There are amazing bands out there. Performances that stick with you and make you want to come back again and again. A band that does that with regularity is A Wilhelm Scream. They are about the energy of their music and they look like they love their songs as much as their biggest fans. On their first visit since music has returned, they brought the killer package of Lawrence Arm’s Brendan Kelly and MakeWar with the strong local support of Skull Drug getting the call to start.
It has been a little break since last I watched Skull Drug. However, there is never a time they miss a beat in their stage performance. You got Justin on guitar every bit of jumping around, running around, and leaning into his guitar. All the while Evan full of expressions belting out the lyrics through the microphone.
That means Roger, on bass, and Wyatt, on Drums, the calm and collected parts of that otherwise high on enthusiasm stage presence. They got people moving right off with songs like “Dang Oh” and finishing on two fan favorites of “Sleeping In” and “Father’s Son.” Skull Drug once again showing their chops and experience to open the night on a bang.
Second was the first of the tour package and the band MakeWar. This was a band that the first time I caught them, I felt they were good but didn’t leave a big impression on me. Turned out the sound system or maybe sound guy that night may have been a damper on their amazing music. I say that because catching them once again at Punk Rock Bowling last year and then this night at the Rebel Lounge, they have blown me away since.
The melodies and lyrics are a fantastic coming together. Jose and Edwin play up there looking like long-time friends or brothers. It is a clear comradery and superb chemistry for this band that results in an amazing result. I can see clearly now and MakeWar is a band I highly recommend.
Then we hit our Brendan Kelly portion of the night. It was equal parts laughs and equal parts him playing acoustic versions of his songs. As he ran down the list of all his bands, he laughed about how the crowd gave a louder applause to his mention of The Falcon where in other towns it is barely a peep. He performed songs he planned and an equal number of requests for his set.
In there were songs like “On With the Show” and “Seventeener” from Lawrence Arms and “Ramblin’ Revisited” from Brenden Kelly and the Wandering Birds. As you can tell, all his songs were on the table for this. His set made for a special segment of the night with the fan interactions and singing along. It cemented for me that it doesn’t matter in what context I see Brendan Kelly perform, he is one of the best people in punk rock.
Last was a band that owned the night, A Wilhelm Scream. It has been a little bit since my last time getting to see the band live, but right away their in-your-face performance reminded me why I love watching this band. There may be little time that Nuno, lead vocals, is standing still anywhere on that stage without singing directly to another member of the band or on the edge of the stage to any given audience member.
It seems rare that anyone but Nicholas, having to sit for the drums, ends a song where they started standing for any given song. From Trevor and Brian stage right to Jason opposite, everyone was pure excitement playing on the Rebel Lounge stage. The crowd equally pushed forward, other than those not in the pit, and belting lyrics. The entire room was just electric for A Wilhelm Scream.
This is the energy that comes across in their entire catalog of music, including their recent release, and one of my early 2022 favorite albums, Lose Your Delusion. It’s skate punk and hardcore punk mashed together for this culminating energy of what you see live. Songs from that latest album were part of the set, including “Figure Eights In My Head” and “Be One to No One.” A Wilhelm Scream brought the main course to what was already a delicious meal of music for this awesome Tuesday night in Phoenix.