The Menzingers, Touché Amoré and Screaming Females at the House of Independents in Asbury Park (03/11/2022)

The Menzingers are on the road to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their seminal album On the impossible past and they brought Touché Amoré and Screaming Females with them. The tour officially kicked off last week in Asbury Park at the House of Independents with what turned into a 4 night run. I say “officially” only because the band attended Fest 20 in Gainsville, Florida the weekend before. But by the way, 10 years of water under the bridge may seem like the blink of an eye to some and an eternity to others. For The Menzingers, 2012 not only played them in seedy basements and DIY skate parks, but also in huge sports arenas (as openings for A Day To Remember) as well as large concert halls (as openings for Taking Back Sunday). To put things into perspective, 2012 was the year Barack Obama won his second term as President of the United States, Vladimir Putin also won election in his second round as President of Russia, Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast, the Sandy Hook Massacre took place, and Washington State became the first state in the union to legalize marijuana for personal recreational use. 2012 was also the year ‘Linsanity’ took the NBA by storm, Whitney Houston passed away and in the world of pop music, it was Katy Perry and Adele who crushed all competition with the #1 song. after song #1. But I’ll take a chance and say that as far as Dying Scene readers go, as far as music events go, these pale in comparison to the release of On the impossible past by Philadelphia (via Scranton, PA) very own The Menzingers.

Released in February 2012 on Epitaph Records, AOIP was a bit different from the 2010s Chamberlain waits. Where Chamberlain and their earlier releases were downright punk, on Impossible Past the band seemed to be making a concerted effort to be more melodic. This in turn allowed the stories of each of the songs to be more front and center. The shift from punk to some kind of melodic/pop punk mix isn’t always welcomed by a band’s fanbase, but in the case of The Menzingers, their loyal fans fell in love to begin with. The album, to date, is often considered by many to be their finest work, this despite some truly stellar albums being released later.

The Menzingers at the Maison des Indépendants

That brings me to last Thursday night in Asbury Park for the tour’s opening night. I wasn’t sure if they were going to do the album in chronological order or mix it up and I wasn’t totally sure which side I was leaning on when it came to a preference. Sometimes the sequencing of tracks on an album doesn’t always translate to the correct flow for a live show, but as I’ll soon find out, AOIP is one of those albums that works perfectly live from start to finish. Clearly, the opening lines of “I had a horrible time, pulling myself together” from the opening track “Good Things” are a true microcosm of what many of us have been through for the past 10 years, and HOLY HELL, what a way to start a set! And from the start, we were off running. Next up was of course “Burn After Writing” with its “Do my hands tell a story?” call-and-response line. Are you bored? Hell no, so far it was nothing even remotely boring.

Joe Godino (drums) Tom May (guitar) & Eric Keen (bass)

Those who knew the album already knew what was to come and by “those” I mean pretty much every sweaty body on The House. “Obituaries” started with that Tom’s strumming chord and before Eric and Joe could kick off their pounding beats, the whole room (or at least as far as I could see) was one big throb, jumping, screaming and slamming mosh pity.

Greg Barnett

The band seemed to be having a blast on stage (even more than usual). Tom was, as usual, a non-stop jumping machine, bouncing around the stage saying every word (especially while Greg was singing into the mic). Following the sequencing of the album worked perfectly because everyone in the room knew what was coming next and was in the queue at the start of each new song. We had a little story from Greg regarding “Mexican Guitars” but overall there really wasn’t too many onstage banter from the guys. Looking back, this lack of Greg and Tom talking about the songs kinda bummed me out but then I thought ehhhh, we can save that for the VH1 Behind The Music 20th anniversary episode of the album.

At the end of the album’s “Freedom Bridge” and its lines, “something happened on the way to hell”, Tom assured the crowd that things were far from over as the group began “I Don’t Want To Be An Asshole Anymore”. ” of impossible pastthe follow-up album praised world. With its blowing chords and anthemic chorus, the crowd once again erupted in the frenzy that Menzinger fans have come to know and love about their shows. Needless to say, what was left was essentially a best-of-the-rest set from the band. “House On Fire” to “Anna” to “In Remission” to “Lookers” to “Your Wild Years” and a closing of the evening with “After The Party”.

Greg and Tom of the Menzingers

For my part, I was 100% satisfied with what the boys from Pennsylvania gave us. I was pretty much drenched in sweat from head to toe. I got a decent bruise on the side of my head after I got kicked in the noggin by a crowd surfer who I didn’t see coming because he was too busy browsing the stage through the my camera lens (something I know is risky in front of a Menzinger pit, but sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do). And my throat was sore and hoarse from screaming words at the top of my lungs.

Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females

I would be remiss if I did not mention and/or share a few words about the opening bands that grace the stage with The Menzingers on this tour. The first were the New Jersey Screaming Females. I’ve seen this band many times over the years, but not that many in the last 5 years. Anyway, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen them where I haven’t been completely blown away. Marissa Paternoster, in my humble opinion, is one of, if not the best, punk guitarists today. His guitar chops are simply unmatched. I could listen to her and watch her play guitar night after night and still experience something mind-blowing every time.

Jérémy Bolm of Touché Amoré

With the unenviable task of having to not only follow The Screaming Females, but also precede The Menzingers, was Touché Amoré from Los Angeles. Knowing the band only by name, I was completely unprepared for the onslaught and fury that vocalist Jeremy Bolm and the rest of the crew were about to unleash on myself and the people present. Although I don’t usually like their style of post-hardcore punk, I have to admit that the energy, wit and overall ferocity of their set was eye opening for me.

All in all, I have to say that while ‘anniversary’ tours can sometimes be nothing more than a cash grab, and often prove somewhat cringe-worthy, this romp through the country by The Menzingers to celebrate On the impossible past seems to be anything but. Above all, it helps that the band itself is at the top of its game. No, let me correct that, they’re not at the top of their game at all, because they just seem to be getting better and better, they haven’t even reached the top yet. Second, AOIP is such a stellar LP that paying homage to it, playing it cover to cover, is pop-punk heaven. And finally, the first parts of Screaming Females and Touché Amoré shake the crowd. They take things to a whole new level, which even IF the Menzingers were inclined to send it to, they never could because they’re being pushed so hard by those two openers.

This tour has just started, so by all means check your local listings and if it’s going through a town near you, do yourself a favor and go see the show,

The Menzinger Slideshow

Slideshow of screaming women

Slideshow Touched Amoré

Jack C. Nugent