Before the start of the new millennium, MXPX, Zebrahead, and Allister dropped albums that would become staples in their career. The simple glance of these three band names on the same tour flyer in 2014 sends shocks of nostalgia. For some, including myself, these bands were a part of their listening regimen in high school. For others, these bands were the soundtrack to their college party. On Thursday, Gramercy Theatre unexpectedly found itself somewhere between a high school reunion and a frat party. It was very scarce to find someone under the age of 21 at the gig.
This was show number 174 in 2014 for New Jersey ska/pop punk outfit Survay Says, and you could barely find one shred of fatigue from the outfit during their performance. The band, which features brothers Henry Menzel and Dennis "D.Jay" Menzel, certainly showed that long treks on the road can make a band stronger with a near flawless set in front of a welcoming audience. Tracks like "Cake Eater", "Anger", and "Denial" got a small section of the crowd on their feet. The band will encounter show number 191 when they perform at The Fest later this month, and you can be sure they'll round that up to 200 gigs before the year ends.
Chicago pop punk outfit Allister have been floating here and there since their 2010 reunion show at the Bamboozle Chicago. Many fans in attendance were unaware of the band's past two albums: 2010's Countdown to Nowhere and 2012's Life Behind Machines. In order to mostly focus on the fan favorites, such as "Scratch" and set closer "Somewhere On Fullerton", the band only touched one track ("5 Years") from their newer material.
Japan's favorite band Zebrahead haven't performed in New York since their 2006 Warped Tour stint. Since then, the California band have released four records that have debuted in the top 10 in Japan. While their success in The Land of the Rising Sun is grandiose, the band were itching to perform in the United States again. While the band played Scott Stapp's performance of the Star Spangled Banner, the entire crowd enthusiastically joined along before the band jumped on stage to kick things off with "Rescue Me" from their 2003 album MFZB, which was the furthest they reached into their discography that evening. Ali Tabatabaee kept the crowd entertained with jokes and even allowing fans to hang out by their bar on stage. With promises of hitting up the Big Apple very soon, fans felt secure in knowing they wouldn't have to wait another 8 years to catch Ali & Co. live.
The last time MXPX performed in NYC was during their 20th anniversary tour back in 2012. With their latest acoustic album, the band are embarking on another 20 years of punk rock. Opening with "Tomorrow's Another Day" from their Gold album Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo, the band made the 20-somethings in attendance feel like teens all over again. Most of the band's set was material from their 1996 album Life In General, which featured "Today is In My Way", "Move To Bremerton", and a bass heavy " Chick Magnet".
With so many releases, there's always the possibility of a band member not having the entire catalog at home. After "Middlename", frontman Mike Herrera joked about not owning the band's 1998 live album At the Show. MXPX also performed two covers: "Longview" by Green Day, which featured guitarist Tom Wisniewski eloquently channeling Billy Joe Armstrong, and Bryan Adam's "Summer of 69". Ending their set with "Punk Rock Show", which is the entire crux of the evening, MXPX left their fans satisfied with the aroma of sweat and beer. (Terrance Pryor)