So, I wasn’t at all familiar with Pianos Become Teeth or mewithoutYou. Turns out they are totally different than Restorations or The Menzingers. The show was not only a very eclectic mix of musical genres and styles, but the crowd was a mix of styles, cliques, and ages. By the end of the show I realized that the crowd was comprised of separate audiences for each band, the pit shifted and changed with each set.
I am not sure how many times I can gush over Restorations. They are a solid band with great lyrics, unbelievable music, heart, and are totally endearing when they play live. You know, they have heart, talent, and substance, and are super nice guys on top of all that. Last week at Mr. Small’s Theater in Pittsburgh PA was no exception. Their playing live is as tight as it is on their records, but you get this sense of intimacy that only a live show can give you, even in a venue as large as Mr. Smalls. Please, if you haven’t yet, go fall in love with them and their music.
Honestly, I couldn't get into Pianos Become Teeth or mewithoutYou. The music wasn’t my style and the theatrics of each of their lead singers was just too much for me to take seriously. There was a solid crowd for each band though, screaming along, without abandon.
The Menzingers are a semi-local band from the area I grew up in, but I missed out on their rise since I had already moved to NYC at the time. Since then they moved to Philly and are now tagged as such (though Scranton will always lay some claim) I don’t feel too bad for not having the undying allegiance to a Wilkes Barre/ Scranton band. So anyway, I never loved them, but always enjoyed when I heard them play. They would open up for bands and I would super dig them, think “hey, I should buy some of their stuff”, then totally forget.
They were really on point tonight, their energy lifted me up (after being sort of mellowed out by Pianos Become Teeth and mewithoutYou. Hard chords, poppy vocals, and big ol’ smiles on their faces. It was all infectious, the crowd was dancing, singing, and a pit was forming. It made me feel young again, it made me remember that the raw energy of music and strangers can make you feel alive.
As distant as I feel from them as a local band, there is still a northeastern PA sensibility that comes out in their songs that I can’t deny feeling connected to. The accessible lyrics, the lyrics about a boring night in a decaying town, the lyrics that acknowledge that daily life may not be super exciting and inspiring, but if you are clever or have a good hook, you can create a song around it - that and the fucking aggressive pop punk chords and high energy performance made me remember my first shows, my best friends, and all the bands that never made it this far. Artistry is to be respected, and theatrics watched, but I will take three chords and some adrenalin any day. So this time, I am totally buying some albums. Let me know which ones.