Lorien Lamarr Photo Column—The Best Of The Worst

Lorien Lamarr Photo Column—The Best Of The Worst

May 23, 2020

(click for full size)

Sometimes you walk into a live set with zero expectations knowing nothing about the band about to play and walk away in a serotonin daze thinking “Is this my new favorite band?” I live for those moments. That’s why even on a five band bill on a Wednesday I’ll stay for every set... just in case. It’s also exactly what happened in February with The Best Of The Worst.

As they assembled on stage I recognized some of the members from Thirsty Guys and an assortment of horns and thought, “Great. I liked Thirsty Guys and I love ska.” Then they started playing howling, screaming hardcore and my pupils dilated. “Wait it’s ska... but it’s also hardcore? I love both of those genres but it never occurred to me to put them together. How? How have I never seen them before?! How did I not know this was a thing?” My brain demanded answers I didn’t have and broke momentarily to join the raucous, energetic crowd.

If ska is joy like a thirteen-year-old getting free mozzarella sticks and hardcore is unbridled rage, The Best Of The Worst is like reveling in some sort of high-octane righteous outrage, the kind of anger you can feel happy about. Considering I’ve been trapped in my house for two months now watching my country attempt to feed human death to capitalism, having something to listen to that made me feel something positive alongside my rage feels a bit better. Songs like “Paperweight” about being more than your job or “We’ve Been Held Captive” about living your life virtually through a device screen hit different post Covid-19, but I am absolutely here for it. It’s got me hearing “Let’s break the cycle. The end is near” in “Where Complacency Lives” and thinking about class consciousness and resistance with hope and a joyful fury. At minimum, it’s comforting to know six folks from New Jersey want me to feel good about my anger.