Man, okay, I’ve lived here how many years now and never gone to the Brewery before this. Partially that’s because at this point, years removed from solo Ryan Adams shows immediately pre-Whiskeytown implosion, they mostly book four and five band punk and hardcore bills that, prior to yesterday, I had zero interest in. But since I now have a tag called “things pam told me i should like”, off to the Brewery I went yesterday for an early show, to primarily catch the third band on the bill, Philadelphia, PA punk rockers the Menzingers.
I’ve been nuts about the Menzingers’ second full length, Chamberlain Waits, since Pam sent it to me a few months ago, because it’s part Hold Steady and part the Pogues and part Slobberbone1 and part entirely their own ska-influenced punk noise. They’re noisier, more punk, live, but they were equally as compelling on stage — more so, because live punk is always fascinating — as they are recorded (they’re just a lot more controlled in studio), and I was blown away by their musicality in the middle of the flailing and the racket. They’re a very tight band, they harmonize exquisitely, and they were super charming humans after the show. I will absolutely go see them again; it was a tight, explosive set that was head and shoulders above everything else I heard last night (and not just because I am completely confused by hardcore).
The rest of the bands on the bill were not my speed musically — sorry, hardcore fans, but it all sounds like screaming to me — but the light at the Brewery is extraordinarily good for such a tiny, grimy (perfect for punk) place, and I had a fantastic time shooting everyone else on the bill. I’m not going to make a habit of hardcore shows just for the photos, but once in a while, it’d be a kick. I have to work harder and faster and more carefully (no elbows to the head when I’m too close to the pit) to shoot those bands, and it’s good for me to push myself like that. It’s good for Pam to push me like that. Everyone in the venue was polite and friendly, the beer was cheap, and the light was good. Can’t complain about any of that, at all.
Full photo set here.
1: I DISTINCTLY RECALL BEING PROMISED A NEW SLOBBERBONE ALBUM IN 2011. WHERE IS IT, INTERNET, WHERE.