Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Washington’s own legendary pop-punk act, MxPx. The band played a packed El Corazon for their twentieth anniversary, with local punks Poorsport and Amber Pacific opening the show. Great times were had by all.
Poorsport got things going with a peppy set. The band draws inspiration from nineties punk rock, with obvious influence from the likes of Pennywise, NOFX and Bad Religion. The set was chock full of double time drum beats and memorable melodies, and even though the crowd wasn’t particularly on fire it was an enjoyable set. The only misstep was the somewhat awkward cover of Adele’s hit “Someone Like You,” which seemed cliche after years of Punk Goes Pop compilations.
Amber Pacific brought their A-game as always. The boys from Federal Way have become something of a mainstay local band after eight years, and thanks to this there were plenty of people in the crowd who were obviously familiar with the material. Matt Young’s reentry into the band has proven to be a great decision as he commanded the full attention of the crowd, and the band’s chemistry onstage is undeniable. Despite a small incident involving stopping a song halfway due to a shoe lost in a circle pit (come on people, this is a punk show… you don’t kill the vibe over a lost shoe), I had a great time during Amber Pacific’s set. Their modern take on pop/rock/emo/whateveryouwannacallit got the whole venue jumping, and above all it was fun.
However, the main attraction for the night was obviously MxPx. The band took the stage at around 9:40 and didn’t let up until after 11, tearing through a self-described “greatest hits” of the band’s twenty year career. They played pretty much everything a long time fan could want to hear, from “Chick Magnet” to “Next Big Thing,” and the encore (consisting of a “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” cover and the mainstay “Punk Rawk Show”) brought the house down. I especially have to applaud the band for the few new songs they played, because they were absolutely fantastic. I strongly believe that the new record Plans Within Plans features the band’s best material by a long shot and it was awesome to hear them play some choice cuts (“Aces Up,” “Screw Loose,” “Far Away”) from the album when they could have easily ignored the record in favor of fan favorites. The band also recently added a second guitarist for live shows and having listened to older live recordings from the band, this really filled out their sound, with the lead and rhythm parts accounted for just like they are on record. Seeing these Bremerton punk rock all-stars in front of a crowd of their hometown fans was a huge treat. Hopefully Mike Herrera and co. will keep on writing circle pit friendly jams for decades to come.