The Punknews.org tour rolled into my neck of the woods and
I was fortunate enough to catch more than one show. This review is a
compilation of what I saw.
Straight Outta Junior High was the opener on the stops I saw. These guys were hilarious, and they put on a terrific show to boot. Good times all around. Although they have songs "about lesbians" and one that's entirely comprised of Japanese words, they were original enough to grab my attention. I've heard people bring up comparisons to Nerf Herder, and I'd say their antics onstage made me think of old school Blink. Genuinely funny, not overdone. Their sets were a breath of fresh air for those of us who are used to seeing bands take themselves way too seriously. I'd give them a 7. If they come to your town, check them out for a guaranteed good time.
I've seen Before I Go, a band hailing from the Detroit suburbs, a little more than a year ago. I've also seen them open for Motion City Soundtrack. They have a rather strong following in the Detroit area, especially in the suburbs, and I remembered them to be pretty solid. This time around they were not as impressive. They just didn't seem to me to be all together. The vocals were average and didn't seem to go well with the rest of their sound. His screams were alright but the actual singing was more like melodic talking without any rhythm to go along without the music. It just didn't fit. Probably an accurate microcosm of the band itself, the frontman's clothing ensemble consisting of diesel jeans and matching shoes, belt, shirt, and snazzy frosted tips (estimated value of outfit: 2 months rent) didn't seem to go with the rest of the band's t-shirts and jeans attitude. Everyone else seemed to be more interested in playing their instruments than looking good, and if they got on the same page they could be a better band, in my opinion. I give them a 5.
Somerset was definitely the strongest band on the bill. These guys are all they are cracked up to be. The Minneapolis quartet blistered through their set each night and brought the rock to anyone fortunate enough to be watching. They played songs off their This Thought Process EP as well as the songs available on their site for download. They also mixed in a couple new songs, one of which was excellent, the other was so-so. As someone who's seen them multiple times, I do have to say they are one of the most prepared bands I have ever seen, and they really care about their music and performances. They put on an excellent show and I highly recommend them. Somerset gets an 8, they are a strong band that will garner a lot of attention in the years to come.
I saved the most outrageous for last. The Dog and Everything didn't really steal the show, but they did steal the coveted "unintentional comedy" award. These guys do play some pretty good pop-rock, its catchy and very easy to bob your head to. But they have to be the cheesiest band I have ever seen. I don't even know where to start, I mean, they had a roadie, which is kind of bad in itself for such a small tour, but they didn't even help take their stuff off the stage at all. As soon as they finish they jump offstage and run to their merch table to meet the "hoardes" of "screaming" fans while the roadie cleans up after them. Supposedly they made a show on the tour and other bands sets cut short because of this. Completely bush league. At one show I was at, Somerset was helping their roadie unload âThe Dog's' gear just so they could set up their own stuff. It doesn't stop there. Their in- between song banter is as goofy as it gets, and the singer actually asked the crowd to "give it up" for himself. Please. They also decided to freestyle rap between songs on one occasion as well. Hilarious. Supposedly they are big in Chicago, and that's very believable. They have a very mainstream sound but somebody forgot to tell them they aren't playing arena shows or the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice awards. I give them a 6, they are very good at what they do, although it definitely isn't my kind of music.
In all, the tour was a very good time. Anyone who attended got to see some good music from a few different genres for a great price. These bands might not be playing small tours for a lot longer so it was a good experience. That, and I got to see The Dog and Everything rap.
Straight Outta Junior High
Before I Go
VIDEOS FROM CLEVELAND SHOW
Somerset - The Tragedy Of Christopher Needs
Somerset - Dub