It is an inspiring commodity witnessing a band that is able to transcend their work into a vast number of musical genres. The Menzingers perform acoustically and plugged more than a handful of times over the years in the tri-state area, and for fans each time is a moment to cherish. While their live shows bring alive the aggression and emotional frustrations of the lyrics that they write, acoustically they are translated significantly different.
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On Feb 1 the band started their string of acoustic in-store performances at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, where they were showcasing / signing their newest album “After the Party,” and playing a number of those songs for the first time live. Greg Barnett and Tom May have the beautiful gift of storytelling with their lyrics that make you think about the future, past, and present all at the same time. While they’re experiences as a band may have inspired these lyrics, the stories of love, regrets, and friendships are transferable to anybody no matter how old you are. While the lyrical content of “After the Party:” is relate-able to anyone growing up in their twenties and entering their thirties, that is only one part of why the performance was so impressionable. Acoustically all of these elements of storytelling, growing pains, celebrations, and woe, are turned into an honest and emotional commemoration of life. This punk band changes their identity to a country blues act whose music is a heart clenching, and the audience cannot help but sing along to the songs that they know because they are feeling this connection with the artists. Barnett’s and May’s deliveries during these shows are as natural as when they scream, and it is so interesting too see how they content can change its inflection. When they are angry they are pissed, but when they are emotional in this light they pull on your heartstrings. For anyone looking for an example, just go to the band’s demo of their hit album “On the Impossible Past,” which is called, “On the Possible Past.”
The band played 6 out of 13 of the new tracks live playing the single, “Bad Catholics” first. Throughout the performance they showcased other new tracks, “Midwestern States,” “The Bars,” “House on Fire,” “Black Mass.” And integrated in their set were some classic songs from their catalogue like, “Good Things,” “Burn After Reading,” “Gates,” and “I Don’t Want to Be an Ass-hole Anymore.” The highlight of the show was seeing them play their first single from the album, “Lookers” at the end of the set. The band has always proclaimed that New Jersey is their favourite place to play, and because the show was mostly filled with Jersey guys and gals, the lyrical content of spending time at the Wonder Bar, hanging out at the Asbury Lanes, and on the beach at night, and wondering how we wind up where we are in life, while simply looking at a picture from years ago was beyond relate-able.