Menzingers Host Homey Varsity Show


Sad sing alongs and heartbreak abounded at The Varisty in Dinkytown this past Sunday evening. It was a weekend wallowing in self-reflection as The Menzingers brought a stellar supporting lineup of Lucero & The Dirty Nil with them to serenade the college theater with sing-a-longs and merriment aplenty. 

The Dirty Nil opened the show, and wow what an opening it was. The threepiece from Canada has been on the circuit for awhile, steadily building some credit as one of the hardest working rock bands out there. This night was no different – they gave everything they had, plowing through a blistering fast set of slow-moving mellower affairs jammed between hard-hitting grunge-adjacent powerful rock. Seeing them for the first time, it was really tough to nail down exactly what their ‘sound’ was, but that sonic ambiguity didn’t get in the way of just how much energy they were putting out. After a quick 30, they were out, but not before acknowledging with sincerity that Minneapolis always treats them right and that they’ll be back soon.

Lucero was the oreo filling between the two chocolate wafers of punk rock for the evening, and what a surprise this band was. As with The Dirty Nil, it was my first time seeing them, and it was quite the treat. I had an idea in my head of what they would sound like, but their live sound was still wholly its own thing. Ben Nicholas’ gravely vocals washed over the crowd with affable charm, bringing them down from the sharp opener and lulling them into a place of security. Lucero skillfully bounces between country swagger and absolutely rocking riffs, creating a dynamic that is just as likely to delight as it is to create an emotional resonance. 

Menzingers rolled in a short bit later. The band’s current tour across North America is in support of the deluxe release of Some Of It Was True, so it comes with no surprise that they opened with a song off of that album (“Try”), the energy in the room zooming to the stratosphere immediately, due in large part to Tom May beginning to jump and apparently nothing could stop him for the rest of the night. The synchronized vocals of May and Greg Barnett lead to entire-crowd singalongs pretty much immediately, with a rendition of On The Impossible Past’s “Good Things” coming second in the setlist being met with a nearly unanimous word for word shout along. 

This pretty much is their show experience to a T, and this night was certainly no different, as they dipped across their expansive discography, playing hits like ‘Thick as Thieves’ and ‘House on Fire’ from After the Party, spirit raisers like ‘Nothing Feels Good Anymore’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore’ from Rented World, and closing the evening with ‘Casey’. It was a real treat for pretty much any fan of the band – new or old – and there was certainly a few less intact vocal chords in Minneapolis after all was said and done.