In which 2013 brings back live shows and regular posts (hep, hep!)

Listening to: Shady Hawkins, “Dead to Me”

Back here on rudietuesdays, the new year seems an appropriate time to start blogging again every Tuesday. My posts have severely lacked this year due to overwhelming, draining, and rewarding weeks of professional volunteering. But 2013 is a new start. And the beginning of January, so they say, is a great time to resolve to do things. So, rudie is back on Tuesdays.

To kick off my new start are shows that reinvigorated my love of seeing bands live. 2012 proved to be an awful year for me and attending live shows. The symbolic end of 2012, the end of my professional volunteering job, nearly immediately and exponentially increased the number of shows I’ve attended as of late.

Just a few days before Christmas, I consecutively attended a Slackers show on Long Island and a Fucked Up/Lemuria show in Brooklyn.

RUDE AND RECKLESS

I find it basically impossible not to smile at ska shows. The thing is, they’re just plain fun. It’s way too difficult to be mad. And with music that’s got upbeats like this, I don’t know why someone would want to try.

The Slackers at Revolution

The Slackers at Revolution

A lot of times I don’t miss a lot of things about Long Island when I’m not there, but The Slackers’ show was an instant reminder of one of the place’s few great qualities. The Slackers have gotten mellow after spending so many years gelling as a band. This last time I saw them felt like the first time I wasn’t just attending one of their shows. The guys are generally all smiles, especially Marcus, who just has the brightest and most genuine smile (and is also the snappiest dresser, I might add).

This time, they were also the most relaxed I’ve seen. It felt like we were 60 of their closest friends and just happened to be at this venue with all of this perfect equipment lying around. The guys saw it and figured, “Hey, let’s jam.” They went on an awesome tangent mid-song where they showed how any song could fit into the chord progression of “Manuel.” They later spent a good few minutes covering pieces of songs by every musician who had a picture of the walls in the venue.

The crowd was older, except for one kid who looked about 17 or 18 and hadn’t yet grown out of the practice of running around the room bumping into everyone in what he seemed to think would be the best course of action to get them up and dancing. Of course, it didn’t work, and just ended up pissing off a lot of people and spilling their drinks. But he sure did look like he was having a great time. And on top of that, I was honestly thrilled to see that Skankin’ Rich was still rocking hard on the scene. I doubt I’ve seen him since my junior year of high school or so. (Yup, I remember the days before Facebook, when he just had a MySpace, and that page was kickin’. Er, skankin’.)

I also learned of The Pandemics, a local ska band I hadn’t heard of before. They were incredible. My favorite act other than The Slackers. Check them out here.

BKLYN COMES TO LIFE

Oh, how I love Fucked Up. For years I’ve just been in awe of the strong, incredibly powerful, raw, true, and gut-wrenching kind of music they create. And wow, did they deliver. In every way The Slackers were like a personal, chill jam session, Fucked up were like a personal, sweaty, ear drum-busting, throat-ripping basement show on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Ted Leo with Lemuria?

Ted Leo with Lemuria?

The opened right up with “Queen of Hearts,” probably my favorite song by them, and really, how could they have started with anything else? Nothing makes me yearn for life and change that could happen, places and people and ideas I could encounter, ways I could be, quite like that song. I could follow them around the country on tour and they could open every show with that song and I would never stop loving it.

And the energy and quality just never stopped. The set was heavy on “David Comes to Life” songs, but also had a good assortment of music from their other albums, both EP and LP. And let’s face it, “David” is really the epic love saga of our hardcore generation, and it’s done incredibly well.

One of my favorite things about Fucked Up is how raw and intense their music is, but how fun-loving and funny the guys and gal in the band are. Pink Eyes never stopped joking around, even during songs. At one point he picked up a kid, damsel-in-distress-style, who had surfed to the front of the stage. He then brought the kid around to the other bandmates so each could give him a kiss on the cheek, before gently lowering him back down into the careful and loving arms of the punks that engulfed him.

HEY, LEMURIA’S OVER HERE

Lemuria is a band I’ve only started loving recently, but their catchy pop and so damn truthful lyrics are hard to stop listening to. Before the show, I’d only heard their albums and hadn’t yet seen them live. I wasn’t super thrilled with their live performance — the sound was different from their albums and seemed to lack some of the magic I could hear in the prerecorded songs.

Still, they held their own and took charge of the stage. I could tell they were having fun with it, and I think shows are always more enjoyable when I can tell the band is having a good time, too. And I might be crazy, but I’m pretty sure Ted Leo showed up at the end of their set to sing an apocalyptic song? After all, it was the day the world was supposed to end.

The show as a whole was just so powerful and is up there among the most amazing shows I’ve seen. The Slow Death are playing Long Island at the end of the month and Desaparecidos are playing Brooklyn in February with Man Man. Lucero, The Queers and others will also be in the area in the coming months.

2013, you’ve got a lot to live up to. But you’ve also got a lot of promise.

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