[ATTENDED: December 3, 2016] The Menzingers
I hadn’t heard of the Menzingers before this show. I looked them up and saw that they were a punk band on Epitaph Records, which meant I knew what to expect–poppy punk, kind of like Rancid (without the ska-although I understand that they were formed out of a Scranton based ska-punk band). And that’s a fairly accurate blanket statement of what they’re like–catchy songs with a kind of growly singer and lots of harmonies..
Their previous album was highly regarded and they have a new one coming out. I was excited to see them. I was also pretty excited to be at a show at the Sands again–my last show there was when I got a drumstick. But imagine my surprise when there was a huge snarl of traffic getting into the venue. I’ve seen a few shows there and have never seen traffic getting into the venue. And then an enormous line to present tickets inside. So I wound missing–well, maybe it was only part of the first song.
And that delay was because the show was packed. Packed I say! (I guess every college student in Bethlehem was there?).
I’m usually early enough that I can pick my place, but, wow, I was further back than I’ve been for almost any show I’ve seen lately. And there was a pretty pushy crowd too.
So that kind of sucked.
But the band was good and a lot of fun. Their music suited the large space, but they seem like a band who is better served by a smaller stage–they looked really far apart up there (they are playing the Scranton Cultural Center next week, and I’ll bet that show will be outstanding).
In true punky fashion, there’s lots of curses in their songs–but melodic curses that are fun to sing along to. Like the chorus for “The Obituaries.” I walked in and they were singing: “But I will fuck this up, I fucking know it” over and over.. And their next song was called “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” (similarly catchy).
The band has two lead singers/guitarist, Greg Barnett (left) has the deeper gruffer voice (singing the above two songs) and Tom May (above) sings the slightly poppier delivery (like “Nice Things”). May was in the middle of the stage and he bounced and pogoed throughout the set–lots of energy, that guy.
Eric Keen and Joe Godino (who I may not have seen at all) rounded out on bass and drums.
I don’t know if the crowd was familiar with them. But they won us over with catchy melodies and a lot of energy. I heard someone during the show say that they were really good, so good for them. And when Barnett said, “I can’t believe I get to say this but up next is Weezer!,” he got quite a round of applause.
They band has four albums out and they played songs from their two most recent releases (interestingly one fewer from their most recent album, Rented World).
“Lookers” is their new singer and it started slow and quiet and built to a suitably catchy chorus (this song was less punk than the others, I wonder if they are mellowing out). But I can see this song being very popular down the shore: “Sha la la la Jersey girls are always total heartbreakers Julie from the Wonder Bar I still wonder where you are.”
“Burn After Writing” had the two singing at the same time which sounded pretty great. And I got a kick out of their new song “Bad Catholics” which I assume refers to Scranton in: “We were pillaging the Turkey Hill on Main Ave in West Side,” and then this fun follow up: “But thank God for your father’s last name / And all the connections that he’s made / To everyone, you’re such a sweet church girl / But I know your secret….Bad Catholics, weren’t we, darling? Always dipping out before communion started.”
They ended the set with “In Remission.”
They were a great opening band, but I’ll bet would be even more fun as a headliner in a small club (where their sets typically run to 20 songs instead of just 9).
Incidentally, I was puzzled by the band’s name, and I’ve learned that it is a sort of phonetic spelling of the German word for minstrel (Minnesänger) which makes me like them even more.
- The Obituaries
- I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore
- Nice Things
- Good Things
- Burn After Writing
- Bad Catholics
- My Friend Kyle
- In Remission