Every punk fan has their gateway band that really introduced them and made them fall in love with the genre. Unless you came out of the womb with a mohawk yelling oi with a Crass patch pinned to your diaper, odds are your first exposure was a pop-punk or skate punk band. For me, that band was MxPx… their songs about growing up were one of the ways I got through my early teenage years. 18 years ago, it was nearly impossible to find me walking around without my trusty discman blasting Let It Happen everywhere I went.
Yet somehow for 18 years, I never got a chance to see MxPx live, so when I saw that they were playing Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church basement I bought tickets quite literally the minute they went on sale (and a good thing as well because both nights sold out incredibly fast).
I bought tickets for the first night, and when I got to the intimate church basement, The Ataris just finished up and MxPx was setting up. The church was packed and even in the frigid winter temperatures of the mid-atlantic, the church was sweaty and sweltering hot as usual.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from them setlist-wise. I’ll be honest, the last album I really knew by heart was Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo and everything before it, with a few songs off their turn of the millennium release The Ever Passing Moment. Luckily for me, Mike, Yuri, Tom, and one new supporting member playing second guitar took the stage to a roar of applause and screams, and kicked things off with Ever Passing Moment opener “My Life Story” before tearing into posi-anthem “Tomorrow’s Another Day” as the place erupted with people shouting along, jumping around, and stage diving.
Much to mine and the rest of the crowd’s delight, MxPx played a set heavy on songs from both Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo and Life In General with a few from other albums sprinkled in. Mike Herrera and crew kept things incredibly high energy as they jumped around and sounding tight as hell.
The band mentioned how they wanted to play the church, and how it reminded them of places they used to play when they first were starting out years ago (and respect to them, as they opted to play an intimate church basement when they could have easily booked and sold out a much bigger venue). Taking some time to give some background on certain songs (such as G.S.F being written for a friend who was going through a nasty breakup) or about when they recorded their live album at Philly’s TLA, MxPx seemed like they were genuinely stoked to be there playing just as much as we were excited to see them.
As they ripped through the soundtrack of many of our teenage lives, the 13 year old in me really wanted to lose my shit and jump off of a speaker or something (and I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for this damn concussion that has me sidelined). An incredibly fun and tight show, I can’t believe it took me so long to finally see one of the most important punk bands to me personally. Hopefully this isn’t the last time they come to the church.
My Life Story
Tomorrow’s Another Day
Invitation To Understanding
Move To Bremerton
Cold And All Alone
Heard That Sound
Do Your Feet Hurt
I’m OK, You’re OK
Party, My House, Be There
The Downfall Of Western Civilization
Should I Stay Or Should I Go (The Clash)
Punk Rawk Show