The Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, Murphys Law, Let It Burn at the Avalon in Boston, MA
We try really hard to never miss a Bouncing Souls show. As corny as it sounds, these guys are keeping it real. There are few bands who have really lived the punk rock life the way these guys have. They always look like they are having so much fun on stage, and the feeling is infectious. So needless to say, adding Murphy's Law and Against Me! to this lineup was not only the icing on the cake, but a nice big scoop of ice cream on the side.
The first band this evening was Let It Burn. We had seen them come around last year on tour (with the Bouncing Souls, no less) but the singer didn't used to play guitar - he even mentioned it during their set "so not to mess you guys up." It was interesting to watch how he handled this transition - he clearly had a lot of the front man still in him - for example, he sported some seriously spunky dance moves. Let It Burn plays an indie rock style with some punk influences and melodic choruses. It's got a bit of grit to it too, which makes it much more palatable than some of the saccharin stuff we've been bombarded with lately. I like them, they aren't half bad. I can see why the Bouncing Souls like touring with them.
Murphy's Law are another set of true veterans on this tour - it's almost sad that they are one of the opening bands tonight. These guys practically founded New York hardcore along with Agnostic Front and Sick of It All - not to mention, they are awesome entertainers. "We're the OTHER Murphys" they said to the Boston crowd (who clearly would have a love for Dropkick Murphys). To be honest, these guys are the originals, lest we not forget it. The singer regaled the audience with the tale of a little fist fight they took part in last time they were around these parts, and how they had been banned from playing Boston for a while. Apparently, he has a court date at Cambridge court on December 8 at 9am, and he invited us all to come witness the happenings. He's telling us all this while chugging on a bottle of Jack Daniels (and sharing it with the photographers). I hope someone will help him get prepped for his court date - I somehow imagine him flipping off the judge, haha. They announced to the cheering crowd that Buddha from Blood for Blood is the proud dad of a new baby. Jimmy G was his usual hilarious self, at one point stating he hates baseball, "but that has nothing to do with the fact that [he's] from New York." Some of the songs they played included crowd favorites like "Care Bear," "Crucial Bar-B-Q," "Woke Up Tied Up" and "Ska Song." It was an awesome set and if anyone had forgotten how great this band is, they got a full awakening.
Against Me! was up next. Their performance earlier this year at the Jackson Mann in Allston is one of my recent all time favorite shows, and although I knew there was no way that this show (in a very large club with a barricade) was going to rival that experience, we were still up for a treat. The crowd apparently knew it, too. They opened up their set with a new song, followed by the great sing along, "Cliche Guevara." I've often wondered why singer Tom Gabel always puts his stand on the left side of the stage facing inward, rather than front and center. It sounds strange, but it actually works out really well and allows for more interaction with the other band members, which heightens the energy. The set definitely felt a little short, but it was very powerful nonetheless. Some of the highlights included "T.S.R.," "Reinventing Axl Rose," "Sink, Florida, Sink," "Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious," and "You Look Like I Need a Drink." Sure, this show didn't have the same intimate, insanely chaotic feel as the last, but these guys still consistently present themselves as an energetic powerhouse. To tell you the truth, I was really worried that a lot of the younger kids would leave after Against Me! played, and that they would miss out on the Bouncing Souls. There was a little wave of kids out the door, but maybe I'll excuse them since it was a school night (whatever!).
For the few people who left before the Bouncing Souls played, boy did you miss out. The band opened up with the chorus to "Ole" to the delight of the crowd, who had been chanting "Ole" for the band to come out. They quickly went into "Sing Along Forever" and one of my favorites, "Say Anything," a song I first heard on the Punk O Rama 3 compilation more than 6 years ago. That song, especially performed live, still gives me that fuzzy nostalgic feeling. With a band like the Bouncing Souls, I'm always at a loss of things to say. I'm just speechless. There's nothing I could say to you that could convey how much these guys rock live. They don't talk a lot - they let their six full length albums do the talking. Thankfully, there is no slowdown in this in sight. They played "Argyle" for Boston, saying, "We're gonna play an old one for you, Boston knows the old shit." Other great songs on their set list tonight include "Private Radio", "The Freaks the Nerds and the Romantics", "No Rules" and "East Coast Fuck You." Then they started taking requests, and actually playing them. A lot of bands pretend to listen to requests but then just play prepared songs - its nice to have bands touring that actually take requests and are able to do it. They played "Kate is Great", one of my all-time favorites - it got a huge reaction from the crowd, too. Tom from Against Me! and a few others from the other bands that played came out to join the band for the anthemic "True Believers," which was the last song before the encore. They did come back and finished everything off with "Apartment 5F," "Lamar Vannoy," and "Night on Earth." I left the show yet again as a true believer, and if you missed this show, be sure to catch the next one - and you will be, too.
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