Other than their set at the Pittsburgh date of this past Warped Tour, I have never seen Less Than Jake in a live setting, so naturally when I found out they would be playing Penn State Behrend's annual Battle of the Bands (for a mere $5 general admission) I was super excited. I was expecting a good full set, skanking to some classics and happily singing along to some of their newer, less than Less Than Jake material. And so the journey begins...
For starters, the venue, Erie Hall, is really just your average college-sized gymnasium. No frills, very straightforward. In total, it seemed like there were about 200 kids in attendance, mostly college frat types, with some assorted punks, ska kids, "scene" kids, and the random whoevers that happened to be there.
Right before the A.K.A.s took the stage, someone came on and read off the rules for the show: no moshing, no crowdsurfing, no cameras, etc. Naturally this put the crowd in a weird spot once the band opened up with "Every Great Western," where normally everyone would be moving, but now everyone was still. Luckily, the A.K.A.s have a fuckton of energy, and got the stagnant crowd jumping up and down, lightly breaking the no moshing policy and having a great time. I've seen the A.K.A.s several times, so I already knew they would bring everything they had and more. For anyone who hasn't seen them yet, do it. They play all the favorites off of White Doves and Smoking Guns, and a few new ones too. Let's hope that label situation fixes itself.
Set list (not in order):
- Every Great Western (opener)
- Chain Reaction
- Gotta Get Outta Here
- Generation Vexed
- Always On
- Romance Is Dead
- Freedom vs. The Perception of Necessity
- (various new songs)
- Shout Out Loud (closer)
Other than a somewhat disappointing set list, the only thing that was weird or off about the performance were some of the fans, this being the frat/jock-type college guys who don't really understand the mechanics of a mosh pit or the concept of skanking, but that's just me being elitist.
One thing I definitely can say for LTJ as a live band though, is that they can make you care and believe in songs that otherwise might not matter to you. Even though I don't really like Anthem, while they were playing those songs I fucking loved them, and I guess that's what a show is all about.
Set list (not in order):
- Automatic (opener)
- Sugar in Your Gastank
- Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts
- Ghosts of You and Me
- Look What Happened (yes, I consider this an Anthem song)
- Motown Never Sounded So Good
- The Science of Selling Yourself Short
- She's Gonna Break Soon
- Plastic Cup Politics
- Soundtrack of My Life
- Landmines & Landslides
- P.S. Shock the World
- Gainesville Rock City (closer)
- All My Best Friends Are Metalheads (encore)