We ain’t got no place to go/so let’s go to the punk rock show/darling take me by the hand/we’re gonna see a punk rock band/there’s no use in TV shows/radio or rodeo/I wanna get into the crowd/I wanna hear it played real loud

I may have expressed once or twice my love for punk rock as well as my predilection for live music. So when I get the chance I always try to combine these two loves, and so far this year has helped me feed this addiction quite well. Actually this has been one of the best concert years for me as the bands I have wanted to see not only tore shit up, but were on tour with some fairly awesome bands.

I have been so blown away by these shows that I just want to sing their praises, and hopefully convince you to check out some of these bands next time they swing through, unless you buying a ticket somehow keeps me from getting one, then fuck you, you stay home.

Now, as the wracked with grammatical errors MxPx song suggests, let’s go to the punk rock show!

Less Than Jake w/The Gamits

Oh my god the Gamits got back together!

This show almost didn’t happen for me. I knew about it, and was excited for it, but there was so much going on, and I was running low on funds. Eventually I forgot about the show. Then, like some kind of ska miracle Tiny Tim would speak of, you know had he been a rude boy, I came into some extra money the night before. I arrived at work the next day and saw the show listed on my calendar; yes I write upcoming punk shows on my calendar. But the important stuff, like when the robot was going to be on Jeopardy, I program into the phone calendar. So I saw the note on the calendar and decided that it was Friday and I had nothing else to do so I was going to go to the ska show.

Step two was finding someone to go with. Dagger was busy doing something, fuck if I can remember what, and Keithage was going out of town. In a matter of minutes I exhausted half of my local ska friends. The next call was to Kaycee and of course she was going. 9 times out of 10, Kaycee will be at the show. I had the buddy, now I had to make sure I could still get tickets.

Of course I got tickets, this is a ska band and it’s not 1997.

The first band played and looking back all I can say is they weren’t memorable. Not in any aspect. I can’t recall their name, how many band members there were, or even if they were punk or ska. Nothing. Then the Supervillains took the stage. This was an obnoxious dub band that appealed to all the stoners in the crowd who are still lamenting the death of Brad Nowell.

Oh my god the Gamits got back together!

The Gamits are a phenomenal punk band that calls Denver home. They broke up for awhile to pursue college degrees or marry girlfriends or whatever stupid reasons bands break up that don’t include strong hatred for one another. Then like nearly every band ever they got back together and were once again rocking the shit out of Denver, and they haven’t lost a step. It was great to see them back.

Less Than Jake made their grand entrance as per usual and started to rock hard. Less Than Jake never let me down with the rocking. With somewhere near a million songs (900,012 at the last census) you never know what you’re going to hear, and with only about 15 bad ones, and 3 truly terrible ones, you’re always guaranteed a sweet ass show. At one point they played a new song so Kaycee and I took upon ourselves to start a skank circle, and because ska kids are happy go lucky, we had some people join in. Nothing like making friends in a skank circle, whether it’s ska dancing or the other kind of skanks.

The night ended with two songs I really wanted to hear, a nice beer buzz going, and a giant smile on my face. Less Than Jake has never let me down in concert, and this was no exception. Probably the best show since their last one, and the best one until their next one.

I love this band!

Dropkick Murphys w/Against Me

There was a time, approximately ten years ago, where I couldn’t get enough Dropkick Murphys. Then they released the album Sing Loud, Sing Proud and my interest started to wan, I still enjoyed the shit out of their first album, but they became one of those bands that is just there. However, about a year ago I got this strong desire to see them live again.

I attended this show with the now ex-girlfriend, who was crazy into “Shipping Up to Boston,” but not a huge fan overall. When we got there Against Me just took the stage. This is a band I’m not a big fan of, but I liked them enough and could get behind them. I ran into a co-worker after their set who I think put it best when he described them as the kind of band who would play at a fest as the sun began to set. A band whose main purpose was to get the people hyped for the headliners.

I expected there to be bagpipes playing as Dropkicks walked out onto the stage. This wasn’t the case. It was dark, some song filled the air as the silhouettes engulfed the stage, seriously there’s like 9 people in this band. The music stopped and that’s when we were treated to some hard pounding in your face street punk from these Bostonians.

Dropkicks never bullshitted. Just up there straight killing it. Announcing each song before tearing into it. The crowd embraced every note, and shouted along with every word. They were hyped, which hyped the band. It was a back and forth that made the atmosphere incredible. The gf, as well as the crowd, exploded when those first notes of “Shipping Up to Boston” blared through the speakers. Then they briefly left the stage, and when they returned they were joined by as much of the audience the stage would support.

I was so blown away by this show. It supplied a spark that rekindled my love for the Dropkick Murphys. I fully embrace this band, and highly recommend their new album, “Going Out In Style.”

