The Broadways - Broken Van (Cover Artwork)

The Broadways

The Broadways: Broken VanBroken Van (2001)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

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

Every once in a while, a band comes along that changes the way people look at music within their genre. In the early nineties, a band known as Slapstick formed in Chicago. They put out a few 7"s, some compilation tracks, and one full-length CD, and abruptly broke up as they seemed to be reaching t.
iTunes StoreAmazon

Every once in a while, a band comes along that changes the way people look at music within their genre. In the early nineties, a band known as Slapstick formed in Chicago. They put out a few 7"s, some compilation tracks, and one full-length CD, and abruptly broke up as they seemed to be reaching the peak of their success. They then reunited on a cold November day in 1996 for one show, and the kids turned out in droves. I was not there, but many friends told me how the tiny Fireside Bowl was about ready to explode, and observer estimates have put the crowd between 800-1000 people. For those of you who have not ever had the pleasure of being to a Fireside Bowl show, this is a *lot* of people. Slapstick's legacy seemed to grow exponentially from their break-up to their one-night-only reunion. People realized that not since Operation Ivy had such a potent combination of ska-punk mayhem, well played instruments and excellent lyricism been existent in any band. Slapstick had turned into local legends of sorts, spreading their sound across many a state and influencing countless imitators. So what does any of this have to do with the Broadways and the Lawrence Arms? I'm getting to that.

The Broadways were one of a handful of bands that formed out of the ashes of Slapstick, along with bands like Tuesday, and later the Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, and The Honor System. They were immediately tagged with the "ex-Slapstick" moniker, but at that time, who wouldn't want that? Even though the Broadways and Tuesday did not necessarily sound like Slapstick [especially Tuesday], old Slapstick fans turned out in droves to see what their favorite musicians were up to nowadays. The Broadways were in no way a bad band. They had the "punk rock" ferocity, and Brendan sang, giving it that throaty, shouted quality which was part of Slapstick's uniqueness. But, conversely, the Broadways were never a really good band. I mean, I own their complete discography, but it's not like they were amazing. This makes one wonder -- do we really need a full album of rarities and unreleased tracks? Well, if you're a fan, you'll enjoy this. It is as classic as Broadways material can get, and it shows that they could have kept the band going for at least a little bit longer producing the same material that they had been producing. But if you are just a casual listener, there is no real need to own this. The Broadways were not around long enough to really produce a legacy that needs carrying on. So that is where the Lawrence Arms come in.

The Lawrence Arms have only been around a little more than a year, but "Ghost Stories" is already their second full length album. This band really seems to be more of a refined Broadways, since it contains Chris and Brendan from the aforementioned group. Since Brendan sings and writes the majority of the songs, it's hard to distinguish between bands, except for the drumming provided by ex-Baxter drummer Neil. He is more than a step up from the Broadways' Rob, as he really adds a deeper dimension to the band by providing more than just bass/snare-bass/snare beats. The Lawrence Arms seem to have what it takes to last for a while and build the reputation that the Broadways worked for and that Slapstick gained post-mortum. The only problem is that nasty "ex-Slapstick" term.

The "ex-Slapstick" title is still thrown at bands now, like The Honor System and The Lawrence Arms, either by kids trying to promote an otherwise lackluster show or the band's label, desperate for more sales. Some bands, like the Alkaline Trio, have produced consistently well done music to outgrow their previous endeavors and develop a very strong name for themselves. Others, like The Honor System, need it to help them get off the ground and get their proverbial foot into the listener's door, even if they sound nothing like Slapstick and frankly are not all that good anyways. The Broadways and the Lawrence Arms fall somewhere in between. The Broadways, being direct descendents to the Slapstick name, deserved to wear it as a badge of honor and to let kids know that there is a life after a successful band. The Lawrence Arms seem to be trying to move on past Slapstick [and Baxter, for that matter] by cranking out a glut of well-done material to make people take notice. The final choice comes down to the listener: do you want to forever refer to Slapstick for what is okay to listen to?
[taken from a different kind of greatness webzine]


People who liked this also liked:
The Broadways - Broken StarThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Lawrence Arms - Cocktails And DreamsAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireThe Lawrence Arms - Ghost StoriesThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Mr_Seebach (April 7, 2007)

this review is atrocious. i never think ex-Slapstick when i think of TLA. TLA are just too good to think that way. the score is for the review.

Anonymous (June 17, 2006)

Oh, my world. It is ok

Anonymous (June 15, 2006)

Oh, my world. It is ok

Anonymous (January 5, 2005)

man you guys are kind of going apeshit on this guy. i love the broadways a shitload aswell but i do agree with him on a few things. i do think the lyrics are absolutely amazing though, the most inspirational i've heard in a long long time. they definately actually made a good point in their music instead of just saying the government is stupid like anti-flag does. no offense to anti-flag. i love those guys too.

maverick (December 14, 2004)

I hate this review and wish I never would have written it.


