On a stormy, tornado watch Saturday night, I headed out to Lancaster, PA’s Chameleon Club to catch my favorite NJ mooches The Bouncing Souls since they weren’t making a Philly stop. I haven’t been to Chameleon Club in a good 11 years since I last saw Streetlight Manifesto there back in 2007, and the long narrow room was pretty packed out when I got there, which was right in time for Crazy & The Brains set.
Crazy & The Brains
I’ve heard of them before but never actually got a chance to listen to them so wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Hailing from Jersey City, NJ, their latest EP Out In The Weedz released this month was actually recorded by Bouncing Souls guitarist Pete Steinkopf. Crazy & The Brains are a bit tough to pin down as far as style goes… they’ll mix classic catchy punk rock with xylophones which actually works pretty damn well, and reminds me a bit of The World Inferno Friendship Society’s more punk songs a bit.
They played an enjoyable set, and I’ve definitely been giving their EP a few listens since. If you dig World Inferno at all, or just enjoy rock influenced punk, they’re definitely worth checking out.
Video by youtube user: DirtySanchez76
A crossover thrash band may seem a little out of place opening for the Bouncing Souls, but I was actually really pumped to see Richmond, Virginia’s Iron Reagan as I never had a chance before. Playing no bullshit crossover thrash, the band features members of Municipal Waste, former members of both A.N.S and Darkest Hour. Perhaps predictably, they sound like school Municipal Waste (who I’m a huge fan of), with maybe a few extra metal riffs thrown in for good measure.
I wasn’t exactly sure how the crowd would react, but if the random Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies shirts were any indication it was pretty clear that there were plenty just as excited as I was to be seeing them. As Iron Reagan ripped through their set, they had plenty of people headbanging, circle pitting and shouting along. The band joked about being a crossover thrash band on a punk set, but ensured the crowd that they were rooted in punk, but just have better hair.
A tight set, Iron Reagan is a band that definitely needs to be checked out if you dig bands like Municipal Waste or D.R.I… although if you dig crossover thrash in any way, you’re probably already listening to these dudes.
The Bouncing Souls
Video by youtube user: DirtySanchez76
Growing up in NJ, The Bouncing Souls have always had a huge influence on my life from my angsty teenage years to my well into the 30s give me Tylenol after sets years (because I’m probably too old to be in the pit for the majority of shows but fuck it… Young Til I Die or something.) They’ve gotten me through some rough patches in my life, I’ve seen them countless (ok probably pushing 40-50?) times at this point, and I always have a blast seeing them (and fuck, I just realized how truly devastated I’ll be if they ever break up).
The Souls took the stage as chants of “OLE” rang throughout the small venue, and immediately opened and got us moving with “Hopeless Romantic”. Following that up with “The Gold Song”, The Bouncing Souls played an energetic and fun set as usual. At one point, the band asked the crowd if they’d rather hear “Quick Check Girl”, “Argyle” or “Born To Lose”. “Born To Lose won out through applause (although personally my vote would have been “Argyle” although I love all three).
Surprisingly, The Bouncing Souls only played one song off their latest album Simplicity, putting a stronger focus on everything from Maniacal Laughter through The Gold Record with a pretty heavy emphasis on How I Spent My Summer Vacation, which made for a killer set (including some of my personal favorites such as “The Freaks, The Nerds And The Romantics”, “Midnight Mile”, “Say Anything”, “Kid”, and “Born Free”). These guys have been at it for almost 30 years now, and still throw one of the best shows around.
The Gold Song
The Ballad Of Johnny X
Kate Is Great
Lean On Sheena
East Coast! Fuck You!
Sing Along Forever
Born To Lose
The Something Special
The Freaks, The Nerds, And The Romantics
Kids And Heroes
Night On Earth