After only minor threats from the bouncer doing searches at the door, I was going to make sure that I had my photo pass. If I were seen taking pictures without it I would be forcibly removed (to put it lightly). Showing up a little late, I missed the opening band, which I didn’t get the name of, but they were apparently well received. The crowd was already slightly moist and stinky from jumping around.
Big B stepped on stage and kept the energy up. A newcomer on the hip-hop front, he was the emcee for the night. The crowd was eager to follow along as he chanted out commands of “Put your hands in the air” and “It’s time for more Jager!” Being the Jagermeister Music Tour, there was plenty of Jager on hand, at the bar and on stage. Throughout the night performers were leaving the stage for shots, or taking them mid song.
The Expendables jumped into their set of Surfer Rock. Unfortunately at this point they were playing to a ridiculously long line to get to the bar, taking up a good portion of the floor space. They had great energy that took me back to the punk days of my youth. (Millencollin and No Use For a Name, sorry I’m not as punk as you…)
Pepper played a long set full of their “Sublime-esque” tunes. I hadn’t heard a ton from these guys before, but it didn’t take bumping into too many dreadlock-sporting dudes to figure out what they were all about. One unhappy ten-year-old was making sure to represent the “old” punkers through their set by screaming out how bad the band sucked and that they needed to get off the stage. He was honestly nine or ten and he was sporting some sweet patch jeans, a cut off shirt, and a mohawk. I wouldn’t doubt that he was packing a switchblade. I’ve never seen so many adults threaten to beat up a little kid. (The great part was that he would just tell them to “Fuck off!”) Despite the angry youth, I didn’t think that Pepper sucked, and neither did the majority of the people that were there. Anyone who jumps on stage and advocates legalizing marijuana can usually get in good with most crowds.
After another enthusiastic welcome from Big B, Pennywise came out. They jumped into an energetic set with their heavy driven sound pounding into the crowd. They played a wide range of their tunes, a little from their new album Reason to Believe and going as far back as Full Circle. There may have been a few instances when singer Jim Lindberg forgot a few of the lyrics. He was always open with the crowd about this though, saying as much as “Fucked that one up, oh well.” Or “We’re not playing that one, I’ll fuck it up.” No one in the crowd seemed to care.
Punk rock karaoke seemed to be an underlying activity of the show as they played Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” and even busted out a Minor Threat tune. Crowd participation was encouraged as Lindberg let people scream into the mic throughout the show, sometimes for the majority of a song. At one point a star struck fan got to fly solo by singing most of a song on her own on stage. She was covered in Pennywise tattoos – if you get ink showing your loyalty to the band, they hook you up.
They ended the show as they typically do with “Bro Hymn”, however this time it was dedicated to guitarist, Fletcher Dragge’s brother who passed just weeks ago. This did seem to project an off-putting feeling from the stage. By the end of the show I wasn’t feeling as adrenaline-filled as I might have a few years ago, but more like I had just visited with an old buddy who is doing as well as they can for the time being.