Walking into the enormous venue that is The Electric Factory, it was instantly clear that the folks of the audience were here with purpose. The excitement emanated from the generations- youngsters and oldheads alike. If there is one thing to be said about punk, it’s that it really isn’t something you entirely grow out of.
Opening up the show was letlive., the post-hardcore quintet from Los Angeles. The group hit the stage at 7 o’clock on the dot and despite a light turnout, the group kept the energy turned up to 11. Lead singer Jason Butler raged around the stage throwing his body every which way, even laying on the ground while snarling into his mic. The group was able to amp up audience members and Butler even wound up off stage, in the crowd, singing with his head inside a fan’s shirt. The fivesome were a force to be reckoned with, small turnout and all.
(Photo gallery full of more goodness – here)
Preceding Taking Back Sunday and surely holding their own were localites The Menzingers, a group continuing to make huge waves in our local punk scene. Guitarist Tom May kept the audience amped up bouncing around the stage and clapping to the beat while co-vocalist Greg Barnett cried out into his microphone, his voice all too easy to love. The crowd received them well, with singalongs occurring during some of their bigger tracks like “I Don’t Want To Be An Asshole Anymore” and “Good Things”. A tight set with a lot of energy, The Menzingers made Philly proud.
The enormity of Taking Back Sunday was made all too evident with a huge decked out stage- walls of LED lights, giant screens and a towering platform for drummer Mark O’Connell to look out from onto a bubbling audience. As lead singer Adam Lazzara casually meandered onto the stage, giggling with bandmate John Nolan over some surely hilarious notion, the confidence of the fivesome was entirely present. Perhaps this sureness comes from such a passionate fandom and the general TBS nature of laying everything out on their sleeve. Lazzara strutted around the stage all the while fantastically swinging his microphone around his arms, neck and torso. As the songs poured into the room, the crowd’s energy continued to climb. Moshing, dancing, scream-singing and fist-pumping were all on the menu as the group played some of their newest tracks off of their latest release, Happiness Is, while also weaving in tracks from their large discography from over the years.
The performance’s highlights included a personal shoutout to a crowdsurfing fan who somehow managed to stand upright amidst (and on top of) the crowd to sing directly to the band members two nights in a row as well as a bra being flung on stage, later finding itself hanging off of keyboard/guitarist John Nolan’s mic stand, much to his discontent.
After killing a 19 track setlist, the group hopped back onstage for an encore to play some of their most noted songs from over the years. Throwbacks streamed into the room and the audience howled in reply. Even I couldn’t help but join in when they launched into their popular track “Cute Without the ‘E’”. The performance illuminated a kinship between audience members as they looked around and saw that they weren’t the only ones with every word and guitar riff burned into their memory, and that just felt damn good.