The Loved Ones - Live in San Francisco (Cover Artwork)

The Loved Ones

Live in San Francisco (2016)

live show

Maybe it was the bus loads of football fans or echoes of Metallica’s pre-Super Bowl show flooding the streets of the Mission District of San Francisco, but the walk to Bottom of the Hill had a pre-show feeling of anticipation that I hadn’t felt in years. Maybe it was relief that I was approaching a completely football unrelated event after witnessing my city drown in a sea of Peyton jerseys and Bud Light , -or maybe it was the fact that this was my first time seeing The Loved Ones.

Part of the anticipation was the uncertainty of how this show would play out. Would The Loved Ones still be good? Would they live up to the expectations I had created around them after years of listening to them? Would the newly reformed five piece make the songs sound cohesive while still conveying the explosive energy that made Keep Your Heart a classic punk record still relevant a decade later?

That cloud of uncertainty was blown away the second the band exploded into “Breathe In.” Freed from his duties as a guitarist, lead singer Dave Hause commandeered the stage with a relaxed confidence and a big fucking wizard stick. Years of touring under his own name seemed to have given him a new level of confidence as band frontman. He still has the same urgency as he did on any of his earlier recordings, but less of a forced desperation. Basically he’s just a better singer than he was 10 years ago and “Suture Self” and “Hurry Up and Wait” showcased this the most.

I was impressed how on point guitarists David Walsh and Chris Gonzalez were, especially since neither of them were part of the band at the time Keep Your Heart was recorded. It was also just good seeing the two of them on stage together, as they were the guitarists for one of my favorite bands, The Explosion, before jumping ship and joining Hause & Co. in the Loved Ones. And holy shit, the band nailed it -- not a single vocal harmony, octave lead or riff was left out, even moments on the record that were definitely over-dubbed. My personal favorite, “The Odds,” has SO much going in its final chorus -- guitar leads, lead vocal line with a completely independent background vocal line, crazy bass lines, dizzying drum fills -- it could all sound like garbage if even one of those things wasn’t on point. Not only was it perfect, but it looked as if they had never stopped playing at all. The energy onstage that night was that of a band in the midst of realizing a new world of potential whilst recognizing their accomplishments in the eyes of their fans.

I don’t subscribe much to the idea that age is guaranteed to dull ones musical potency or legitimacy. One time The Buzzcocks played one of the loudest, most energetic sets I’ve ever seen in my life and those guys are almost fucking 60. But as individual and community values evolve, sometimes the music that got you through one stage of your life doesn’t always will hold up into a different one. And even though a lot of it won’t, The Loved Ones at least proved that Keep Your Heart is still fresh and ready for another decade of love, loss, despair and redemption -- a good place to start whenever they ever decide to make their triumphant return. 


-Not only did the Loved Ones play Keep You Heart in its entirety, but they also played all the songs off of their self-titled EP, including a full-band rendition of “Drastic.”

ToyGuitar is awesome. Guitarist/ lead vocalist Jack Dalrymple writes some of the best tunes in the industry, With a One Man Army reunion sadly off the table, ToyGuitar was a the perfect choice for local support.

-Like any good punk show, it wouldn’t be complete without a run of technical difficulties, which were focused almost exclusively on Broadway Calls. Broken kick drums, buzzy monitors -- one of those sets you try not to panic while the crowd anxiously waits for you to start playing. Way to take one for the team guys.

-Speaking of Broadway Calls, I was hoping to hear some new material from Ty and the gang, but it wasn’t in the cards.