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The Lawrence Arms / Chuck Ragan

The Lawrence Arms / Chuck Ragan: live in Cambridgelive in Cambridge (2006)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: musical-monkeymusical-monkey
(others by this writer | submit your own)

First, let me explain that this review will most likely end up being extremely biased. Ever since I purchased the Lawrence Arms' near masterpiece, The Greatest Story Ever Told, on a total whim back in late 2003, they have been one of my favorite bands. Their new stuff, their old stuff, even their B-.


First, let me explain that this review will most likely end up being extremely biased. Ever since I purchased the Lawrence Arms' near masterpiece, The Greatest Story Ever Told, on a total whim back in late 2003, they have been one of my favorite bands. Their new stuff, their old stuff, even their B-sides, are all considered fantastic in my book. After waiting nearly three years to see them live, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas when I found out they were coming to my area. I should also probably mention that I freakin' love Hot Water Music and never got to see them before they broke up. I mention this because Chuck Ragan, the ex-lead singer of HWM, opened up the Lawrence Arms' sold out show at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA.

My friend and I strolled into the venue right as Chuck Ragan began strumming the chords of his first song. For roughly the next 30 minutes, the audience was captivated by Ragan's gruff yet somehow soothing voice that we have all come to love, which fit in perfectly with his newfound acoustic stylings. Throwing in the occasional harmonica solo for good measure, Ragan was able to demonstrate that even though he has left the punk rock scene behind, he can still musically excel while experimenting with new and different songwriting styles. The audience went wild for his set and and you could tell that he was clearly enjoying himself up on stage.

After Ragan's set, the three rambling boys of pleasure, the Lawrence Arms, hopped on stage in order to set up their equipment. They got everything ready, while somehow increasing the already ridiculously high anticipation level of the audience, and then strolled off before the set. At around 10:30, the Larry Arms made their way back to the stage (or in singer/guitarist Brendan Kelly's case, stumbled) and rocked the crowd senseless for an hour straight. The band threw in tracks from their newest album, Oh! Calcutta!, such as "The Devil's Takin' Names" and "Great Lakes / Great Escapes", as well as plenty of songs from their old titles, such as "Turnstyles" and "Chapter 13: The Hero Appears." Despite extreme intoxication on the part of Brendan Kelly, the group was as tight as they were on record. Neil Hennessey pounded his drum set into submission during the hour-long set and the two frontmen not only fully delivered on their guitar and vocal parts, but infused some patented Lawrence Arms (witty) banter in between songs.

The audience ate up every note the group emitted from their equipment, especially going off during songs such as "Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God" and "Brickwall Views." The band ended their set with "Like a Record Player" while audience members dove off the tiny stage, happy that the group didn't waste time with some phony encore. When it was all over at around 11:30, it was clear that the Lawrence Arms are just three friends playing music that they love, and that is something that was clearly evident to all of those in the audience singing along and having a blast throughout the night. They may not be the biggest band in the world, or even in the punk rock scene, but great records and a solid live show are the only things you can ever really ask for from a band, and the Lawrence Arms certainly deliver just that.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
None More Black - This Is SatireOperation Ivy - Operation IvyWeezer - PinkertonAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireSundowner - Four One Five TwoAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Alkaline Trio - Alkaline TrioThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldPropagandhi - Less Talk, More Rock

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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.
big-man13 (June 4, 2009)

I've come to love chuck ragan's music, i read something in their about him leaving punk behind... well if you think about it he really didn't. when it comes down to it folk/bluegrass is just punk played slower.

mike_litt69 (March 17, 2007)

it is ridiculous how much i am dying to see the lawrence arms. last time they were in my area i saw the bouncing souls the night before and my bitch ass mom wouldnt let me stay out two nights in a row.

Anonymous (November 20, 2006)

blah blah blah

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

caught this in Chicago, and it was awesome. great sets from both chuck and the arms. missed MTS though, unfortunately.
anyway, awesome.

yup.

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

this was a great show.

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

The only bands which should be allowed to have their live show reviewed 4 times a years are bands like Propagandhi who tour irregularly.

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

brandan is a dick, who loves ska. i think he rapes as well....not to sure?!?!?

ilikepunkrock (November 14, 2006)

JOEG I have submitted 2 or 3 reviews of bands that have not been reviewed and neither have been posted. I'm not even sure I want them posted though, actually I do want the Virus Nine review posted. I was going to write an Exploding Hearts review but I can't figure out how to write it to give them justice. I'm sure there are hundreds and hundreds of punk rock reviews (not hardcore/screamo shit) that could be posted they just wont do it.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

Greatest story was a piece of shit and Brendan Kelley is a homosexual.

ILOVESCOTT (November 14, 2006)

joeg, the reason i complained is because posting a show review of the same band every couple weeks is overkill. honestly, i don't even read show reviews that much (i think they are kind of pointless). i just think that there could be more space to cover new music not a band that 90% of this site already listens to. i know i'm no good at writing reviews (i've honestly tried, it just doesn't work), so i stick to submitting articles. but even with articles, just because you submit it doesn't mean it'll get posted.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

Yeah goddammit! He plays bass! Your a huge fan? (elipses)

DaveSanta01 (November 14, 2006)

In chicago they played for an hour and a half, As an encore, they did six songs. One of which was 106 South, while a kid from the audience played drums. Fucing amazing.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

i had to leave before the lawrence arms' encore in chicago to catch a train. what songs did i miss?

skolarx (November 14, 2006)

i'm still kind of bummed with myself for missing this show last friday. after getting tattooed i didn't feel like heading the 4 miles over to the venue and i ended up just going home. hopefully check tours again soon (and if it was with the line up for that rva show i could die happy)

consolationprizefighter (November 14, 2006)

