With the crowd already buzzing from energetic sets by Roswell Kid and Jeff Rosenstock, the energy reached a near tipping point when tour manager Scotty Bell clicked his flashlight on and off and the lights dropped.
Lights dances across the stage and 'Intergalatic' by the Beastie Boys blared from the speakers; The Menzingers always know how to make an entrance.
Like their new album, the show opens with the ripper of a song 'Tellin' Lies.' Greg Barnett's vocals are almost buried by the crowd singing along, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible, buying marijuana makes you feel like a criminal!" Already, people are soaring over the barrier and into the arms of security. "We're going to try and protect you," the head security guard told me before the set, "but if it gets bad, you guys are going to have to bail out of here." That's understandable, but there was no way in hell I was going to leave that photo pit before my three songs were up.
The Menzingers then jumped right into a hit off their album Rented World, playing the fan favorite "I Don't Want to Be an Asshole Anymore" always marked with an asterisk on set lists. Guitarist Tom May, who is always full of energy, was already bouncing around the stage and urging the crowd forward as more people continued to pour over the barrier. Per usual, though, bassist Eric Keen stood stage right swinging his hips with a smile on his face while remaining silent.
Although it felt like I just got there, my time in the photo pit was nearing an end. As the third song started I knew my chance to get the perfect shot was closing. A crowdsurfer nearly kicks me in the back of the head and I quickly move to a new spot in the crowded photo pit. Tom continues to dance across the stage making it harder and harder to snag a decent picture of him. As the crowd belts out the last lines of the chorus security hustles us out of the photo pit, I limp along grasping the stage, I've done all this without my cane and my leg is killing me.
I stand side-stage for the rest of the show, avoiding a majority of the crowd, and only have to deal with the occasional crowdsurfer as they rush past me to get back into the crowd so they can crowdsurf back to the front again. Twice, somebody managed to dash by security to make it on stage and dive out into the crowd, an impressive feat given that you have to run up a staircase to get on stage and then clear the five foot barrier.
The energy really reached it's climax during 'Good Things' which interludes perfectly into 'Burn After Writing,' two hits off of On The Impossible Past, the album that really brought The Menzingers to national attention. Song after song, they played, and the crowd sang along. The atmosphere inside that venue was amazing.
As The Menzingers sang 'Bad Catholics' I knew the show was coming to an end (I had snagged a photo of the set list) but knew there was an encore coming. The song wrapped up and the band dashed off stage, the lights went out, and the crowd was chanting for more. It didn't take long before they came back out and started 'Lookers,' the first single off After The Party. Following that was 'Casey,' a song that Greg *reportedly* stole from a friend. In an interview I did with him in 2013 I asked Greg, "Who's Casey?" and he laughed. "My friend actually wrote that chorus," he said, "And I told him, 'If you don't use that in a song, I will.'" Anyway, the show wrapped up with the fan 'In Remission.' The crowd went wild during the lines, "I've got a winning lotto ticket from the state of Massachusetts tucked in the back of my wallet, I'll cash it when I'm back in Boston."
This time when the lights dimmed, the show was over for real. The lights quickly came back on, house music started playing, and security immediately started hustling the crowd out the door. It was only around 10PM, an early ending for a show, but Royale would be transformed into a nightclub in a under an hour for the crowd that was already lined up outside. It was quite the site to see, a bunch of punks in black tee-shirts and ripped jeans standing side-by-side with girls with horrendously fake tans in their short skirts waiting to get in.
This was my 13th (that's really an estimate) time seeing The Menzingers, so I already knew what to expect at a show. As we were leaving I turned to my friend and asked what she thought. "It's definitely one of the best shows I've been to. You know, you listen to them and they're just great, but seeing them is... it's an experience. You really can't explain it, you just have to do it. They feed off the crowd's energy, and the crowd feeds off that, and it's just a cycle. I'd go again."
- Tellin' Lies
- I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore
- Nice Things
- Mexican Guitars
- Thick As Thieves
- Good Things
- Burn After Writing
- Midwestern States
- Irish Goodbyes
- My Friend Kyle
- After The Party
- House on Fire
- The Obituaries
- Wild Years
- Bad Catholics
- In Remission
*Italics denote encore songs
Side note: The band got the name "The Menzingers" because their band name the phonetic spelling of a German word for “troubadour.” I found this word - minnesänger.