Anonymous (August 1, 2004)

man, how could anyone think that the broadways weren't an incredible band? they were so much better than slapstick (who were actually not all that exciting). the drumming is definitely way better and more interesting than the lawrence arms, and the songs overall are much better, too. the only good thing about them breaking up is that the honor system are even better than the broadways.

Anonymous (May 17, 2004)

From a drummer's point of view, (been playing for 15 years) Rob's drumming far outshines Neil's playing. I saw the Broadways play numerous times and was always blown away by their energy. This review sucked, the Broadways were a great band and personally think they were much better than the Lawrence Arms. Buy their albums, you won't be disappointed.

CrookedSuperhero (March 7, 2004)

Is this review a joke?

Firstly, before you start writing get your facts straight,maybe write them down on paper, or even an organiser if can afford one. Here is the things you got wrong for future reference:

1. Brenden Kelly was definetly not the only singer in the broadways, as it is quite clear that both the other front men sang songs to, with Dan Hanaway only singing one or two less than Brenden, so you could barely call him the lead singer, never mind the only one.

2. Broken Van was not just a collection of rariteys, as it featured 7 new songs, while giving people who hadn't managed to get 'We all know you can do it, and 'Big city life' before they went out of print (although big city is still in 7" form as asian man), the chance to here the amazing songs of there as well.

3.You've got the wrong picture for the album, which is forgivable, but if you are critising the album you could check before you post it.

4. Rob (Drummer) was a fantasic drummer, and is actually just as good, and probably better, than Neil from the Lawrence arms.

5.The honor system first album, single file, and ep, 100% syntetic, were really good, but new album, rise and run, I would agree that it isn't the best album in the world. But while the lawrence arms first album wasn't amazing, ghost stories and apathy were just as good as the broadways, there new album, the greatest story ever told is better than the broadways.

6. All the bands following slapstick (besides tuesday, who were all right) have been better than them.

Now a real review of this cd would be:

This is an amazing album by an amazing band. With Chris (Guitar,Vocals) songs fast becoming better than Brendans and Dans, it adds a faster approach to the album with '2nd grade cells' being one of the best songs this band has ever written.
Although I think that Dans songs on 'Broken Star' were amazing, this album seems to lack the stormers like 'we'll have a party' on 'Broken star'. Older songs by him 'Rainy day' and 'What happened' are very weak, but 'Dropjaw', 'Not...news' and the fantastic 'This routine' shine through.

Which leaves me with Brendans songs. Out of the new songs, his 'floundering' and 'It was in pancho village' are two of the best, while his old songs never seem to get old.

There isn't much to say about Rob, other than he is a particulary strong drummer.

Overall, this album is fantastic, I would say definetly as good as Broken star. Go buy it. Now.

Anonymous (August 11, 2003)

Amazing band. This review is complete bullshit. Buy Broken Star, that's all that needs to be said.

Anonymous (July 12, 2003)

What in the HELL is this? seriously? I know he didn't just put the Broadways down or anything, but I'm listening to "Broken Star" for my first time right now, and I'm fucking BLOWN away. It's listening to albums like this that make you feel bad for people that only listen to that shit on the radio and don't bother branching out.

"But, conversely, the Broadways were never a really good band."

screw that. They are better than 90% of the bands out there today.

Anonymous (May 18, 2003)

Are you crazy, homes? The Boradways drummer was much better.

Anonymous (April 26, 2003)

it says broken van, but has a picture of brokenstar

harg (March 31, 2002)

a sound recording

Anonymous (March 10, 2002)

fuck were the broadways amazing. i've had both "broken star" and "broken van" for quite some time but they still give me chills each and every time i listen to them, every song is a favorite and can't be skipped over. they made every song unique. its unfortunate that this incredible, and incredibly underrated, band is no longer together. yet the Lawrence Arms are excellent themselves.
*Vladimir Hubitcherkokov*

Anonymous (January 23, 2002)

the broadways drummer was an excellent drummer...far better in my opinion than lawrence arms'. however, both bands rock. i love the broadways, but find lawrence arms a little meager in comparison.

maverick (January 12, 2002)

I didn't think I badmouthed them. Please tell me how I did.

Anonymous (November 22, 2001)

hey dumbass the broadways and the lawrence arms are good. You are a piece of shit for bad mouthing such talented artists. So instead of writing such godforsakin shit, you should go back to listening to you favorite bands like: blink 182 and sum 41

i hope you die soon bitch

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go