By Luigi Sibona
There aren’t many bands like The Menzingers, the Philly powerhouses blessed the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with the finest collection of folk punk anthems you’re going to here this year, or any for that matter.
Armed with a rocking setlist pulling predominantly from their last three faultless records, there wasn’t a moment spared for a piss-break. 2017’s ‘After The Party’ was the star of the show, with a great chunk of that record taking up the evening. Rightly so, those tracks sound even better live when every person crammed in the venue is belting them from the bottom of their diaphragm along with you.
Check a highlight of the show here:
From the barnstorming opener ‘Tellin’ Lies’ to the gut-wrenching, anthemic heights of ‘After The Party’s’ title track (I have never sung along louder to a live performance) the vitality and sincerity of those songs resonated in a way hard to put into words. You believe the sentiment of songs like ‘House on Fire’ and you feel the line “waiting for your life to start when you die” resonate with the other 2,000 people sharing the experience with you. It’s amazing to be part of a crown that give back as much as the band are putting out, whether that be through song, mosh or crowd-surfing.
Other notable standouts (from a setlist of standouts) included the always-huge rager, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ and equally gargantuan setlist staple ‘The Obituaries’ – no singalong feels better than “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it”, period.
What was most astounding was the sense on communal spirit, which extended to Canadian punkers Pup’s riotous support set. The Menzingers set was a collection of disarmingly honest songs; soaring inescapable melodies; no-frills, unencumbered punk delivery; simply one of the best bands making rock music today firing on all cylinders.