By Dean Birkheimer
“Punk isn’t a genre of music, it’s a thought process.” – Dominic Owen Mallary
My wife and I drove up to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area from Omaha, Nebraska for this show, and before I actually begin the concert review, I’d like to do a short review of the venue. The Myth Live is actually in Mapleton, Minnesota. It’s located in the part of town where there is a mall, a Best Buy and several chain restaurants. The Myth Live is a converted “Just for Feet Store” hence, tons of free parking. Everybody I had contact with that represented The Myth was professional and cordial. From the ticket takers to security. The venue itself is set up very nicely with plenty of room on the floor, raised sides and rear and an upper level that had sofas, bleachers and its own bar. The photo pit is large, and the stage isn’t set so high that you can’t get good shots of the performers. The Myth Live is a top-notch venue that can handle any show and/or event.
Now on to the show – First up The Homeless Gospel Choir. The entire Choir is made up of one fella. Derek Zanetti from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He comes on stage with a rose printed shirt and an acoustic guitar. He’s classified as a folk-punk musician, but to me he is more of a punk rock story teller. He has stories about humanity, mental health, being normal and positivity. He shares each songs story with the audience and just before playing it he tells us it’s “a protest song”. During one story we saw a nerf arrow fly from stage left and connect squarely with Dereks hat, knocking it to the stage floor. We found out later that the archer was none other than Frank Turner. Derek exudes an honesty that is un-mistaken. His lyrics can be powerful and I’m sure in some cases for some people life changing. Derek had several great moments, but his best moment was the song “Normal”. This song pretty much detailed for us how Derek became the man he is. Listening to “Dookie” changed a young Derek and inspired him to grab a guitar, and being told, “You’re never gunna be normal, cause you’re a punk”. A big thank you to Green Day for inspiring Derek to become what he has become. Look for his upcoming August 18th album release “Normal” and while you’re at it, check out the video for “Normal” here. See if you can tell what iconic video he is copying, see below:
The Menzingers, are also a Pennsylvania based act who consist of Greg Barnett (guitar, vocals) – Tom May (guitar, vocals) – Eric Keen (bass) – and Joe Godino (drums). They came out blazing and immediately it was evident that they have a strong following. They just run you over with their music, barely pausing if at all between songs. They are able to work a crowd into a frenzy with their shout along lyrics. Every song was sung back at them, especially the infamous “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore”. Now in their 30’s we were treated to several songs off their latest LP “After the Party” This LP focuses on what it’s like and going to be like now that they are no longer in their 20’s. I can tell you this for sure, 20 or 30, their sound is still relevant and there will always be an audience for it and for them.
The next band has been around since 1998. They are from Memphis Tn and have 11 LP’s to their credit. They are considered one of the hardest working bands because of the amount of touring they do. Lucero is made up of five very talented musicians. Ben Nichols (vocals, guitars) – Roy Berry (drums) – John C. Stubblefield (bass) – Rick Steff (piano, organ) – Brian Venable (guitar). On this evening we would be treated to special event. Lucero is releasing a new LP titled “Among the Ghosts”. Release date is early August but tonight we would be treated to hearing the complete album. Many great songs are on this album, for example “For the Lonely Ones”, very up-beat and a kick-ass bassline. I especially like the way “To My Dearest Wife” starts. Nichols strumming on his guitar, then one instrument at a time joins in until we are blasted with sound. If you ever plan to visit Memphis do so during Lucero’s family block party. They held this even for twenty years now and it appears will go for another twenty.
This marks my third time seeing Frank Turner. First time in Omaha where he headlined and introduced me to the Smith Street Band. The 2nd time, also in Omaha, he opened for Flogging Molly. This was an outdoor venue and he was simply amazing. The thing I really love about Frank Turner is he makes serious and conscience decisions on who will open shows for him. He genuinely wants you to be entertained by the people/bands he enjoys or has a special connection with. For example, Lucero is a very influential band, many bands credit Lucero in some way or another. Later in the evening, Frank told us that he sports a Lucero tattoo and it was because of them he picked up an acoustic guitar. Nuff said. This would be show number 2198 for Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls and they showed up and performed as if it were the first time they’ve been on stage. This is the “Be More Kind” tour in support of their new album of the same name. The album was inspired by a poem by Clive James where, as he is dying of cancer, writes, “I should have been more kind. It is my fate to find this out but find it out too late”. Of the 23 songs on the set list, seven would be off the new album. This included the opening song of the evening 1933 which referenced the year the Nazi party acquired power in Germany. We also got to hear Little Changes, Be More Kind, 21st Century Survival Blues, Blackout, Going Nowhere and Make America Great Again. The album feels like a call for us to find each other and to treat everyone with care and respect. Frank isn’t just all about being serious. He likes to have fun as well. During If Ever I Stray he brought up a brother and sister (who were dressed in white shirt and black tie) and had them body surf from the front to the rear, then across each other, then back to the front. He himself crowd-surfed during I Still Believe, and he crowd simply ate it up. Frank is a one-of-a-kind performer and if he is ever near your town, or even if he isn’t, you really need to find a way to see him and his band perform. I promise you, you will never enjoy a better moment than you will encounter or even participate in when everybody sings “And I won’t sit down / And I won’t shut up, and most of all I won’t grow up”
Frank Turner Set List:
1933 – GET BETTER – THE NEXT STORM – LITTLE CHANGES – THE WAY I TEND TO BE – BE MORE KIND – I KNEW PRUFROCK BEFORE HE GOT FAMOUS – THE ROAD – 21ST CENTURY SURVIVAL BLUES – IF EVER I STRAY – TRY THIS AT HOME – MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN – THE OPENING ACT OF SPRING – LOVE 40 DOWN – TELL TALE SIGNS – BLACKOUT – OUT OF BREATH – PHOTOSYNTHESIS – GOING NOWHERE – I STILL BELIEVE – FOUR SIMPLE WORDS – POLAROID