Pkew Pkew Pkew - Live in Denver (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Pkew Pkew Pkew

Live in Denver (2019)

live show

It was St. Patrick’s Day, of all days, when Pkew Pkew Pkew blew into town. I was a big fan of their self-titled first album, while their second one, Optimal Lifestyles, took a little longer to grow on me. What I loved about the first album was that it was, as I described in my end of the year list a few years back, a Seinfeldian album about nothing. There’s a whole song about pregaming. There’s an entire song about ordering a pizza. Not even about the concept of pizza in general, just about ordering the pizza. Optimal Lifestyles has a lot of songs that go a lot deeper than that, which I admit is a sign of growth and something I should be praising them for, but I just loved that micro level of the first album. Still, though, Optimal Lifestyles does have a song about a crappy motel they stayed at on tour (“The Polynesian”), and a song called “I Wanna See a Wolf” which, unsurprisingly, is literally about wanting to see a wolf. So that Seinfeldian punk style isn’t entirely gone on their second album.

The venue was called Streets of London Pub, which is a fun little spot for very small and intimate shows. I brought my best friend along, but it was a Sunday night and she had partied too hard the rest of the weekend, and she peaced out before even the opener got on. I even ran into a former Punknews staffer who also skipped out before the opening bands even took the stage, so I was on my own for this one. There were a couple of local opening acts that weren’t really that notable, other than one that was two members of a local act, The Gamits, who, amongst other songs, covered Culture Abuse’s “California Speedball” and something from Teenage Bottlerocket. Overall, unremarkable openers.

Then came Pkew Pkew Pkew, and I have to say that they’re one of the most enthusiastic bands I’ve ever seen live. This is one of the reasons that I love their micro level songs so much because, even when performing songs about nothing like “Asshole Pandemic” and “Before We Go Out Drinking” (the latter of which turned into a cover of “Summer of 69”) they did it with the same enthusiasm as if they were The Clash singing “White Riot.” This was a punk band that The Ramones would have been proud of, with their anthems about having fun that are played with an explosive punk energy. Bassist Emmett O’Reilly showed the most manic energy, barely able to contain himself and continue playing and singing as he bounced around with fire and fury, feeding off the roaring crowd. This was one of the most absolute high energy shows I have ever seen, and I highly recommend checking this band out.