I love this band!

Rise Against w/Bad Religion

Rise Against has managed to play with some incredible bands: Mad Caddies, Bouncing Souls, Rancid to name a few, and now with Bad Religion. Holy shit!

Disclosure here, this show was a little marred for me as I battled an upset stomach as well as wrestled with some life changing personal shit. I wasn’t as into the show as I could have been.

Some band played before Bad Religion. On the whole I have stopped paying attention to most of the opening bands anymore. The best I can tell you is that Dagger decided to call me the second this band started playing. Impeccable timing on Dagger’s part.

Bad Religion tore it up pretty well for being like 80 years old. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Bad Religion fan, I appreciate them for all they’ve done and given to the scene, also Brett Gurewitz produced the best Rancid albums, so there’s that. But they played the one song by them that I really liked, the only Bad Religion song on my iPod, so I count their performance as a win.

Rise Against came on and brought their usual intensity. Other shit mentioned earlier aside, I was actually fairly bored by Rise Against this time. Besides the new songs, I’m pretty sure they only played two or three songs they didn’t play last time I saw them. These guys now have 6 albums, surely they can play a better assortment of songs. I really think I could predict with 90% accuracy which songs Rise Against will play next time they come through.

And oh my god I hate the acoustic encore bullshit and wish they would retire those stupid ass songs. But holy balls I never get tired of the live version of “Prayer of the Refugee.” One of my all time favorite songs to see live as the audience gets so into it.

Unwritten Law w/Authority Zero

I always have the hardest time finding anyone to go with me to the Unwritten Law shows. I ended up at this show with a friend who is really more of a friend of a friend. But she loves Unwritten Law so at least the enthusiasm was right.

I felt like there were a lot of bands on this card. I showed up late and missed at least two. One of which I wanted to see, local band called No Bueno who I think used to be Step Short, friends of Dagger. I caught some other local band, who was alright, I guess, whatever, who cares?

Authority Zero I caught a few years earlier as an unknown opener. I was impressed when I saw them and bought a record. They weren’t as good on the album as they were at that show, luckily that show wasn’t a fluke as they were just as good at this show. Yet still fall short on the CD. Guess that’s just how it goes for some bands.

Unwritten Law was much better this time than the last time I saw them, which was nice. They actually showed signs of energy and general enjoyment about being rockstars. When you can tell that a band is enjoying the show then it adds so much more to the show. They even managed to play every song I wanted to hear. And just for kicks they had some ten year old, who I assume is the son of someone in the band. I tried to research who he was but got distracted by Sporcle, or Problem Child’s IMDB page, or something shiny, and never figured it out for sure. Anyway, this kid came out and sang half of a song, and was fucking awesome at it. Like Justin Bieber, if Bieber didn’t do shitty poppy bullshit, or normal poppy bullshit.

I am always in a great mood after leaving an Unwritten Law show and this time was no different.

I love this band.

Face To Face w/Strung Out

Face To Face is playing with Strung Out!? Holy fucking shit, no way!! That is one of the best combinations I have ever heard of! I don’t have enough exclamation marks for this!!

Nothing was going to keep me from this show. Not even death. If I had died before it, I would have made Dagger put glasses on me and Weekend At Bernie’s my ass to the show.

Here’s the obligatory statement about the opening bands I really don’t give a shit about and I would just ramble some half hearted (Harted) nonsense about how I don’t remember them and blah blah blah. I did take the time to consider buying a t-shirt only to be quickly reminded that I had no cash and my card was tied up at the bar. Once again alcohol kept me from being clothed.

But no time for love Dr. Jones, Strung Out was about to start. They wasted no time in being awesome as they kicked off with one of their best songs, end with one of their best songs, and squeezed a whole bunch of kick ass in between! They did all this while the lead singer had a stupid haircut and shitty facial hair.

Face To Face is the only headliner on this list I had never seen before. I had always heard they put on amazing live shows, and I love the shit out of their live album, so I was massively stoked for what I was about to witness. Face To Face were also like the Gamits as in the broke up to try solo stupid shit and had just recently gotten back together. And it looked like they were happy to be back together.

What I witnessed on that stage has changed me. I have this new idea of what a live show can be. Face To Face albums are great; Face To Face live is on another level. If Face To Face played live every week, like Face To Face Fridays or something, I would be there every week. That’s how blown away I was by their life show. This was an epic night.

I love these bands!

Wait, did I start this article with MxPx lyrics? What an odd choice on my part. Oh well.

See ya in the pit…from somewhere outside the pit, maybe a balcony, the bar perhaps, just somewhere a little safer. Damn I’m getting old.

lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com