BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
What. A. Night.
Pop punk will always be one of my favorite genres, so when I heard there was a bill combining some of today’s best punk artists on it, I jumped at the opportunity.
I was not disappointed.
Four bands combined to create one hell of a show at The Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha, Nebraska on Thursday, February 13, 2020. Grayscale, on a national tour with Hot Mulligan, WSTR, and Lurk, teamed up to pummel ear drums and dazzle the audience with incredible lighting and even better stage presences.
Lurk was up first. Hailing from Chicago, this band hit the stage and blasted with an old-school punk sound that resonated well with the audience. Vocalist Kevin Kiley is one tough motherfucker too. It turns out that just a few days before this show, he had appendicitis, had his appendix removed, and STILL turned up to rock the stage. Future legend might to on to add that he removed the appendix himself while on the bus with his bandmates, but only time will tell on that one. Signed to Pure Noise Records, they opened with “Tunnel Vision” and blasted out 13 tracks total. If you’re a fan of NOFX, Pennywise, or Bad Religion, you’ll definitely want to check these guys out – hella nice group of guys too!
WSTR was up next, and I was really excited for these guys. They’ve been a staple in my earholes for a few years now, and while they’ve only got two albums under their belt, I hope this outfit from Liverpool continues to grow and gain momentum, because, well, they’re fucking fantastic. Vocalist Sammy Clifford thanked the audience for coming to see a band from all the way overseas, and delivered a spectacular performance. Bassist Alex Tobijanski and guitarist Tom Hawkes did a great job of getting the crowd off their feet with smooth and gritty notes, and drummer Andy Makin was just as incredible as expected. With the crowd starting to grow larger as the night went on, Clifford held the microphone out to the audience to let them sing along during their hit “Eastbound & Down,” and closed out with a mosh pit on “Crisis.” New Found Glory and Neck Deep fans – do yourselves a favor and give these guys a listen. You won’t be disappointed!
Hot Mulligan followed about 20 minutes after the change up, and hot damn, they were incredible. Hailing from Michigan, their honest and vulnerable lyrics went over well with the audience, and their sound had a unique mix of Motion City Soundtrack meets Trash Boat meets Knuckle Puck. Vocalist Tades Sansville hardly stood still, energizing the crowd and requesting – and receiving – multiple mosh pits during the set. Their most notable tracks included, “All You Wanted by Michelle Branch” and “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” which were sang back in unison by the hundreds of people who packed into the venue.
Grayscale was up next, and they entered the stage to massive applause. Moderately dressed, their light show was anything but. Hailing from Pennsylvania with two full-length studio albums under their belt, they’re on tour now promoting their new album Nella Vita, which is absolutely beautiful, and one day maybe I’ll do a review on it. It’s honest, raw, and definitely worth a listen. Fans responded by both moshing and crowd surfing, with each person being let safely down to the ground. Vocalist Collin Walsh celebrated one fan who jumped late into the crowd after finishing one song, saying, “Well…it’s not the best timing there guy but uh…let’s give that guy a round of applause!” He also made sure that the crowd stayed moving, saying, “What day even is it? Thursday? Friday? Fuck it, it’s basically the weekend. Let’s move!”
They continued to pummel the audience with their unique style of punk rock for the remainder of the night, and while Walsh admitted that he didn’t know much about Nebraska other than that we had a Hurts Donuts and Hurbie Husker, he made note to state that this was his favorite stop on the tour yet thanks to the amazing audience. And I for one was super happy that they came to Omaha. They can bury me in violet anytime they roll through.
Special shout out to the staff at the Waiting Room for always being awesome and making sure things run as smoothly as possible. Y’all are the real MVP’s, keeping the punk scene alive booking shows like this.
Until next time guys!