First major note of importance: This show was about halfway to “Bands with !’s in their names fest” (not that I’m complaining).
Second major note of importance: This show was put on by a friend of ours named Toshi, in Philadelphia, who quite frankly, does such a great job at putting on shows that I can’t even describe. Seriously, kudos to Toshi.
Third major note of importance: I really, really wanted to make sure I saw The Ergs! at least one more time before they left for tour (and a big one, so it was my last chance for a while).
So The Fire is a small little bar in Philadelphia, that while I don’t know if I’d call it a “punk rock” bar, they serve a bunch of vegetarian/vegan food, as well as sell CDs, so I guess that’s close enough. The bands play in a (extra) medium sized side room, which turned out to be one of the best-sounding rooms I’ve seen in a while (seriously, you could hear everything perfectly).
First band is called Fake Problems, who I’m not super familiar with before tonight. It turns out they’re from Florida, and just put out a record on Sabot. I’m very hesitant to make the Against Me! comparison, because while there’s some similarity (four dudes rocking out, often gruff vocals, and some genre jumping around), they’re really doing their own thing. Think of a fairly rocking alt-country band, writing indie-rock songs (and by “indie-rock” I don’t mean like some hipster band, but more like a couple of punks who are capable of putting some thought into their songs).
Next are The Ergs!, and I’m excited. Not only have I been listening to their latest EP Jerseys Best Prancers, but I’ve heard a bunch of songs from their upcoming record, and with every new song and live show, I keep thinking “Damn, I already think this is one of the best bands going right now, and they’ve topped themselves again.” Opening up with “Kinda Like Smitten” and then going into some of the “oldies”; there were some new songs too, some of which I recognized, one of which I hadn’t heard before, that they closed with (not counting “Everything Falls Apart” plus random classic rock snippet), that I swear could’ve been my prom song. And, of course, they completely play their hearts out the entire time. I think I’ve already found my record of the year, and it’s not even out yet.
Now, I wasn’t all that sure of what I was going to get with Love Songs. On one hand, I’m a little embarrassed I hadn’t gotten into them earlier, but on the other, the proverbial ton of bricks hit me that much harder, and was that much greater. Here’s the best description I can think of: imagine an ‘80s heavy metal band, but with punks (and I mean like hanging out at basement/warehouse shows every night punks), only replacing the “glam” look with more of an “incredibly over the top homoerotic” look, meanwhile playing amped-up, juvenile, Descendents/ALL style songs about pee pee and masturbating, while completely rocking out as hard as they can. Don’t be afraid, because this was one of the greatest times in a long time I’d ever seen a band without knowing anything about them. All I’m saying is that by the end of their set, I not only got a crotch-thrust to the face, but also sandwiched in between one of the guitar dudes and his instrument, and it was amazing.
Last up was the Bay Area’s This Is My Fist!, who I’d been looking forward to seeing for a while. Now, since I don’t get to see them on a regular basis, I’m not sure if this was just for the tour, or always, but the lineup was Annie with most of the dudes from Love Songs. I’m not complaining either way. They were still great. Again, I feel like I’m cheating a little with this, but I want to think of them like a female-fronted Jawbreaker. It’s not just because of the strong lyrics matched with the mid-tempo riffs, but because while originally most people’s take on Jawbreaker was “They sound like, um, Jawbreaker,” it’s hard to come up with a description for This Is My Fist! other than “They sound like This Is My Fist!” Either way, I just wish they had their new record with them that’s coming out on No Idea! later this summer.
It was on the ride home where I was thinking about how this show reminded me of when I first started making it out to shows in the first place: I absolutely loved every band, had a great time, and while things may have been kicking my ass recently, it’s all okay when I’m still able to spend a night like this.