Most of you are still recovering from Fest, but let’s not forget that Red Scare had a little fest of their own for their 10th Anniversary show. Maybe you were cool enough to catch both, maybe you missed out on one. Either way, we’ll be covering both so you can relive all the memories with us. So for all of you that were there (and especially for those of you that weren’t), here is some cool shit that happened at the Red Scare 10th Anniversary show.
Red Scare was chaotic at the start with everyone piling into the venue and stuffing their faces with booze and hotdogs, but Reaganomics and The Brokedowns both played short sets in between the rush of people settling in. Then Elway took the stage, and that’s when you knew the Red Scare 10th Anniversary show had officially started. They’re a current band whose fan base is growing by the minute. I mean, it’s hard not to adore this band with those sentimental vocals and Midwest vibes. Elway are just really down to earth dudes playing music we can all relate to, which is really what Red Scare is representative of.
"If Direct Hit! doesn’t get you excited, you must be dead inside."
So while Elway tugged at your heartstrings, you couldn’t have even prepared yourself for what Direct Hit! were about to make you feel. This band has energy—and when I say energy, I’m talking about on the same level as Operation Ivy’s energy. If this band doesn’t get you excited, you must be dead inside. Their lyrics blend perfectly with their personalities and they have so much fun on stage you can’t help but have fun watching them. Even Officer Bradford and Intruder Red made an appearance onstage because Direct Hit! were that good. There was just all around love with this band, especially a tender moment between lead singer Nick and guitarist Devon. Holy shit, I just can’t express how much I love Direct Hit!, and you should too.
Direct Hit! nearly stole the show, but it was only the beginning of this insane lineup. It wouldn’t have been a Red Scare show without Brendan Kelly making multiple appearances. His first of many was as Brendan Kelly And The Wandering Birds. I’ve seen BK do lots of solo shows covering Wandering Birds songs, but this is the first time he’s ever played them with a full band. They definitely had a different vibe going on than solo BK or The Lawrence Arms (despite Neil being on drums). BK was still his usual self, making dick jokes and wearing a guitar strap with hearts displaying the phrase“Daddy’s Girl,” but he also dedicated songs to his kids who were watching from the balcony. Seeing Wandering Birds live with a full band definitely confirmed that it stands as it’s own entity from everything else BK does. And it’s nice to know the dick jokes won’t ever stop.
"Teenage Bottlerocket are a band you can never tire of – the modern day Ramones – the motherfucking life of the party."
The next band was announced by a masked, skeleton man and eerie doom music. Luckily we all survived and it was just Teenage Bottlerocket ready to slay the stage. Bottlerocket are a band you can never tire of--the modern day Ramones--the motherfucking life of the party. They played “Blood Bath at Burger King” and everyone in there with a shitty job lost their voice while screaming the lyrics. I respect that Bottlerocket keeps making awesome music and their live shows never disappoint.
Sidekicks took the stage next and, although a fun band, they are definitely more serious when they perform. The room cleared out when they played, which partly seemed to be because people were taking a cigarette/food break. I didn’t mind it though. If anything the room got quieter and I could focus all my attention on the band. Singer Steve Ciolek played most of “1940’s Fighter Jet” by himself to a silent room and it was one of the most touching moments of the whole show. They played beautifully and I even got chills. Sidekicks are such an underrated band and they need to be noticed more; go listen to them.
"Every time I see Masked Intruder they get better even when I don’t think it’s possible anymore."
The room quickly filled back up again and it was only fitting that Masked Intruder played next. Every time I see Masked Intruder they get better even when I don’t think it’s possible anymore. They came to party so hard that even the cops were loving it. Seriously, Officer Bradford was nearly naked by the end of the set.
As if my heart couldn’t melt anymore, The Methadones took the stage. We all know that Dan Vapid is a punk legend, and before the Red Scare show, how many people could even say they had seen the Methadones live? I was in awe of their performance and couldn’t take my eyes off them. (Plus, Dan Vapid is still as dreamy as ever). Their set was definitely one you’ll remember years later, and if you weren’t there, it's one that you’ll regret not seeing years later. They were followed by The Lillingtons which, holy shit, at this point my heart was ready to explode. If you have yet to see The Lillingtons live, you need to change that ASAP. They are full of silly lyrics, fast chords, and good times. Who wouldn’t be into that? When I looked around me everyone was smiling and singing along, which is pretty much what every punk show should be like.
And that’s when it happened, my heart had finally exploded. BK returned to the stage with a Dolly Parton shirt on, Dan Andriano stage right, Neil Hennessy on drums, and a masked intruder to his left. The Falcon has hands down released my favorite record on Red Scare and hearing the chords at the start of “The La-Z-Boy 500” being played live was the start to an amazing performance. Somewhere between figuring out what songs to play (not sure the guys practiced before the show) and Dan remembering Falcon songs amongst all the Alkaline Trio ones in his head, Dave Hause was revealed as the fourth Falcon member. The Falcon clearly wasn't that organized, but I’ll be damned if anyone cared because they still managed to put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s the beauty in this supergroup—long time friends coming together to create something amazing. They played “The Angry Cry Of The Angry Pie,” “Little Triggers,” and “The Unicorn Odyssey,” amongst all their other standout tracks. If you’re a nerd like me and have listened to Falcon songs on repeat hundreds of times, they played the most perfect setlist you could have imagined in your head. I would have went to the Red Scare Anniversary show just to see The Falcon, and it still would have been worth it.
"If you’re a nerd like me and have listened to Falcon songs on repeat hundreds of times, they played the most perfect setlist you could have imagined in your head."
There were also a few acoustic sets and a secret Lillingtons/Dan Vapid Riverdales set, but my favorite was on the last night of the weekend. Devin Peralta did an acoustic Cobra Skulls set and reminded us all what a great band Cobra Skulls were. I highly doubt they will ever play together again, so it was the next best thing a Cobra Skull fan could see. Dave Hause dropped by to play some Loved Ones songs that the crowd couldn’t help themselves from demanding. Then Brendan Kelly ended the night with a solo set. He played the lovely cover “Kiss The Bottle” and even an impromptu song about his obsession with hugs. I couldn’t think of a better way to end Red Scare fest than with a BK solo show in a Chicago bar singing Lawrence Arms songs with like-minded strangers.