My last foray into journalism was in 1996 when I wrote a review of a Fugazi show that was published in my college newspaper. Since then, I have become a junior high teacher, got married, had a son, played in numerous bands and have seen hundreds of bands live yet I still feel a great bond with the punk community and culture. This last Saturday, September 9 at the legendary Triple Rock in Minneapolis, I solidified my belief that music can change lives like nothing else known to mankind.
After the sketchy 2-hour drive to the Triple Rock, I was delighted to walk into the Rock and see Brendan Kelly and Jason Black sitting at the bar having some quick eats and a few drinks. The rest of the bands all started showing up soon after and gave hugs and exchanged stories as this was the first night of the tour. Not wanting to break up their reunions, I talked to Erik and Billy from Dillinger Four who were bartending and asked about the new D4 album. Sadly, they said they haven't been in the studio yet but were hoping to start recording early this winter.
As I caught up with an old friend, Bullets to Broadway were starting their set. They were very energetic and left me with a more punk Dance Hall Crashers vibe. The female bassist pulled off some great vocals opposite the male frontman. I was definitely bobbing my head at the end of their short set.
Next up was the Blackout Pact. I had read some good things about these guys but was honestly a little disappointed in their set. They are great musicians but the constant harmonics and metal-tinged riffs did not do much for me. Having not heard them before, I definitely had different expectations.
I would however say that the Draft did not disappoint. This is surely their breakout tour. There is no doubt in my mind that despite all their history in HWM, the Draft is about to make a huge name for themselves -- not as a side project, but as a hugely respected band in their own right. I was surprised at how many kids knew the lyrics, as in every single one, to every single song. The amount of energy from the crowd was fueled on by Chris Wollard and Jason Black as they played every single note with passion. The 8-song set was obviously very HWM influenced, but with a much poppier rock and roll aesthetic.
This was my second time seeing the Arms and I was eagerly awaiting the new songs live. Their set consisted mainly of material from Oh! Calcutta! with a few choice songs from their earlier stuff. The whole band seemed to be in top form. They played with a ton of energy and were extremely tight. It was interesting to see the place nearly sold out with parents, older punks and kids (literally -- there was a 3-year-old boy running back and forth across the stage for 2 songs) enjoying their set. Testament to their growing popularity, about a year ago they played at the Triple Rock to 200 kids at most.
A great time was had by all. Chris and Brendan were swarmed by kids after the show and they did take the time to talk to all of them. It has often been said that punk breaks down the walls between fans and musicians and this was demonstrated at this show. On the way out, I passed by Jason Black and Chris McCaughan outside talking with some people and as they looked up at me walking by I told them I loved the new songs and good luck with the tour. Jason said "Thanks, I appreciate it!"
No attitudes, no pretension, just great guys.
- Cut It Up
- Great Lakes / Great Escapes
- The Devil's Takin' Names
- 100 Resolutions
- On with the Show
- Recovering the Opposable Thumb
- Porno and Snuff Films
- Northside, the L+L and Any Number of Crappy Apartments
- Like a Record Player