The Bouncing Souls and the Lawrence Arms have quite a few similarities. I'm not just talking about a stubborn adherence shared by fans to use the article "the" when stating their band names. There's something deeper, some sort of poppy instinct within the body of each band's work that shines through in a sonic onslaught on listener's ears.
You can't really hear the similarities between the two bands quite as clearly on their recordings, but I had an alcohol induced revelation at this past weekend's Riot Fest. TLA and TBS are perfect bed...err, stage-fellows...?
The House of Blues is really an extraordinary venue, but a surprising place for a punk show of this calibur. Simply put, the HOB is pretty well kept and clean in terms of Chicago venues, and the audience that attends Riot Fest is generally...not. So it wasn't exactly a surprise to see the pop-sensible punk rock fans had a dominating "one-up" status on the old school punkers.
When TBS took the stage, I was pretty excited for their set, as I'd seen them at Warped a few years before and absolutely loved them. Still, although I'm decently knowledgeable when it comes to TBS' repetoire of songs, I found myself fidgeting throughout the hour-plus set. I got mad love and respect for TBS, but one word I would not use to describe them is "versatile."
So what did I learn? There might be a few other bands I've only seen play at Warped Tour that I should avoid going to see in a regular concert setting.
When you get fidgety at a show, you turn to the bottle for support, which made at least half of the crowd a little jazzed for the Lawrence Arms by the time it was their turn to rock the HOB.
And then it was their turn.
As usual, Brendan Kelly kept the crowd laughing with his drunken antics, Neil Hennessy was a blur of hands and fingernails, and Chris McCaughan brought the ladies to their knees with his sexy pot-voice. They played songs from every album and even surprised the crowd with "Quicentuple Your Money," a fan favorite that doesn't get dragged off the shelf too often. The energy level was amazing and the crowd was slightly out of control.
Take it from a guy who has been to a lot of shows: the Lawrence Arms have some of the best fans in Chicago.
Oh, you were dragged in by the headline and you're waiting for the point, huh?
When my attention started waning during the Bouncing Souls set, I ran into Hennessy and chatted things music. Kelly's wife just had a baby, which has pushed plans for a new album off into the unforeseen future. So, from what I gathered, it appears talks with Fat Mike have developed the possibility of a 7" series, in the tradition of other Fat bands. Hennessy mentioned that, since the band members have been busy with other things, Fat Mike suggested that they record songs as they write them. Then, he'll release a few here and there as 7"s.
Hennessy didn't mention that there was anything specific in the works as of yet, but that it was an idea being bounced around. Let's hope something gets moving shortly, huh? I feel like I'm starved of new Lawrence Arms material.
"I never tried that / I never tried that / I never tried that / but I know I don't like it."
- Brendan Kelly, "The Devil's Takin' Names"