Why does summer always suck for great package club tours? Oh, shit, I totally remember...
But this year, things are different. The current tour featuring Lagwaon, the Lawrence Arms and A Wilhelm Scream is a breath of fresh air. Normally, a Sunday show would be a cause to take it easy, enjoy the bands and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Fuck that, benefit plans with sick days were made for shows like this.
I made my way to D.C. in plenty of time to get a few drinks, a great interview and plenty of time to still relax and have a good time. A Wilhelm Scream started the night off with a blazing set, comprised of material mainly from their two Nitro Records full-lengths, 2004's Mute Print and 2005's Ruiner. It was easily the best performance I've seen from them yet, and the crowd reacted the same. Constant fist-pumps and sing-alongs were witnessed the entire set for favorites like "Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks," "The Rip," "The King Is Dead," "Anchor End" and "Killing It." As an added bonus, the new single (of the same name) from the band's Jumpstart Records 7", Diver, was also peformed to an appreciative response. Full of energy and an obvious dedication, AWS are definitely a band worth checking out, regardless of the rest of the lineup. Luckily, the rest of the lineup wasn't a problem here.
The Lawrence Arms are either loved, or, well, liked. Org-core to the extreme, many of you are probably sick of hearing people cream themselves over them. Yes, hype aside, they are one of the few bands actually worthy of the praise. Great people, great albums, and one hell of a live show. This evening was no different. The band gave a great variety of songs from many of their albums, including 2 of my all-time favorites "Quincentuple Your Money" and "100 Resolutions." Other favorites included Oh! Calcutta! standouts "Great Lakes, Great Escapes," "Recovering the Opposable Thumb" and "Cut It Up." During (what I've been told) a rare performance of "Your Gravest Words," Chris busted one his guitar strings and stubbornly refused a replacement guitar until he was able to transition the performance smoothly. Maybe to some that doesn't seem like a big deal, but to those who maybe had never seen the song performed before (I really have no idea how much of a "rarity" it is), I'm sure it was greatly appreciated, and to your humble narrator, it was a subtle showing of professionalism. (I've seen less bands stop a whole fucking set for less.)
Not to be outdone, Joey Cape and company stormed the stage for the final performance of the night, and I was extremely excited. I've been listening to Lagwagon for over 10 years, and my only live experience was at that other shit I mentioned earlier. I had the honor of meeting the guys prior to the show for my interview, and I say this only out of admiration, not to brag, they were one of the nicest bands I have ever met. And their set matched that same approach, fun and good times.
They blasted off right away into material from their latest, and in my opinion greatest album Resolve. "Heartbreaking Music" and "Automatic" got the crowd into a frenzy. Other highlights included the always popular "May 16," "Violins," "Razor Burn" and "Alien 8." I particularly enjoyed Joey's creative use of a megaphone during "Runs in the Family."
To be honest, I don't remember every little detail about every set. I watched a lot of it sidestage, taking pictures and getting video, and mainly just rocking out to three amazing bands. Some of you may say "what the fuck is the point of this review?" Who knows, maybe one kid out there will read this and check the tour out, purely out of curiosity. I highly encourage you to do so. You're not gonna find a better lineup during the summer, or for that matter, any time of the year.