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Show Review: Insisting The Menzingers Are The Most...

Posted by: Thomas Nassiff (06/02/14)
I saw The Menzingers on the second night of their headlining Rented World tour with Pup, Lemuria and Cayetana on Friday night at New York City's Webster Hall. Playing their biggest headlining show to date, the band put on an incredible performance with a near-perfect set list - check out my review in the replies.
What a band does on stage goes very far in determining whether they'll be a truly successful, A-list act. Writing a great record and having some hype around your name helps a band get to a place where they can go on good tours, play in bigger rooms and share their music with more people. Being a band that is more impressive on stage than on the record can help a group transcend their genre and is a common underlying current between the greatest rock and roll bands of our time.
    
 
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08:18 AM on 06/02/14
#2
Thomas Nassiff
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The Menzingers | New York City | May 30, 2014When The Menzingers released On The Impossible Past, I proclaimed them "great American storytellers" and told everyone that they were a band that deserved your undivided attention. More recently, when I reviewed their newest LP Rented World, I called them "the best active punk band that we have right now."

But what a band does on stage goes very far in determining whether they'll be a truly successful, A-list act. Writing a great record and having some hype around your name helps a band get to a place where they can go on good tours, play in bigger rooms and share their music with more people. Being a band that is more impressive on stage than on the record can help a group transcend their genre and is a common underlying current between the greatest rock and roll bands of our time.

What The Menzingers showed on Friday night at Webster Hall in New York City, on only the second night of their Rented World Summer Tour with Pup, Lemuria and Cayetana – or, rather, what they reaffirmed to me – is that they're the most important punk rock band we have today. This is a band that has the potential to do this for a long, long time; and if fans continue to support them like the did at Webster Hall, as The Menzingers played their largest headlining show to date, then we'll give them the chance to continue doing this for as long as they want.

The Scranton punks showed off a masterful understanding in how to craft a set list for a headlining tour supporting a recently released album. They opened with "I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore," an easy choice, being an anthemic shout-along single and probably the most fun song off Rented World. Four of the next five tunes were old songs, with the double-shot of "Good Things" and "Burn After Writing" from OTIP before getting into another new single with "In Remission." They blasted back even further with "Who's Your Partner" and paired that nicely with "Nice Things."

They did a great job of dispersing their newest and oldest material evenly throughout the set, never doubling down on back-to-back Rented World songs and twice following new songs with tunes from Chamberlain Waits. The understanding that not everyone will have heard the whole new album, and knowing the importance of keeping up the energy in such a big room, was critical to the success of the set and the band was rewarded with constant sing-alongs from a rowdy, tipsy crowd. New York City was very good to The Menzingers Friday night, and it was hard to not have a grin on my face as most of the crowd knew damn near every song they played.

Highlights were aplenty at Webster Hall, but a few seemed like moments that would stick out for a long time. A short unexpected break in the middle of "Sun Motel" caused a tension in the crowd, where it felt like the room was bursting at the seams with the anticipation of belting, "And I'm pretty sure this corner of the world / Is the loneliest corner in the whole world." It was a grand, huge, bombastic night overall, but it was made up of little moments like those. The quartet showed why "Transient Love" was really included on Rented World's tracklisting, playing it right before they stepped off stage pre-encore and delivering an unspeakably strong jam session for the crowd at the song's closing. It's hard to imagine seeing a band have more fun on stage than guitarists Greg Barnett and Tom May were having at the end of that song, and it's should be obvious now to the song's detractors that it was written for the live setting.

Earlier in the night, they snuck in a well-positioned performance of fan-favorite B-side "Irish Goodbyes," during which there were perhaps more cups of beer flung into the air than any other song. It's a glaringly plain fact that "Casey" is the band's most appreciated song, and NYC proved that on Friday as the crowd went crazier for it than perhaps any other tune. Watching that happen made me remember the first time I saw The Menzingers – in a half-empty bar with about 50-60 other people in Gainesville, Florida – and the direct contrast of that memory with the chaos swirling around me in the present made for a one of my favorite kinds of moments in music. It's a near out-of-body experience where you're not really sure how one of your favorite bands is all of a sudden adored by all these people, but you're damn happy about it.

Barnett told the crowd near the show's closing that it had been one of the best days of The Menzingers' collective lives. Watching him bang an empty beer bottle against a drum cymbal during the closing "The Obituaries" was enough to make me believe that he wasn't just saying that to say it. Friday night was a completely joyous event for The Menzingers and anyone in attendance at Webster Hall; it was the type of experience that all great bands and supportive fans will hopefully have many times in their lives. And, once again, The Menzingers gave me a reason to insist that they're the most important punk rock band on the planet right now.
08:21 AM on 06/02/14
#3
TylerHartman
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Makes me even more excited to see them in Portland, this month. This tour is so stacked. Great to see TM getting this giant dose of success.
08:27 AM on 06/02/14
#4
jordalsh
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nice job Thomas, I've really fallen in love with Rented World over the past week or so. Really have to consider catching their Orlando date
08:36 AM on 06/02/14
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Deborah Remus
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I hope Pup brings The Menzingers across Canada sometime.
08:44 AM on 06/02/14
#6
Jaytothesyg
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Can't wait for Wednesday
08:44 AM on 06/02/14
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Amazing review Thomas. Show at Webster was incredible!
08:47 AM on 06/02/14
#8
Timmiluvs
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Don't get the hype around this band. I can't get into any of their records, they just bore me, nothing special in my opinion.
08:47 AM on 06/02/14
#9
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Saw them at bled fest which was a tease since it was only 30mins but they were amazing and the crowd was huge. Still trying to get everyone I know to love them as much as I do
08:50 AM on 06/02/14
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this band bores me to death so to insist "they're the most important punk rock band on the planet right now" because they know how to entertain a bunch of PBR guzzling beard punks is absurd. What about influence and ambition? Titus Andronicus, ceremony, Fucked Up (who I don't even like), Against Me!, Self Defense Family....
08:51 AM on 06/02/14
Merve
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Great show. The Menzingers killed it, and PUP was great as well. (PUP's guitarist seemed hella confused after the crowd applauded one of his guitar solos, which I thought was adorable.)

The crowd was way too rowdy, though. I got socked in the gut about a dozen times. Hey, maybe don't turn the entire ground floor into a mosh pit, guys?
09:05 AM on 06/02/14
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I can't wait to see these guys in Austin. PUP too.
09:05 AM on 06/02/14
punchedbyagirl
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Got chills reading this. Awesome job Thomas.
09:09 AM on 06/02/14
xBranx
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I love this because I could tell how honest and pumped you were when you wrote it. I love The Menzingers and I'm so happy they're popping off.
09:11 AM on 06/02/14
ACA
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The Menzingers are pretty entertaining live act, but I've never heard a song from them that made me think, "I have to listen to this band". Along with The Wonder Years, these guys absolutely define completely average pop-punk.
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