Sloppy Seconds - Live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Sloppy Seconds

Live in Philadelphia (2021)

live show

Midway through Sloppy Seconds’ set in Philly on Sunday, a severely drunk street punk jumped up on stage, turned around and bent over. The big surprise? He wasn’t wearing any pants, but was wearing bright red briefs. He wiggled his ass with the importance of one curing polio and then proceeded to grind on Sloppy Seconds vocalist BA. BA took it in good humor… the first time, of four, anyways. If anything, it underscored a big point that we all need to consider.

The Sloppy show was delayed nearly two years by Covid- and to BA and the boys credit, the waited it out and held to their commitment to play and, some 24 months later, came to the city of brotherly love to rock… and boy did they rock. BA sounded absolutely fantastic. His voice has that same exact twisted naiveite and tambre heard on the band’s classic albums. He sounded GREAT. Likewise, Ace Hardware shreds with the best of them and Boba Jam and Steve Sloppy were tight as hell- as chaotic and shambolic as the band likes to be perceived, when it comes to musicianship, they know that pop-punk hits the hardest when the band isn’t fucking around and they were not fucking around… even though they were having a lot of fun. BA still wears pounds and pounds and gold, the band likes to imbibe their fair share during the set, and the whole show had a sort of care free cadence.

Most of the tracks were taken from the iconic Destroyed. A super charged “Horror of Party Beach” was especially hard hitting. “Come back, Tracy” was delivered more in its studio, with the am pop melody really cutting through the crowd discord. Other later day cuts were given a nice ride too. “You can’t kill Joey Ramone” was a big crowd pleaser and “You’ve got a great body, but your record collection sucks” was a nice knuckleball.

Frankly, the band delivered the exact set you want from Slopy Seconds- a lot of the whammers, a few deeper cuts, and a little- but not too much- banter here and there. As much as the band likes to portray themselves as blockheads or numbskulls, they sure do wield this doofus blade with surprising effectiveness and humor… Rarely does the smartest guy in the room say he’s the smartest guy in the room, right?

Before Sloppy Seconds, Philly’s own Battalion Zoska smashed through a 30 minute set. While the band started out as a harder street punk-ish band, they’ve been writing during quarantine and they debuted a bunch of new songs. Surprisingly, the new ones might still be “street punk,” if you’re a purist, by the stand right on the line of hardcore, too. That’s a good thing because the band really slams it forward and the extra speed and power raises them above other similar minded bands. The real heavy hitter was a track from an upcoming single and they also took a few moments to briefly address the political atmosphere. Street punk and its cousins is often presented as simplifying complex issues, but if anything, the BZ gang are delivering thesis discussion as supported by very loud guitars.

The show opened with The Parasitix… or should I say, “The Parasitix.” The band was down two members, but forged ahead as a three-piece. The set was short and chaotic- and that’s just fine. While both Sloppy and BZ came to do damage with a professional tightness, punk can be about discombobulation and willpower, too. Despite their diminished numbers (I believe the regular vocalist was absent) the band give it the ol’ three-chord try and in that struggle, they came out the winners.

And it sure seemed like the audience, after being cooped up for nearly two years, was ready to boogie. Some people wore masks, some didn’t. There was a fair amount of moshing and some crowd surfing. One drunk crowd surfer went topsy turvy he nailed the ceiling fan with his boots and almost brought it down. In a normal scenario, I’m all for the (relatively safe) mania of a punk show. But, in the covid era, are we all handling this as safely as possible, or are we just being reckless? I don’t know, but we’ll find out either way. Even so, the show proved that no matter the microorganisms creeping around, art is alive and well, be it solemn and angry, like Battalion Zoska, or wacky and wild and maybe not-quite-as-knuckleheaded-as-it-appears like the fantastic Sloppy Seconds.