I Called in Sick to Follow Menzingers on Tour
Melissa Fossum The Menzingers. Full slideshow here.
Against all odds, Pennsylvania punk outfit the Menzingers gets better with every tour. The band gained quite the following with its fantastic 2012 album, On the Impossible Past. If Past serves as an introduction to the Menzingers, the band's most recent record, Rented World, will make lifelong fans.
The Menzingers has a devoted audience. I speak from experience -- I went on a mini-tour and saw the band three nights in a row.
Even though the Menzingers performed at Yucca Tap Room less than six months ago, Monday night's show was still varied enough to keep it interesting. At the Yucca show, the band performed a few songs from Rented World, which at that point remained unreleased. I remember being taken by "Rodent" at the Yucca show, and it was great to be able to sing along this time around.
Pub Rock Live is quickly turning into one of my favorite places to see punk shows in Phoenix. Monday night's Menzingers show reminded me a bit of the Lawrence Arms show back in February, without the pesky guardrails. I'm all for safety, but having your shins hit a crowd-divider time and time again is not fun. The venue works well as the next size up from Yucca Tap Room, as both locations house plenty of rowdy fans.
For most dates, Menzingers have played a similar set. The band front-loads its strongest material, opening with "I Don't Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore" and a relentless onslaught of "Good Things," "Burn After Writing," and "In Remission." At the three shows I attended, the band finally took a small breather before "Who's Your Partner," but by and large got through the set with minimal banter.
Phoenix had a few good stories, though. Vocalist Tom May thanked the crowd for not throwing shot glasses at the band this time. May and second singer Greg Barnett discussed how Off With Their Heads' Ryan Young is already an angry guy, but having a shot glass thrown at his head made him absolutely livid.
There weren't any rogue shot glasses, but there were a few obstacles. Toward the end of Menzingers' set, a woman jumped on stage to plant a kiss on Barnett's cheek.
The stage monitors kept getting knocked out of place as the crowd got rowdy. Fortunately, the tour manager and a few kind fans in the front did what they could to keep them in place. The gear bounced around a bit, but the sound was still good. But then again, I still have tinnitus and hearing loss this morning, so I may not be the best authority on the matter.
A couple Phoenix-specific songs included "I Can't Seem to Tell" and "Timetables." If you're bummed that they didn't play songs like "Sun Hotel," "Deep Sleep," or "Where Your Heartache Exists," it's due to the subtle setlist changes between dates.
Crowd favorites included "Irish Goodbyes," "Good Things," and "Casey." A staple in Menzingers' set is closing out with "Transient Love" before the encore. This is one of my favorite songs from Rented World, but I wasn't counting on them performing it because it's a slower song. The guitar effects sound beautiful live, and the song works as a good breather for the encore.
The two given encore songs are "Gates" and "The Obituaries." The third song varies by date, with Phoenix (and San Diego) getting "Sunday Morning" as the third song.