REVIEW: The Menzingers at SWX Bristol

PUBLISHED: 20:00 11 February 2020

The Menzingers' Greg Barnett Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

The Menzingers' Greg Barnett Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

Sarah Smith

The Menzingers made a triumphant return to Bristol on Friday night.

Spanish  Love Songs frontman Dylan Slocum Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig PhotographySpanish Love Songs frontman Dylan Slocum Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

The evening of self-deprecating top draw post punk, at a packed and sweltering SWX, opened with the wonderfully named Mannequin Pussy.

Playing tracks from their latest album Patience, the Philadelphia four-piece's heady mix of grunge, post punk, and searing introspection was a the perfect opener for a night of post-punk rich with searing introspection.

What made MP stick in my mind though was their ability to swing from a dreamy laid-back almost indie sound, to all out punk fuelled rage seemingly on a dime, buoyed on by lead singer Marisa Dabice's incredible vocal talents.

Needless to say I will be checking them out next time they're in town, and you should too.

Spanish Love Songs guitarist Kyle McAulay Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig PhotographySpanish Love Songs guitarist Kyle McAulay Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

Next up were California's own Spanish Love Songs.

Releasing their third album, Brave Faces Everyone, the very same day, it's clear these guys, if there is any justice in the world, are destined for big things.

Driving guitars, killer riffs and lead singer, Dylan Slocum's unflinchingly truthful vocals - part scathing social commentary, part live panic attack, combined to create a set best described as the catchiest existential crisis I have ever seen.

Stand outs included Loser (Parts One and two) , and Self Destruction (as a sensible career choice), which saw the audience break out into the first big sing-a-long of the evening as fans near the front sang 'it won't be this bleak forever, yeah right'.

The Menzingers' Tom May Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig PhotographyThe Menzingers' Tom May Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

As a member of the over worked, underpaid, and left to rot generation, Slocum's dreary lyrics and desperate delivery certainly struck a chord.

Check them out, check out the new album, and prepare to find your new favourite band.

Finally, The Menzingers hit the stage to the tune of Bowie's Rebel Rebel, to rapturous cheers.

Wasting no time the band broke into their wistful new single of lost love and better times - Anna, before sliding straight into fan favourite The Obituaries.

The Menzingers bassist Eric Keen. Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig PhotographyThe Menzingers bassist Eric Keen. Pictures: Sarah Smith Gig Photography

This saw the pit erupt, and everyone sing along to the tune of 'I will f*** this up, I f***ing know it', while a wave of crowd surfers almost crash into the assembled group of gig photographers, as they careened over the barrier into the waiting arms of security.

This set the trend for the whole evening, as a party atmosphere took over the venue as The Menzingers delivered a barnstorming set full of fan favourites and the best tracks from their latest album In Exile with , as singer Tom May quipped, all the excitement of a Disney pirate.. Highlights included their rallying cry against the dangers of consumerism - Nice Things, apologetic love letter to the recently dumped, and emotionally stunted - I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore, and Tellin' Lies - which sums up the bewildering feeling of hitting your 30's and watching the world fall apart just perfectly.

While, new tunes Highschool Friends, the Trump baiting America I Love You (But You're Freaking Me Out), and the blistering Strangers Forever all hit the mark and then some.

The Scranton Punks rounded out their main set with a cracking rendition of The Clash's Death or Glory before circling back to finish their main set with one final tale of nostalgic navel gazing and what-iffery with the wonderful Lookers,

The Menzingers then returned for a two song encore, dedicating the sarcastically upbeat and hopeful In Remission to Spanish Love Songs, before ending the Night with the spellbinding After The Party, for one last huge sing-a-long, reminding the crowd that even though the guys on stage would like to get famous, they're more than happy to just watch several hundred happy fans dance in a basement, or in this case a dimly lit club in Bristol.


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