There is never a set time or age to self-reflect. You can do it at any time when you are collecting your thoughts. To think back on things that have come and adventures that have been. This was especially present in the past two years with the idle time of concerts and activities. Another place that it occurred was when The Menzingers released After the Party, reflecting on their twenties from their thirties. It was an album that hit perfectly for me being in that similar spot and age range when released in 2017. The good news is that the Menzingers came back in town once again to invoke those reflections with the fantastic Sincere Engineer and Oso Oso in tow.
Up first is one of my favorite artists, Sincere Engineer. This is the first-time watching Deanna, lead vocals and guitar, perform back at Crescent Ballroom since I first saw a Sincere Engineer performance. Unlike that first time where she went solo, aside from Lawrence Arms’ Chris McCaughan joining for a song, this time it was with the full band as it has been for every tour since. With every visit you can see the continued growing number of fans in the louder singing along and cheers.
Deanna always engages with the crowd in conversation and indulges their shouts of support. Sometimes they end up in funny exchanges like one person asking if she might be high that she laughed off. Being the opener meant affording only a thirty-minute slot that was a mix of the indie punk rock songs from their latest release, Bless My Psyche, and first album. They know to close out on a banger and “Shattering” would take us to the end of another wonderful Sincere Engineer set.
In the middle Oso Oso were primed to entertain. This marks my second time catching them, but with the four-year gap from the last time it made it feel a lot like my first time again. Taking in influences from both emo and indie rock they slowed things down compared to the other acts. However, they do bring out energy in a couple tracks with a melodic midwestern punk rock influence in there too.
When they performed the song that I believe was “father tracy,” there was an intro of cowbell and drums before going into the full band for added dynamics. The five-piece band looks like they are having a lot of fun performing and you could see it in their expressions the entire time. Oso Oso was a good feeling sound to take in for the second set.
Last up was a band I am losing count of how many times I have watched, The Menzingers. Every performance they come out with enthusiasm and excitement that is infectious. A big factor of that could be Tony jumps around the stage every moment he isn’t needing to throw a few verses through the microphone. Their songs never get old for me. Of course, this set included songs from their latest 2019 release, Hello Exile, such as “Anna” so hard for those to be old yet. Though in there too were songs from deeper in their catalog like “Good Things” and “Rodent.”
Greg returned us to the point where in Oso Oso’s set where they were trying to get the crowd to chant back the second part of Menzingers and Sincere Engineer. He said he was laughing hearing it in the dressing room and wanted to try it. So, he tried getting the crowd to say “Oso” back after he said “Oso.” It was a success, but he couldn’t help but laugh again as he found it funny that their name is just the same word twice. There is cool personality and charm to these guys on top of performing songs that I adore. It all added up to another fantastic night of music the Menzingers delivered on.