Smoking Popes - At Metro [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)

Smoking Popes

At Metro [CD/DVD] (2006)


I'd like to assume that the majority of users on this site are familair with pop-punk royalty Smoking Popes. I would make such an assumption on the basis of one argument alone: that they are one of the most influential and important "punk" bands of the past 20 years. Sure, it's been said before about dozens of bands, some worthy, some not, and I'm sure the aforementioned statement will seem a tired cliché to some. But when it comes to the Popes, I feel such a desription is honest and necessary. On November 11, 2005, they performed a sold out reunion show at Chicago's Metro, and this is the documentation of that memorable event.

A two-disc CD/DVD set, At Metro contains 19 tracks from the last show ever to be performed by the group, the last time you'll ever hear those delightfully melancholy lyrics sung out by the pleasant, crooning Josh Caterer. The album begins with an instrumental, "Ramblin' Rose," which flows effortlessly into "Off My Mind," a track originally released on the much-lauded album Get Fired. From there we are guided through an assortment of gems including "Midnight Moon," "Writing a Letter" with its pleasant chorus of "ba-ba-da-da-da-da," "Megan," "Before I'm Gone," "Need You Around" and "I Know You Love Me." There are no breaks between songs, and audience particaption is in abundance (see "Pretty Pathetic"); this is the way live albums, and performances for that matter, should be done. The disc closes with one of the band's first written songs, "Brand New Hairstyle," followed by the chant of "Smoking Popes, Smoking Popes, Smoking Popes...!"

The DVD captures the full 23-track concert, and truly encapsulates the sentimentel value that this colllection of songs holds. You'd be in luck to find a better live album than this post-1980, and the DVD completes the package (if you were lucky enough to get in early at Interpunk and get the signed poster, that helps too).

What else must be said, this album is essential. Victory has done a great job with the release, and you'll not find a more comprehensive Popes release. It provides a great introduction to the band, and as for the fans, well, I'm sure this has already made its way into your collection. And you'd be impressed, wouldn't you?