• Review

Kali Masi, Punchline, Mest, & Less Than Jake - Present, Past, & Future

I’ve written extensively about nostalgia. If you’re a fan of music at any level - underground, indie, mainstream - you get to a certain point where everything either disappears, or somehow, sometimes inexplicably, comes back around again. 

Every now and then, though, it never really goes away, or stops being what it was. 

We had a chance to chat with Kali Masi before their show on Thursday, and one thing that stuck out was how excited they were, as a young band, to be out with 3 bands that had been around for much, much longer. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by that - a young band can learn a lot from “veterans of the scene,” but I admit that it was such an odd mixture of bands that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And, I can also admit that I had no intention of staying for the entirety of the show. Old age homebodied-ness sometimes gets the best of me. 

As promised, Kali Masi opened the show to a minimal crowd - this was one that filled up more the later it got, and by the end, you knew it really was sold out. But their set got straight to the point. Their brand of melodic punk rock, with elements of angular post-hardcore and just the right touch of pop sensibilities was the perfect introduction to a night that veered from young to… not so young as things progressed. If you’ve not checked out their debut full-length, Wind Instrument, it remains highly recommended. 

Punchline’s set was probably the most surprising of the night, if only because I wasn’t familiar with their music but ended up nodding along as their admittedly quieter set of melodic pop rock and punk progressed. I’m going to go back through their catalog to hear what I’ve been missing. 

Mest’s set was… interesting. I had some vague memories of their music from the late 90’s (I think) but never considered myself a fan. Watching and listening to their live set, though, I can see the allure and understand what it was that made them big for a hot minute. 

Then, well, Less Than Jake did exactly what I hoped they would - brought me back to the late 90’s without making me feel like a near 40-year-old fan. 

“It took us 27 years to realize that our bread and butter are songs that you guys have a connection to, so we’re just gonna play a lot of old stuff for you.” I might be paraphrasing a bit, but that was the general message of the night. “Yeah, we’ve put out music consistently for almost 30 years, but there are a few albums we know you all love - so let’s all sing along.” And we did. I had hoped for a song or two from Losing Streakand Hello Rockview, so I’m happy to say that their always unique take on the Punk/Ska movement is as vibrant, and somehow relevant, as it was when they first told us about Johnny Quest thinking they were sellouts. 

I’m happy to say that I stayed until the end of the show - including their “encore.” My voice was an octave lower the next day. But I was smiling, still singing along in my head. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Check out pics from the show!

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