Andrew Jackson Jihad/Smith Street Band/Jeff Rosenstock/Chumped - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)

Andrew Jackson Jihad / Smith Street Band / Jeff Rosenstock / Chumped

live in Boston (2015)

live show

The Side One Dummy train emptied close pals, Andrew Jackson Jihad, the Smith Street Band, and Jeff Rosenstock onto the Boston streets on Saturday night in Boston, bringing Chumped (Anchorless Records) along for the party, as well.

It was early show style at the Royale, as Chumped took the stage about 5;30, to a surprisingly good sized crowd. Actually, I probably hadn't seen that many people show up for the first song of a show opener for years, let alone the fact that it was 5:30. Even in the larger sized Royale venue, the bodies were noticeably packed in on the floor. Chumped put on a quality opening set, with Anika Pyle's vocals able to wow in the live setting. Although somewhat tame, the crowd appeared to be digging the opening act as most eyes could be seen glued to the stage, while bodies showed their approval with subtle head nods.

Jeff Rosenstock and his band mates took the stage about 6:15. Rosenstock has always been someone that, for whatever reason, has stayed under my radar. Always aware of his talent, but never an artist I was drawn too, I was looking forward to getting the Jeff Rosenstock experience for this first time. To me, Rosenstock has always exuded this fun aura, even in the midst of the dark/sad lyrics his music sometimes depicts. I got the same vibe from him while watching him on stage, as he showed stage charm throughout the performance, along with a comfort and ease when interacting with the crowd. In my subjective opinion, the man just comes off likeable. Rosenstock didn't shy away from gushing over his excitement to be on tour with "his best friends" as well as his relief to not be opening for "sellout" bands. Rosenstock's performance was filled with more raucousness then I was expecting, and the crowd matched that raucous vibe they were getting from the stage. The 45 minute set was a high energy performance that looked to be appreciated by most in the crowd, including myself.

The Smith Street Band took the stage next. I was looking forward to seeing the Aussies, who had been forced to cancel their last trip to Boston (a show with Restorations) do to a family emergency. From the beginning, it sounded as if something was a little off with their sound, especially with the volume of the vocals. There just seemed to be an element lacking from Will Wagners voice. Wagner, echoed Rosenstock's sentiments throughout the set about being happy to be on tour with "best friends." Personally, I question the set list as the band curiously played "Don't Fuck With Our Dreams" in the middle of the set, which was clearly the pinnacle of the show for the fans that were gathered in front. From the subjective opinion of this concert going, the song would have been better placed as opener or closer. Personally, I could have used a little more stage presence from Wagners' cohorts as well, as there just wasn't a lot of enthusiasm coming off that stage from any member besides Wagner. As good as it was to finally see Smith St. live, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this wasn't one of their finest performances.

Headliners Andrew Jackson Jihad took the stage at about 8:00. The Sean Bonnette led Phoenix band, opened with the first two songs off of their 2011 album Knife Man, "The Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving" and "Gift of the Magi 2: Return of the Magi." This would set the theme for the evening as AJJ gave the fans a heavy does of "Knife Man" and "Christmas Island" tracks. I would say, in the most unsurprisingly move of the evening, Noted Do-Gooder (meant in the literal way of he does a lot of good) Bonnette put the kibosh on crowd surfing at any early point of the show, after he caught site of a single body being passed around the Royale.

As a person that tends to see things in gray, I can see both sides to this increasingly hot debate. I do feel its important that everyone has a chance to enjoy a show, in whatever capacity they prefer to enjoy it. On the other side - I'm not one for setting rules at shows, especially if there's a direction the collective crowd wants to take it. That being said, Its hard to argue with Bonnette's reasoning, when he simply stated, "It's only fun for the person doing it." This move by Bonnette turned at least one in the crowd against him, as a man began heckling Bonnette in between songs from the back of the Royale. Whether Bonnette couldn't hear or chose not to address the heckler is unclear, but the angry looking punk appeared to leave after he realized he was on his own with this revolt. In a more comical moment of displeasure, Bonnette reacted to a beer being thrown his way during the show with "Where am I ? Florida!"

The crowd appeared cool with taking the show in whatever direction Bonnette wanted to take it, as, for the most part, the beer throwing and crowd surfing ceased (there was a rogue surfer spotted during the encore, at the time of this publishing, he had still not been captured.) I would say the quality performance the crowd was being treated to was enough to induce the compromise between AJJ and the crowd, not to mention, they played some jams. Fans, like myself, of the Christmas Island album were treated to , "Temple Grandin," Temple of God," "I Wanna Rock Out in My Dreams," Kokopelli Face Tattoo," and "Linda Ronstadt." AJJ finished off the set by playing popular closer, "Big Bird" (off of Knife Man) to the delight of all in attendance, which to me, was the perfect ending to this show. The band came back out for an encore of Slayer cover, "South of Heaven," off of Bonnette's free cover album titled Skateboarding's Greatest Hits.

I would have to say that this particular show definitely gave this concert goer the feel of dining at the an upscale restaurant, without having to pay those upscale prices. The stage was packed with too many talented songwriters and musicians to not appreciate being in the presence of so much greatness. I'd highly recommend checking out this tour if you get a chance!