For every MTV friendly, (I Heart) radio ready pop-punk band hitting airwaves and probably angels, there are 10, 20, 300 bands of the same ilk starting out, getting ignored, or breaking up. While a vast majority of them simply fade into the aether, some manage to gain traction and then disappear, and still others find their way, long and arduous and taxing though it might be.
No one would ever accuse The Menzingers of having, or taking, it easy. Humble and humorous almost-East Coasters (Philly, dudes), they’ve recorded and released several of the most celebrated pop-punk records of the last 5 or 6 years. Like the proverbial opening band you’ve maybe heard of but never listened to - you know, the one your too-cool friend told you about after they read about them on some blog you’ve never heard of - If their first couple albums perked up some ears, their breakthrough record Chamberlain Waits managed to turn more than a few heads. By the time their now classic, and undeniably great On The Impossible Past… released, The Menzingers had the whole room’s attention.
With last year’s Rented World, The Menzingers continue to hone their admittedly already fine-tuned craft - songs relevant and relatable, built on the kind of everyday quandaries we find ourselves involved in, connecting pieces of our past to where we are now and where we’re going, and just how little sense some of it makes. The opening lines of On The Impossible Past…, “I’ve been having a horrible time, pulling myself together,” are honest and understandable. You don’t have to know what they’re talking about, only that, really, you’ve been there, man. You get it. And when, on their lead single from Rented World, he says, “I don’t want to be an asshole anymore,” it’s easy for some to raise their hands, testify, “Yeah. Same, brother. Me either.” Some of us are assholes, you know?
As a live band, they’re not just a highlight of any show they’re a part of, their often show stealers, spotlight robbers. And rightfully so. Energetic and passionate, invested in the lyrics they know you’re singing along with, divulging little secrets about their lives night after night. It’s one thing to write about, something else entirely to witness. It’s a cathartic experience, one that I suspect is just as emotionally and physically exhausting for the band as it is for their oftentimes diehard fans.
And it’s one that I am profoundly excited to witness again at the Southgate House Revival - in the Revival Room, which means pile-ons and singalongs and sweat - on Tuesday, June 9th. Supporting will be Roger Harvey and Chumped, so come out early and get cozy in what I assume will be a crowded, volatile room. It’s going to get rowdy, and it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.