The Enthusiasm of Pessimism

19 Oct

When Bomb the Music Industry started playing, I was too busy graduating from college and becoming a cog in the corporate machine. I fell out of following music outside of a couple bands while I worked for GameStop. After leaving that position, I had to work to find my stress free environment which brought me back to following music in 2011. However, by the time I got to discovering Jeff Rosenstock, it was after Bomb the Music Industry had ceased playing. The closest thing I could do was track down the past music, including a big favorite in Arrogant Sons of Bitches. I watched the “Never Get Tired” documentary to get a grasp of Bomb the Music Industry. Jeff introduced the landscape changing pay what you want model for music with that band. With that said, this show was more magical because it brought BTMI alum, Laura Stevenson. Whom I had never seen perform live prior. Add in the surprise of Wiccan Babysitter, a Ben and Sean, of AJJ, side project and you had the makings of a spectacular night of music.

Wiccan Babysitter was the perfect compliments for this show. As mentioned above, it is a side project of Ben and Sean of AJJ. The switch from that band is that Ben does lead vocals plus guitar, while Sean is on bass. This band works with all electric instruments creating a rock sound to the songs. On drums they are joined by Claire, of Liam and the Ladies notoriety. Ben writes the songs, and as expected, the lyrical content in a similar vein as AJJ. These are all elements that made for an excellent opening set from Wiccan Babysitter.

Then followed the musical act I knew, but anticipated seeing for the first time live, Laura Stevenson. She brings a superb voice. Like Jeff, tonally the lyrics she writes tend to be about everyday life and situations. The difference is she is less punk and a little more folk rock. Her backing band was most of the same that plays behind Jeff, including the other Bomb the Music Industry alum, John DeDomenici. The last couple songs had Jeff jumping in. This further fulfilled things I wanted to see as someone who missed the Bomb the Music Industry era for three of these musicians. Laura Stevenson’s performance lived up to everything I was hoping.

The last of the night was led by the man who has quickly jumped to my personal top ten musicians, Jeff Rosenstock. From going back to all the music he has been a part of to him pioneering the “pay what you want” model with Bomb the Music Industry, he is inspiring. Jeff’s song writing skills go a long away too. He has a knack for writing like poetry about everyday struggles and a pessimistic perspective on parts of life that many can empathize with. He does it with songs that span across multiple genres, from your simple rock song to punk and ska. Going back to the songs he wrote for Bomb the Music Industry to today, you can see the consistent quality of it.

In addition, Jeff has great musical friends that he assembles to perform with him. From John, mentioned above, to the always fantastic Dan Potthast, the past couple times. When you watch the entire group perform, they just look like a bunch of friends who have gathered to jam out music for the hell of it. All of these details adding up to be contagious as Jeff Rosenstock and his band perform the music. At the show, the room just exploded in jumping around and singing along with arms moving in conjunction to the lyrics. You had members on stage moving arms with them when possible too, getting into it. They performed songs from “Nausea” to newer like “Rainbow.” The whole night was a blast to a part of, and I continue to aim never to miss a Jeff Rosenstock performance.

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