Low-Effort Show Review: The Menzingers, Jeff Rosenstock, Rozwell Kid at The Royale, 4/1/17

If you were lucky enough to make it out to The Royale on Saturday, I’m sure you can agree that you caught a hell of a show. I’ll be honest in that I’ve always held a less-than-favorable view of The Royale for a number of reasons (location, shows have a curfew, raised dancefloor, general inability to traverse MTBA system), but spending a fair amount of time there last weekend gave me good reason to change my mind.

Jeff Rosenstock & Co. played second, bringing a Worry.-heavy set that marked the first time these songs have been played live in Boston. It goes without saying that we were into it, too; Jeff’s set was the first time in the night that the crowd really let loose, jumping and signing along and becoming immediately sweaty.

Going into the show, I was curious about how the set would handle the songs on the back end of Worry, most of which string together effortlessly. As it turns out, the tracks worked equally as well in standalone form, and the major set-piece of the, well, set, was the five song medley of the final stretch of the album (“HELLLLHOOOOLE” to “Perfect Sound Whatever”). Of course, if you caught the Little Elephant live session from last week (don’t worry, it’s embedded below) before the show, you might have been spoiled. Another big surprise was Jeff breaking out the saxophone played throughout the set by Dan Potthast (Dan!) and standing on a table in the back of the club during set closer “You, In Weird Cities”. The break in the song got the crowd singing along with the song’s infectious vocal part before ending the set with an incredible finish that reminded me of why that song is one of the best created under Jeff’s self-titled moniker.

Earlier last month, the tour stopped by TRL Last Call with Carson Daly’s stage in California, where video of the band playing Worry. standout “Festival Song” aired on national TV Monday night. Check out that clip over at the official Last Call site.

Opening the night was Rozwell Kid, who I might just call the must-see act of the show. The West Virginia band has been making their brand of impossibly catchy 90’s-style power pop for some time (think, while sighing deeply, of the phrase “Post-Weezer”), and their status has been raising considerably. Uproxx recently published an excellent article profiling the band ahead of the release of their new album Precious Art, and it painted a great picture of what we were to expect from their set. Rozwell Kid played two songs from the new album, which were as catchy as you would expect coming from this band. But it was the band’s staples that really hit home, like “Kangaroo Pocket” and set closer “Halloween 3.5“, two tracks so infectious that they burrow into your brain for weeks after hearing them for the first time.

The Uproxx article does a good job of highlighting the band’s great sense of humor; an anecdote from Pup front man Stefan Babcock about the band doing a frozen power stance for increasingly long periods of time reminded me that the stunt was what made me get into the band after that tour came to Great Scott last year. That humor was present during this set too, as the band frequently performed flamboyant guitar heroics mid-song, only to adopt a fake-sheepish affectation while talking to the audience before every song. As the least established band on the bill, Rozwell Kid certainly made an impression and will definitely be a band to watch in the future.

 

The Menzingers headlined the show, and while I had only ever listened to them in preparation for this show they certainly made an impression on me. I had mainly heard of the band through friends that had seen them as mainstays at Florida’s annual Fest, where the band’s pop-punk stylings were an obvious fit. As soon as the band hit their first note, it was clear that most of the crowd was there for the band, as the rowdiness levels increased to a general frenzy. From there, the band played an energetic set of songs heavily sourced from their newest record After The Party as well as their most celebrated, On The Impossible Past.

Overheard in the crowd before the band’s set, someone was mentioning how The Menzinger’s lyrics perfectly relate to anyone in their late 20’s, which I would have suspected, and that became immediately obvious by the third song of their set. The band lead the set with After The Party‘s “Tellin’ Lies”, which has a first verse that contains both “everything is terrible” and “where are we gonna go / now that our twenties are over?”, and followed with the perfectly-titled “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”. The set also reinforced just how damn good the tracks the band chooses to open their albums are (guys, “Good Things” is the best).

Judging from the high-energy of this set, their show later in the year at Thunder Road in Somerville is going to be one for the books. It’s sold out already, but if you can find a ticket that show looks well worth it. The Menzingers were also featured on the same episode of Last Call with Carson Daly, performing the After The Party cut “Lookers”.

Show Score: it was, uh, really good, and we liked it a lot

Alex Chiasson

Alex Chiasson is a writer for Boston Ska (dot) net. Alex's first experience with ska involved referring to it as "that music with the horns, right?". He's gotten better with categorization, but he also has this weird thing about staying humble. You can see Alex perform with The New Limits.

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