I’ve seen it mentioned that with the current political climate, starting from 2016’s election, it would bring on a new generation of great political punk. However, I’ve always felt that was a misnomer. Punk bands have continued to rail against the political parties and policies. It is part of what is rooted in the beginnings of the genre and continues to permeate the songs from many punk bands to this day. It is scarier that songs from the infancy of the genre stand pretty accurate to modern day politics. That leads me right into a band who has been finding plenty of political discussions to fuel a couple decades of political and anarchist punk rock, the Subhumans. They come back to town riding a brand new album with high energy abound in Neighborhood Brats and The Love Songs in tow.
Up first was the band I was least familiar with, the Love Songs. It unfortunately happened to be a night that their lead vocalist, Craig, was losing his voice. His bandmates were occasionally checking on his voice status just in case he wanted to skip a song to try to salvage it. Nonetheless, he powered through it.
Not only that, it didn’t quell their on stage flair and energy one bit. It was smiles, stylistic means to play instrument chords, and a couple teaming up flourishes. Additionally, the humor lived on too with Craig joking that they know it is a bad band name but after seven albums they are sticking with it. Failing voice or not, The Love Songs made a great first impression.
Next was Neighborhood Brats, a Bay Area band that I had caught earlier this year at the Yucca Tap Room. Just like that night, Jenny was abounding with energy and expression all over the Rebel Lounge stage. It is what made a great first impression originally and continues to make watching them a blast. Their high energy set was the first to really get the sold out crowd moshing consistently too.
Also, this marked the first visit for them to Phoenix since Kacie Sosebee passed away. In a very touching gesture, they dedicated their entire set to her this night. Again, like the Bombpops last visit, showing how far a reach Kacie had in touching friends from all over. If you have not caught a set from the Neighborhood Brats, you are missing out one hell of a good time.
Then it was those anarcho punk rockers from the UK, the Subhumans. The set brought a few songs off their new release, “Crisis Point,” including “Atom Screen War” and “99%.” In addition, their performance brought older songs too, such as “Rats” and “Black and White.” Between songs, they rallied on their political points that appeared to have everyone in agreement.
The crowd went nuts at this set, with the pit exploding to its largest of the night. From the pit and wherever they could jump forward, people were leaning toward Dick reciting lyrics back with him. Later on, he was handed a homemade bracelet that adorned his wrist the rest of the night. Watching their performance, they didn’t miss a beat after all these years. The Subhumans are a few of the nicest guys you will meet and one of the best to catch live. This night only reinforced that.