated smoking weed instead of cigs... (same a live album)
* little Joe from RKL singing with chris for the hawaiian song.
* Jesse's family in attendance sitting in the balcony area.
* delicious slice of pep pizza right next door after the show.

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

"lets talk about feelings" is by far their best lp, i would check that out first if not a fan of lagwagon. "Blaze" and "Hoss" are great but a bit patchy.

TheOneTrueBill (December 6, 2005)

You know what, Lagwagon's always botered me a little bit too. I liked individual songs but could never get through a whole album (and at one point my cousin gave me "Blaze" and "Hoss") but the new one, what I've heard, is real good. My cousin was playing it for me when we were driving to a show and something about it stuck out. I'm going to try it out.

ElVaquero (December 6, 2005)

Great review. Add my name to the list of people that are eagerly awaiting the new album/leak.

My own experience of the show down in sunny Pomona is up here: http://taylormorris.blogspot.com/2005/11/wednesday-november-22nd- lawrence-arms.html on my nerdy little blog.

Fuzzy (December 6, 2005)

You all are lucky I remembered these two nights.

Good times, good times.

SalsaShark (December 6, 2005)

I'm fucking jealous. I wish I could have seen the Lawrence Arms and Lagwagon. Never seen Lagwagon, and they were one of the first bands to really get me into punk.

Oh well, I saw Lucero last night so things aren't all bad.

david_arquette (December 6, 2005)

is it nutty butty or nuddy buddy?

Nutty buddy, I think.

colin (December 6, 2005)

i cannot wait for oh calcutta

and i was super pissed larry arms weren't on the portland date of this tour. such a fucking great live band. the first time i saw them chris did 100 resolutions acoustic and then the rest of the band came out for the last chorus and blew the lid off the stage. fucking fantastic.

Godfather (December 6, 2005)

uh yeah, here's the score

is it nutty butty or nuddy buddy?

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

4 months to wait for the new lawrence arms album?! sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-it.

Godfather (December 6, 2005)

i wish my score was for that show

:*(

score is for the bands

and nutty butty ice cream

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

Man I can't wait for that new Larry Arms disc.

FuckYouOiOiOi (December 6, 2005)

clams have feelings too.

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

seeing Propagandhi and larry arms in the same week=priceless

Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

Have you nothing to say about the Eagle? Good god!

david_arquette (December 6, 2005)

Best punk tour of all time.

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