This was a jam-packed weekend, and the highlight was seeing The Menzingers and the Bouncing Souls at a tiny bar/club in Jermyn, PA called Eleanor Rigby’s on Friday night. First, I want to say how happy I am that The Menzingers are getting as big as they are. They hail from Scranton, PA and have been a staple of this music scene for a while. They’re also some of my old friends, dating back to the days when all the punk rock kids around here used to hang out at Cafe Del Soul on Mulberry Street, which is now a parking lot. The Menzingers ripped through song after song from their debut album, A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology, its follow-up EP, Hold On, Dodge, and the newer album, Chamberlain Waits. Tom May and Greg Barnett’s vocals sounded as raspy and powerful as ever, backed by the crunch of power chords and the impressive drum skills of Joe Gadino. Though the guys have moved to Philly and have spent the last few months playing shows with Against Me!, the Bouncing Souls, and other bigger punk bands, they said several times how happy they were to be home, and how their music formed out of the local music community.
Especially impressive about their set was the reaction by the crowd. The circle pit widened as soon as The Menzingers’ hammered the first chord, and it didn’t let up at all. Tattooed youth bounced against each other, threw their fists in the air, and sang along to every song.
After The Menzingers exited the stage, the Bouncing Souls came on, blasting through some of their most popular songs early, including “Hopeless Romantics,” “Say Anything,” and their cover of “Lean on Sheena.” The set covered most of the band’s career and even featured a few songs they barely play anymore, including “Fight to Live,” “I Like Your Mom,” and “Argyle.” One of the highlights for me was seeing the band perform their acoustic version of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments,” which will be released soon on an EP they recently did for SideOneDummy records. Like usual, the band’s banter was kept to a fair minimum throughout the set, and front man Greg Attonito leapt into the crowd a few times for some of the crowd favorites, including the band’s most popular anthem, “True Believers.” The band also fooled the crowd by playing the opening bars to “Ole!,” which is always chanted before they come on stage. But then they suddenly stopped and yelled “April Fools!”
This marked the 8th, 9th, or maybe even the 10th time I’ve seen the Souls live, and their positive energy and catchy choruses never wear off on me. I hope they come back, and I hope this little music club in NEPA keeps booking these bands.