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Photo Gallery: The Menzingers / Tigers Jaw / Culture Abuse at The Granada

Greg Barnett of The Menzingers. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
The Menzingers' show in Lawrence earlier this month was its biggest headlining gig in the Kansas City metro yet. After a modest gig at recordBar and opening slots with acts like Frank Turner and NOFX, the Scranton band's slow-and-steady decade on the melodic-punk grind afforded them The Granada. The band's ascent feels an exception to the rule for punk bands of their ilk in the '10s, but their songwriting prowess and high-energy performances -- guitarist Tom May refused to stop hopping! -- make it clear how exceptional they really are. Fans excitedly crowd-surfed to the morbidly nostalgic "High School Friend," but otherwise, most were content to stand still, occasionally sing along, and soak in the band's power chord Americana. It was perhaps the least raucous a successful punk show could be. Other highlights included gorgeous guitar tones and sober instrumental pauses on the slow-burning "Last To Know" and a wholesome, smiling rendition of "Casey" (preceded by rambling, interview-length backstory on the song).

Fellow Scrantonites Tigers Jaw preceded The Menzingers with a 45-minute set of clean and bouncy, but not over-sweet pop-punk tunes. While much of the music in the middle of the set bled together, fan favorites like the punchy "I Saw Water" and moody "Slow Come On" made the outing worthwhile.

Despite insisting throughout the set that they were The Menzingers (and sometimes Tigers Jaw), David Kelling was clearly fronting Bay Area punk band Culture Abuse. Though they're signed to Epitaph Records, the band's risk-taking nature makes them feel almost entirely DIY still. To keep up with the roar of his band's guitars, Kelling's vocals were elevated to a throaty shout through most of the set (like a slightly less ferocious Damian Abraham). Most songs were more exciting for it -- the quiet, poppy "Goo" took on a more Ramones-y vibe -- but a couple suffered, like "S'Why," which sorely missed its charming backing vocals. Regardless, a room that began largely clueless as to the band's identity seemed happy to know Culture Abuse by the time they left the stage.

Full photo gallery here.

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