The Menzingers / Jeff Rosenstock - Live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Menzingers / Jeff Rosenstock

Live in Boston (2017)

live show

It’s amazing to have watched the Menzingers grow from a band that had a small gathering of onlookers watching their set at The Fest in 2007 at the 1982 venue (including yours truly and a fellow ex-Punknews editor up front yelling along to songs from that year’s A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology), to one whose crowds have gotten a little bigger there, selling out fairly large venues across the country and, most recently, making a late night basic cable television appearance.

Their latest headlining tour and first in support of their brand new, great album After the Party, had them take out fellow punk Jeff Rosenstock and power-pop/modern emo act Rozwell Kid. It was a very sensible package, more musically logical than their last tour I saw them on with the delightfully disparate mewithoutYou, Pianos Become the Teeth, and Restorations (was that a good one, putting together three of my favorite past and present acts). Boston, a frequently named locale of their songs, was the penultimate stop of the whole tour, with Menzingers co-frontman Greg Barnett smiling in mentioning how “everyone knows the second-to-last night of tour is party night.” They also sold this 1000-cap venue out in advance; one has to wonder if House of Blues spaces are next.

I missed Rozwell Kid, unfortunately, with Jeff Rosenstock and his band prepping to go on for a rousing 49-minute set that the crowd fully ate up. I mention up there watching the Menzingers grow, but it’s also great to see Rosenstock amass such a sizable and dedicated following. I first knew him as the singer and guitarist for the spazzy, experimental ska-punks the Arrogant Sons of Bitches from attending local punk shows on Long Island from 2000 to 2003. When I went away to college, he had launched Bomb the Music Industry! and quickly became known, as his PA intro here proclaimed him, “the king of DIY.” Indeed, there was a special April Fools’ intro for Rosenstock and his band that mentioned it, self-deprecatingly or not. Certainly not everything about them is serious: Rosenstock was wearing a sleeveless tee with a weed leaf on it that said VEGETARIAN, and the band had an American flag backdrop -- except there were rainbow stripes in place of the reds and whites, and “666” with another weed leaf in the black-colored canton. Again, though, what a reaction--for just about the entirety of the set, there was a massive pit, crowd-surfing, and lots of singing along. It felt like I was transported to The Fest, really. The band fed back the energy with jubilance (and some silly banter in between songs), from the ska fun of “Rainbow” to when Rosenstock left the stage during closer “You, In Weird Cities” with his saxophone, getting up on a table in the back of the venue to solo away. They got in most of Rosenstock’s well-received 2016 album, WORRY., and a couple older ones for good measure. It was a hell of a warmup for the Menzingers, so much so that I wondered if they could even top it.

Set list (7:13-8:02):

  1. We Begged 2 Explode

  2. Pash Rash

  3. Wave Goodnight to Me

  4. Staring Out the Window at Your Old Apartment


  5. Festival Song


  6. I Did Something Weird Last Night

  7. Hey Allison!

  8. 80’s Through the 50’s

  9. Rainbow


  10. Nausea

  11. Hellllhoooole

  12. ...While You’re Alive

  13. Perfect Sound Whatever

  14. You, In Weird Cities

The Menzingers were certainly subdued by nature, but have this live thing down after years of steady touring with a pretty professional show. The response was far and wide across the floor with a sea of shoving and jumping bodies, singing along to most of their anthems loudly and some climbing on top of each other. They came out to the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” (much to the delight of the crowd) and casually dove right into “Tellin’ Lies”, the opener off their new album, After the Party. They proceeded to play a fine mix of their three most recent albums; it would have been nice to hear an older cut, but that they pulled from their three most uniform albums in sound gave the set about as linear and cohesive a feel as it could get.

The venue had a curfew of 9:30 as the band hurriedly got on stage a little bit after their 8:15 scheduled start time, but managed to get in a full set that included newer cuts like the fantastic single “Lookers” (one of the best choruses the band has written, though Greg Barnett certainly couldn’t quite hit those high notes live), the wonderfully urgent “After the Party”, and “Your Wild Years”, which Barnett said he’d been waiting to play in Boston all tour (given the city’s mentioning in the chorus, of course). “Gates” was naturally an emotional highlight towards the end, while more raucous anthems like “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” and “Irish Goodbyes” (from the Run for Cover Records Mixed Signals compilation) really got the crowd going, as much as they seemed to dig those more melancholic cuts like “Gates”, “Mexican Guitars” and “Casey” (probably the three non-After the Party highlights for me).

Set list (8:21-9:24):

  1. Tellin’ Lies

  2. I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore

  3. Nice Things

  4. Mexican Guitars


  5. Thick as Thieves

  6. Good Things

  7. Burn After Writing


  8. Midwestern States

  9. Irish Goodbyes

  10. Rodent

  11. My Friend Kyle

  12. After the Party

  13. House on Fire

  14. The Obituaries

  15. Ava House


  16. Your Wild Years

  17. Gates

  18. Bad Catholics

    Encore (9:26-9:37):

  19. Lookers

  20. Casey


  21. In Remission