The Jasons / Latecomer / Jerk! / Bottle Rat (Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA 05/06/2022)

This review is better late than never…don’t blame me, blame Dying Scene for being on “vacation”…Anyway, with MC5 playing in the street, and The Chats, Mean Jeans and Thick playing a few more towns far, I don’t know what to expect as far as turnout goes on this rainy Friday in Pittsburgh. To make things more uncertain, it was my first time in this place, which didn’t exist before I started a decade of living in New York and New Jersey. One thing was clear that night: people are showing up for The Jasons. It helped that the bill was also pretty stacked with pop punk veterans, Latecomer, Jerk! (on tour from Las Vegas) and Bottle Rat, whose members have been doing the punk thing for what feels like decades.

Cattivo in the Lawrenceville area of ​​Pittsburgh was not at all what I expected. I was expecting a small to medium sized bar that might or might not have a stage. I was wrong. This is a split level venue where The Jasons show was held downstairs. The venue and stage were a decent size and there was a cash bar serving drinks. The room offered plenty of standing room. plenty of space for band merch and the bathroom was acceptable. Places like this are not uncommon, but it had been a while since I had been. Aside from the shiny curtain at the back of the stage creating the backdrop, there’s really nothing memorable about this place. You could say the focus is on groups, which is always a good thing.

The first group was Bottle Rat. If you’ve been in the Pittsburgh punk scene for the past twenty years, you’ve definitely seen these guys in one band or another. There’s something about Bottle Rat that takes me back a decade to what I remember loving the Pittsburgh punk sound. The best way to describe Pittsburgh and Bottle Rat’s sound is an energetic, growling, anthemic, blue-collar street punk style. Every song is a toe tap, some songs are even hand claps, and there’s just something about these guys that makes you want more. This performance was no exception. You can bet I’ll be seeing these guys a lot in the future and I gave away their album, All my friends are animals a few laps from the show.

Shake!

Next is Jerk!, on tour from Las Vegas, NV. I’ve been following this band since I first heard about it from Mom’s Basement Records and was immediately intrigued. Shake! plays a sort of pop punk/ramonescore hybrid with a drummer who reminds me of Bill Stevenson both in looks and playing style. Their set was great fun and featured a ton of upbeat and pop songs. The only album I’ve ever heard from them is “Panic Attack” and they made sure to hit a ton of songs on that album. They also performed their version of the Screeching Weasel song, “Guest List”, which is always a crowd pleaser. We don’t know when Jerk! will be back in the ‘Burgh again, but when they are I’ll be there!

Latecomer

The last opener of the night was Latecomer. I have known Zach and Pete since they were in their first band, Shuttlecocks, over ten years ago and have had the pleasure of playing gigs with the latter band. These guys have been killing it for years and every time they get on stage it gets more and more polished. They deliver a brand of catchy as hell songs that never disappoint and remind me of bands like the Jetty Boys, Dopamines, the old Menzingers and a bolder Green Day. They have a few releases at this point and made sure to play songs from each of them during their set. The crowd started to really fill up around this time and everyone knew their songs and provided a lot of crowd participation. Always a good sign for a group. It was really nice to hear some of my favorite songs like “All My Friends” and “Refrigerator” again. The Laggards have always been very active, so if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and they’re playing be sure to check them out!

Jasons

Headlining the night was The Jasons from Crystal Lake, NJ! Boy these guys have a sequel. What’s great about them is that while they’re playing ramonescore style pop punk, you’ll see people from all different sub-genres of punk come out and support them! I’ve seen them several times at this point and the show just keeps getting better. Mainly because The Jasons have it all… a uniformed look, between song banter, a big stage presence and a great stage show… oh yeah, the songs are that catchy too. As soon as the first note sounded, the pit opened, fists went up and the excitement began. The Jasons then ripped through classics like “Blood in the Streets”, “Get Fucked”, “I Wanna Be An Asshole”, “Dead Fuck” and “JJ Was a Headbanger”. Overall the set was flawless, right down to the smoke machines in sync with the music, and after a quick (and forced) encore, the set was over and so was the show.

It’s been a minute since I attended a concert where I really loved all the bands on the lineup. It was also nice to see a ton of familiar Pittsburgh faces and I look forward to more shows like this to come. Thanks to all the bands, Cattivo and promoter Some Die Nameless!


Jack C. Nugent