Pop Punk Dead, Killers at Large - Concert Review 001

written by: Elijah Bennete

There is a lot of live music in New Jersey; too much to keep up with. So I do my best, go to shows when I can...see what's good, what's bad, & what makes me embarrassed to be there. This show was one I was embarrassed to be at. Bands stuck forever on the mid to late 00's punk pop phase with lyrics apt for when your girlfriend breaks up with you & the handjobs stop. But alas, it resonates with someone. 

Tug Of War Machine

Admittedly, I got to the show late and missed the first act. I was greeted, however, by someone who looks like a homeless character that gives you a challenge from a Tony Hawk game (I would like to warn you: there's a lot of Tony Hawk references coming your way tonight) talking about how he loves speedballs. Well, really 'cross fading' on anything. Taking it as a one-off occurrence I go into the show to find the band playing sounds like an amalgam of a mid 2000's punk/pop punk playlist with lyrics so poor that they inspire self doubt in my own efforts, leaving me to think "do I look like this when I shout out into the void?" For some reason they felt the world needed to hear them so bad that they brought two full stack amps for a crowd of fifty-ish people. Now, as they played through their set, it became hard to discern if it was one long song or if they were changing. Every song in & out, devoid of any essence. Thankfully, it was short.


With a warm up of covering the CKY song 99 Quite Bitter Beings who wouldn't be excited? Everyone wouldn't because Bam Margera's allure, & in turn CKY's, died with his fat uncle. But hey, who knows right? Now, with their first song my immediate thought wasn't that punk pop ever died, but rather murdered by bands who solely write songs to impress Alex Gaskarth.

Fronted by a man with a punchy voice, two guitarists, & completed by a drummer who loves his snare like Kanye loves Jesus we're treated to a band that again is twenty years too late. It sounds like a mix between Pennywise & Less Than Jake and we're treated to a lesson of why being you is the best thing you can be.

When they announced they were going to play a new song, I gotta say I was excited. I mean Harbour isn't bad as much as boring. Opening into their new song, while refined, you could have told me it was some song the Maine put our circa 2007 & I wouldn't have known any better. 

Fun little tunes are nice & catchy but at a point it's too much, right? Like we've been here & done this, so if you are going to go down this road at least take a different path. Otherwise, you are faced with another trite band that leaves me asking "Who feels like this?" because no one here does.

Keep Flying

My only thought when Keep Flying opened was someone was playing un-released Four Years Strong, complete with the backing vocals & metal inspired guitar. But, at least we are starting to cross over into the 2010's soundscape.

Now, Keep Flying employs a horn, a trumpet to be exact. Nothing like the sound of ska, however, more so used as a replacement for guitar to carry melody, but it didn't stop the guys in trap pants from skanking the night away. Falling flat, the possible savior of something unique, something possessing identity, proves to be nothing more than the remnants of someone's time in high school band.    

Lyrically, I bet someone had their heart broken. It seems like someone got hurt. I'm not here to judge how you deal with heart break (alright I am) but screaming incoherently over I–V–vi–IV might not be the best way to handle emotional distress, but hey it seemed to work before. 

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