Yeah now that I searched TLA reviews, 10 show reviews in one year is a little extreme.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

ignorant comment of the day coming up............................................................... ......i'll take multiple lawrence arms reviews over the slew of shitty no name no talent ass clown bands that have appeared the last few days. there i said it. bring it bitches!

joeg (November 14, 2006)

i'm starting to get tired of all the lawrence arms reviews too and i've stopped reading them. but i say if you're sick of it, then do something about it and start submitting your own show reviews.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

Ok, I love TLA just as much as the next 'orger, but please, enough reviews. What about some Bronx reviews? We haven't got any...

teebor (November 14, 2006)

In covington, chuck played cursing concrete and three other rumbleseat songs. larry arms did an encore which included salt n peppas Push it and a misfits cover to end it. amazing show!

kirbypuckett (November 14, 2006)

They played "Push It" by Salt 'n Peppa in Pittsburgh the other night.

The show ruled.

- Kirby

minus_20_scene_points (November 14, 2006)

the chicago show ranks as one of the best i've seen by TLA. i'm pissed i missed chuck though.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

Fuck you, it doesnt matter how you spell it. Go listen to P!atd you fucking emo faggot.

dumbloserme (November 14, 2006)

I was also here, great show. The second band of the night, American Princes, were pretty good too.

Just to add to the reviewing experience, a few great quality videos from this show popped up on google.


Lawrence Arms doing "The Devil's Takin Names" and "Great Lakes / Great Escapes"


Chuck Ragan "Its What You Will"

Chuck Ragan "The Boat"

musical-monkey (November 14, 2006)

jesus christ, you guys will complain about anything.

person below me, it's ridiculous, not rediciulous.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

These guys fucking suck I went to this show because everyone on this fucking retard site talks about how good this band is. They are not completely horrible but they're not near as good as all these lawrence arm fanboys say they are. fucking god damn rediculous

sickboi (November 14, 2006)

One more thing, someone get Chuck to play "Cursing Concrete". We tried at the Richmond show, but to no avail. Though we had Tim Barry. Get it? It's a pun you assholes...

sickboi (November 14, 2006)

Seeing Chuck is an experience. When he plays his slower, folky songs, you get a new kinda vibe from what he's going for musically. However, when he blasts in one of his more uptempo songs, it's like HWM all over again.

SuperRad (November 14, 2006)

Yeah, TLA, good show, we know, because we've all been to one. So who f'n cares? Seriously, who read this?

ILOVESCOTT (November 14, 2006)

enough with the lawrence arms reviews, there is SO much more out there to review.

dialoguefromamovie (November 14, 2006)

in detroit chuck ragan played "bleeder" by request, which i found surprising, but it was fun to sing-along.

-dave.

Anonymous (November 14, 2006)

This show was amazing in Chicago. The Arms played for two hours, including 106 South with a kid from the audience on drums while Neil sang.

aahhhh (November 14, 2006)

i was there. good show.

consolationprizefighter (November 14, 2006)

Ha, I'm not sure. I go to college in NH so it cost me 40 bucks round trip to get to Cambridge and everything. I actually came for the No Trigger, Fifth Hour Hero, NMDS show the day before and decided to skip all my classes and stay for TLA on Monday when I found out about it. Cost me a lot more money than I was prepared to spend for the whole experience. Worth every cent, but kinda puts a damper on my going to shows in the near future. But who knows, it's just money. Who's their support?

sXenester (November 14, 2006)

I had my Bouncing Souls "True Believer" jacket and I think maybe a Street Dogs shirt on. Next to the asian chick that kept getting crushed. That was my first Larry Arms show, fucking amazing.

Going to the Draft on Dec 3?

consolationprizefighter (November 14, 2006)

"I hopped onstage for Record Player, nabbed the setlist, sang into McCaughn's mic, and dove into the crowd."

In that case I saw you, I was up front the whole set.

Score's for them playing An Evening Of Extraordinary Circumstance.

ilikepunkrock (November 14, 2006)

Stop reviewing Lawrence Arms shows, they aren't even that great.

sXenester (November 14, 2006)

Salsa, which show was this? Larry Arms are amazing fun.

The Draft's playing the Middle East Upstairs Dec. 3. Same night as the Newbury Comics christmas party, which is usually legendary, at the Roxy. Me and a coworker (she actually has a HWM tat) are trying to figure out how to get to both. Another friend had the same dilemma last year with AM! playing in Lynn. She chose the party.

salsashark (November 14, 2006)

"I hopped onstage for Record Player, nabbed the setlist, sang into McCaughn's mic, and dove into the crowd.

I talked to Chris after and he goes "hey, I saw you onstage!"

Such cool dudes."

Wow, we both did the near-exact same things. I did all of that except for the dive into the crowd. Chris is really fucking cool.

strangenotes (November 14, 2006)

"Ragan was able to demonstrate that even though he has left the punk rock scene behind, he can still musically excel while experimenting with new and different songwriting styles."

L-O-L.

This dude was definately the most boring and contrived act I've seen all year. By the book "folk rock," especially with the harmonica solos, with terrible lyrics and topic matters. It might be from the heart, but that doesn't mean it's not cliche. Unions, living FREE, working hard, etc etc etc.

As a solo artist, wouldn't it be demeaning to your own work to try to sum yourself up with lyrics on a t-shirt? I would feel like an asshole dragging around a bunch of shirts with my name on it. Whatever.

sXenester (November 14, 2006)

I hopped onstage for Record Player, nabbed the setlist, sang into McCaughn's mic, and dove into the crowd.

I talked to Chris after and he goes "hey, I saw you onstage!"

Such cool dudes.

skaboom (November 14, 2006)

Not to nitpick, but Kelly plays bass, not guitar.

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