A Wedding Punk-iversary

Twenty Five years is a long time, and an amazing achievement. Tonight’s show was a celebration of two good friends, Barry and Isabel, celebrating twenty five years married. I did forget to ask what has made it work well for so long, but I have to imagine it is that punk rock spirit in it. Not only are they one of the most punk couples I know going to shows, they had a punk rock show with cake to celebrate those twenty five years instead of just a simple house party.

It kicked off with Barry and Isabel’s own daughter, Amanda, and her boyfriend, Evan from Skull Drug, playing. On their setlist was an assortment of originals and cover songs from NOFX to Reel Big Fish. I don’t know if Amanda wants the additional push toward a music career, but she has a voice for singing by just what I heard tonight. Evan and Amanda could be the next music power couple if they want to keep it up outside of special occasions.

Whiskey and the Barrels took the show from there with the full band. However, there was still a surprise as Isabel was up there on flute playing. It was the perfect accompaniment to the Celtic Punk sound these guys bring. Also, it isn’t the only unique instrument Whiskey and the Barrels brought to the night with Riley pulling out the bagpipes. Kendric does an excellent job on lead vocals, while the Mandolin may be the smallest instrument I’ve seen Joey Paradise play. In a small selection of the Celtic Punk in Phoenix, these guys are the cream of the crop. I just hope I didn’t leave Riley and Chris in a war of better beards after the set.

That set was followed up with one of the most fun ska punk acts to watch, Jack the Cat. Nick brings the most charisma on stage of all the front men tonight.This is the man that I’ve seen do a spot on impersonation of Jello Biafra with Ham, and full of abundant punchlines of dialog through tonight’s set. During one of the songs, you find Nick leave the stage during the middle while the rest of the band keeps it going for about two minutes. He tends to wonder around the venue, talking to people and looping his way back to the stage to finish the song. Jack the Cat ended on the usual call to the stage for everyone to join them and chant “tits.” As in the other times I’ve seen them, this results in just man boobs being flashed. They have a unique style to their set that I recommend people make sure to catch.

We Might Be Wasted played the setup men for tonight. They did quite the job with the first mosh pit of the night breaking out during their set. For once, it wasn’t Dan doing double duty in two or more bands in one night, but Joey who played with Whiskey and the Barrels earlier. Don made a tribute to The Business and Micky, who passed away recently, wearing his Business shirt for the set along with a song in memoriam. They ended on a song choice that, per Don, described how Barry and Isabel met in a punk way that I unfortunately can’t name at this time. Regardless, they had this crowd singing along and moshing around for great engagement.

Appropriately, Skull Drug was the ones to headline this special night with Evan their lead singer. These guys are one of my favorite local punk bands to see. They come with great energy and a harder punk sound than many in the Phoenix punk scene. Evan had his fishnets and kilt while he sang center stage. At one point, he and Justin, on guitar, went back to back. Justin ended up falling over, but kept on playing the rest of the song from the floor of the stage. They brought up Andy, from NEATO, near the end to sing a cover of NOFX’s “Linoleum.” Andy matched Skull Drug’s energy, singing part of the song from one knee. They’d end up doing an encore after this, ending this celebration on a high note with many great friends and family present. I end with a giant congratulations to Barry and Isabel on twenty five years married and still going!

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