Live Review: The Menzingers with Spanish Love songs and Mannequin Pussy. Friday 7th February 2019.

After the release of their 6th studio album, Hello Exile, in October 2019, Pennsylvania’s The Menzingers are currently on tour, starting in the USA last year, before coming over to Europe and the UK. I checked them out in Bristol.

The night was opened by Mannequin Pussy, a four-piece punk rock group, also from Pennsylvania. They played a selection of songs from their albums from over the years. A new find for me, this group’s out-there style was a great way to open up the night.

A short wait, and Spanish Love Songs were next on stage. After releasing their latest album, Brave Faces Everyone, earlier that day, as well as playing an acoustic set at The Exchange, these guys rocked the stage. Playing 10 songs, both from the latest release and previous albums, it set the tone for the night nicely.

Soon after, SWX was plunged into darkness and David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel started playing. Tension and excitement grew through the crowd, as we anticipated what was next.

Anna, the most popular track (according to Spotify) from the latest album was played first, and the crowd were already on their feet and moving. This was followed by The Obituaries, contrasting with a song from a slightly older album, and the crowd continued to jump and dance along. After this was  House on Fire, and the circle pits and singalongs ripped through the crowd. This was when the first crowd surfers started, and security had a fun job of getting them off the barrier.

Rodent, Portland and Good Things, followed, with more mosh pits and crowd surfers, including some dropped before even making it to the front. Luckily the alcohol meant it probably didn’t hurt too bad.  

This preceded Burn After Writing, Thick As Thieves and High School Friends, a good mix of songs to dance and drink to. Tellin’ Lies was song 10 of the night, with more moshing and crowd surfing, keeping security on their toes. Last To Know and Strangers Forever was next, and though these songs weren’t moshed to as much, they still went down excellently, and almost everyone was singing along.

A message to home – America You’re Freaking Me Out – was played next, before their definitive most popular song (again, according to Spotify), I Don’t Wanna Be An Assehole Anymore, was played. Somehow, the crowd moved even more, with the most surfers of the whole night. A massive thank you must be said to the security for dealing with it well.

Up next was Nice Things, Your Wild Years (with a special shout out to those who came to see The Menzingers last time they played in Bristol) and London Drugs, another song lifted from Hello Exile.

The band then played a cover of The Clash’s Death or Glory. Although not what most of us expected to be singing along to, it was still a welcome part of the set.

The (first) big finish of the night was Lookers, with more pits and a general enjoyment from the crowd. At the end of the song, the lights went out, the band left the stage and we all waited, knowing it wasn’t really the end.

After a few minutes, Greg, Tom, Eric and Joe came back to the stage for two more songs.

In remission, was first song of the encore, followed by another of The Menzingers biggest hits. After The Party ended the night, with a final bit of moshing and one last crowd surfer, the night was drawn to a close.

The only complaint I have about the night that SWX is the coldest venue I have ever been in. Never have I thought about getting my coat from the cloakroom before the gig has even started.

And with that, thanks must go to Mannequin Pussy, Spanish Love Songs and The Menzingers, as well as the staff and security at SWX.

Words by Ted Stargatt

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