With ski masks, “F You’s” to the right wing and nostalgia, the Fat Wreck Chords 2013 tour slammed into Summit Music Hall on Friday. Casual and diehard punks alike showed up to get down to Less Than Jake, Anti-Flag and Masked Intruder. But the story of the night swirled around Get Dead, the newest label addition to the tour, who flipped their van two days earlier. Thankfully no one “got dead,” in the accident as Masked Intruder singer, Intruder Blue, quipped. Get Dead did eventually arrive in Denver to greet Anti-Flag on stage as the group finished its set.
Masked Intruder started the chilly night off with ski masks and moxy as they rallied the slowly growing crowd with pop-punk love songs. While pitch perfect for a theme band, they might not be the most inconspicuous burglars — their equipment is less sophisticated than, say, Vamonos Pest’s, is all. With primary colored instruments that match each member’s specific mask, these guys had serious fun inspired by the goofiest sources. The Summit audience’s favorite part of the set was clearly the band’s hype-man in a cop uniform — a love affair formed between the two during the performance.
Anti-Flag set up its 20-year-old soap box and did even more intense crowd work. Bassist Chris Barker seemed to be reading from a script as he told the audience, “Denver, you have beautiful voices. We know you can sing! But you need to step it up one! More! Time!” and “I’m saying it right now, this is the best stop on the tour — no question! But we have work to do brothers and sisters!” Add a few f- yous to your choice of right-wing authority figures and Anti-Flag delivered well-rehearsed set. “This Is The End (For You My Friend)” maybe had the most dynamic circle pit of the night, too. The last song, as Get Dead was checking in with their tour-mates, brought Barker and drummer Pat Thetic (with their instruments) into the crowd.
The night’s headliner, Less Than Jake, just released a new album after 21 years of prolific ska-ing. The years have been kind to the Gainesville, Florida band. After a few quick hits from “Losing Streak,” singer/guitarist Chris Demakes started waxing nostalgic with some audience members. Most memorably, Demakes invited a woman to come up on stage, but she refused, offering her daughter instead. The special relationship between the entire band and “Mom” was revisited after every other song. It led to a lot of “If this new song was released in 1997, you all would be s—ing your pants,” followed by “Which isn’t far off because half of you were in diapers in 1997.” The new stuff did go over well, but was dwarfed by the reception of the old material.
Less Than Jake setlist:
Sugar In Your Gas Tank
Last One Out of Liberty City
Look What Happened
History of a Boring Town
My Money is on the Long Shot
Never Going Back to New Jersey
The Science of Selling Yourself Short
9th at Pine
Landmines and Landslides
Nervous in the Alley
Give Me Something to Believe In
Great American Sharpshooter
All My Best Friends Are Metalheads
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts
Plastic Cup Politics
Gainesville Rock City
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Marc Hobelman makes websites at The Denver Post, tweets pictures of his cat and is a regular contributor to Reverb.
Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.