Straight Outta Junior High and special g - Live in Omaha (Cover Artwork)

Straight Outta Junior High and special g

Live in Omaha (2019)

live show

Omaha, Nebraska's signature "wunk rock" band Straight Outta Junior High stepped out of their indefinite hiatus Saturday evening to a sold-out Lookout Lounge, just long enough to deliver an hour's glimpse into the now defunct group's discography of silly, stupid, melodic punk songs.

Alongside SOJH's reuniting, three retired punk rock bands from Omaha's early 2000's dusted off their catalogues to open the show. The Cover Story zipped back into their fast Slick Shoes paced pop punk anthems, followed by a flawless set from The Fonzarellies, (a band name that has not graced PN since I was graduating high school.) Singer/Guitarist Keith Fertwagner effortlessly fronted a recap of the band's catchy style of punk and pop rock.

Quite notable was a reunion from Omaha's 8th Wave, who reintroduced their bizarre fusion of Teen Idols quality pop punk and a trumpet/trombone horn section. Singer Kris Allison issued his signature raunchy lyrics and white-gangster-dude-isms throughout terrific performances of the band's history, including "Fraidy Cat" from 2000's Take Your Pick, and "Crush A-Lot" from The Truth Hurts, released in 2001. The septet's best number of the night was easily "Lost Between the Lines" from Store Bought Punks, their third and final release in 2003. The song carries a great example of the band's success in dialing in exactly what their sound is; including simple, catchy, hooks from trumpet Steve Ahl and Trombonist Jimmy Barber, blended with guitarist Chris Crutcher's methodical guitar playing.

After a short soundcheck to make fun of the capacity audience and opening acts, SOJH jumped immediately into three numbers from 2004's Kiss of Deaf. "You're Stupid, I Hate You," "Styrofoam," and "Diver Dan" were an immediate plunge into the act during their heyday. The snarky, condescending lyrics set to quick guitar riffs and and blindingly fast drum flashes instantly transformed the Lookout Lounge attendees into a frenzy.

The band weaved around their discography, revisiting "Aerosmith" from 2006's lesser visited Six Stories EP, and "Backup Plan," Tacoland," and "Badonkadonk" from Sharknocerous. Amidst playing fan favorites like "Divas Are Skanks," "Girlfriend," and the group's rendition of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," they revisited forgotten gems in "Love Song," "Stud Without U," and "Statutory Rape" from 2001's Here's a Ray of Hope. SOJH also took a moment to grease through the rare song "Toyota Van," offering a showcase to the immaculate punk and metal fills of drummer Matt Tatroe, but the band remained sarcastic and unapologetic to their being there in between songs. Singers/Guitarists Nate Olson and Benji Johnson took turns harassing members of the crowd and laughing at their enthusiasm. 

Straight Outta Junior High aria'd back into hiatus with Kiss of Deaf's Japanese language lesson "Happy Fun Song," followed by stuffing two short songs viciously into the farewell "A Toast To The Good Times" from the band's final 2009 release, Sharknocerous