Photos by David Rubene
After spending some time in the Mainroom to catch indie-rock darlings NE-HI and Whitney, I was more than ready to take the plunge into The 7th Street Entry and catch a good old-fashioned punk show. Sure, the show up in the Mainroom was great but, let’s be honest, if given the choice between a calming indie-rock show or a in-your-face punk show that featured Iron Chic and Off With Their Heads, I’m going to have to go with the punk show.
Kicking off the night was Chicago based Canadian Rifle. The band wasted no time in getting the crowd amped up with the rowdy sound and energetic performance. Much like the bands to come, Canadian Rifle has a sound that’s very punk rock with an edge while still keeping it accessible. There’s nothing too sinister about it but it’s also not all kittens and rainbows. You could easily see the emotion that is conveyed through the music and lyrics of this group just by watching the animated face of the vocalist. Although the set was short, this group packed a punch with the time they were given and it’s very easy for me to say that these guys are a new favorite of mine.
Quickly following Canadian Rifle was Canadian based Mobina Galore (yes, ironic that the band with “Canada” in their name isn’t actually from Canada but another band on the line-up was). Mobina Galore’s music was a bit more punk and more in your face that Canadian Rifle but still blurred the line between pop-punk and straight up punk. I had honestly never heard of the band prior to walking into the show last night. I had no clue what to expect musically or from the group. Since I was hopping back and forth between the mainroom and 7th Street Entry, I was unable to get a great view of the band at first. The sound coming off the stage was so powerful that, when I finally got a glimpse to see the band, I was almost knocked to my ass with the realization that it was just a duo on stage. Jenna and Marcia have a sound and sense of energy that I only wish some of the full bands I saw had. Much like Canadian Rifle, Mobina Galore’s set was short and, having to split my time with the show happening up in the mainroom made it even shorter. I only wish I had been able to catch every second of their set but, the fact that I was falling so head over heels for this band with just a couple of songs was more than enough to make me happy that I had caught them at all.
Hometown heroes Off With Their Heads were up next and, although it was getting late and I was starting to hit a wall of exhaustion, with in just a couple of notes they had snapped me out of it. With four full length albums, a whole slew of EPs and singles, and far too many splits to list, OWTH may be hometown heroes to us but they are so much more to the modern punk scene. Singer Ryan Young kept on referring to OWTH as “influential” and “legendary” and, although this had the rest of the band sold out crowd laughing, it’s really not that far of a stretch to say those words prior to the band’s name. Their sound, although intense, has a very deep side to it. The reason I fell in love with this band years ago was because of the lyrics. They aren’t afraid to sing about the deep dark secrets you try to hide from the outside world including mental health but, unlike many other bands, they don’t sugar coat it. It quickly became obvious that this band and those cut-throat lyrics had saved many people in the audience from the edge and, that connection and that energy, created a whole new layer of energy to the show that was impossible to ignore.
With so many albums, splits and EPs for the band to chose their set list from, I knew it was going to be impossible for me to hear absolutely every song I wanted to hear. That being said, OWTH did a great job of mixing old with new, slow with fast… I mean, I honestly couldn’t have picked a better set list than what they had prepared for the audience last night. Although each song was energetic, the group wasn’t afraid to serenade the sold-out crowd with some of their slower songs. After guitarist Robbie Swartwood’s beer was accidentally spilled on stage Ryan joked, “Your punishment for spilling Robbie’s beer will be slow songs!”. It was quite bizzarre to be at a punk show and not hear a bunch of bitching and moaning after that statement. Honestly, it seemed like the crowd was looking forward to the ballad-like songs (or as ballad-like as OWTH can get) and, although the beat was a bit slower, the pushing and shoving never faltered leaving a very unique atmosphere in the air that was truly beautiful.
Closing out the already impressive night of music was a bucket list band for me- Iron Chic. For the past couple of years, this group has been a staple in my daily playlist. Their upbeat- pop-punk/punk sounds are exactly what I need when I’m trying to get out of a funk. It’s music that makes you want to get up and move but, if you listen to the lyrics, they are also songs that truly have something to say. Within just a couple of notes, the crowd had exploded into a sweaty mess. There was no fighting, no frowns, it was all smiles and good times even as bodies were being thrashed along with the music. The crowd was screaming along to every word that was coming out of vocalist Jason Lubrano’s mouth and doing it with a sense of conviction that you could not ignoere.
The Long Island based five-piece powered through their set. Much like OWTH, Iron Chic played a little bit of everything. There were new songs, old songs, fast songs, slow songs… it didn’t really matter what kind of song they were playing, there was a smile on my face and the faces of the rest of the crowd throughout the entire set. It seemed like as soon as they took the stage, they were already saying their goodbye’s to the crowd. It was too short of a set for me even though it lasted an hour. Last night was my first time seeing this band but I’m positive it won’t be my last. I may have put this band on a pedestal and my bucket list, which always risks the chance of a band completely failing me, but not Iron Chic. They killed it and I can not wait for them to come back to town.