The Grog Shop became a respite from the rain when it filled with punk rockers on Wednesday, June 4.
Opening band, Cayetana, was a talented three-girl rock band from Philadelphia. Their balance of fun punk and simple rock was well received by a decent crowd which was here for the purer punk still to come.
As a rock fan but not necessarily a punk fan, they were fantastic, and I was surprised they weren’t playing in the slot before the headlining band, the Menzingers.
After their set, the room began to fill up with guys in black hoodies with PBR Tallboys in hand. Now, it was a punk show.
Next was Pup, who played a healthy mix of late 80s punk with doses of the 90s, reminiscent to Blink-182. The four-man show filled the stage with tons of energy, which was not met by the audience at first, but received loud applause at the end of their first song.
Pup, originally named Topanga (A Boy Meets World reference), hail from Canada, where the band members met in elementary school.
Pup continually played through their set list with little to no breaks for banter. The lead singer stopped at one point to apologize for messing up the lyrics because he was still hung over from the previous night. His fellow band members stared at him awkwardly as the crowd grew silent. But, it didn’t ruin the vibe. The band’s song “Dark Days” had a mind-blowing guitar solo met with cheers.
Next up was Lemuria, from Buffalo, New York. Sheena Ozzella and Alex Kerns harmonized beautifully and had great chemistry together onstage (according to their Myspace, they were once a couple).
Harkening back to late 90s punk, this band’s lyrics were drowned out by the heavy instrumentals. However, the audience’s chanting along helped out; it was impressive that the audience knew the lyrics when they were almost impossible to hear.
Heads nodded to the foot stomping music, and crowd surfing commenced. Guys and girls were lifted and carried by the packed audience. Bearded men temporarily swung from the rafters as the punk rock continued. PBR splashed and sprayed into the audience.
Finally, after Lemuria, the headlining band The Menzingers came onstage. The crowd rallied and within seconds, their first song’s fist pumping ensued.
The Menzingers are Cleveland veterans and have played in the city multiple times. The band took the time to thank Cleveland for always welcoming them, but also thanked local band, Signals Midwest, for their support.
During the set, the Grog Shop peaked with energy both from the onstage performance and the crowd. Crowd surfers kept up their chaos. Casey was hugely popular with the audience as what seemed like over one hundred people jumped up and down, singing along with the band.
Their song, “Ava House,” was about a friend of theirs and of course about getting high. It reminded me of my childhood spent listening to Green Day (the old Green Day).
Without question the Menzingers lived and breathed punk music.
The Grog Shop truly came to life on Wednesday with some of the most excitement and energy I have truly ever seen.
There is no question that Cleveland is a rock city, but what may not be as clear is Cleveland is also a punk rock city.