Monday, November 19, 2018

Concert Review: ALL, Drag The River, The LAST, Scott Reynolds, Slorder at IDL Ballroom

Artists:  ALL (Tumblr, Twitter, Kings Road MerchSpotify, Wikipedia), Drag The River (Official, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramBandCamp, Spotify, Merch NowWikipedia), The LAST (Official, Spotify, Wikipedia), Scott Reynolds (Facebook, Twitter, InstagramYouTube, BandCamp, Spotify, Wikipedia), Slorder (Facebook, YouTube, Spotify)
Venue:  IDL Ballroom (Official, Facebook, Twitter)
Date:  Sunday 11/18/2018

To celebrate the end of the Descendents' 2018 Tourage tour, which had it's final stop in Tulsa, OK at Cains Ballroom on Saturday November 19th, an end of tour party was book for the following night.  The weekend's events were described by Descendents/ALL guitarist Stephen Egerton in the Facebook event for the Sunday night show -- 
Hi there. This year, the last day of the Descendents tour lands in Tulsa (my hometown), so we decided to make a whole weekend out of it. On Saturday, November 17th, Descendents are playing at Cain’s Ballroom and on Sunday, November 18th, ALL is playing at the IDL Ballroom.
We’re playing with some of our favorite bands and buddies both nights (Ultimate Fakebook, Hagfish, and Radkey on Saturday; Scott Reynolds, The Last, Slorder, and Drag the River on Sunday) so we’re really looking forward to it.
We’d love to have you out for the fun.
When the Descendents' show had been announced I was pretty interested thanks largely to the reunion of Dallas, TX legends Hagfish.  I've been a big Hagfish fan for nearly 25 years and thought I'd never get to see them live again.  So my interest was piqued but I wasn't totally sold on the idea of driving up to Tulsa for the show.  Then they announced the ALL show to include both Chad Price and Scott Reynolds on vocals, plus Drag The River and Reynolds as part of the opening acts.  At that point I was sold. 

The show opened with Stephen Egerton's instrumental band Slorder, who knocked out a quick set of four songs that included an excellent rendition of "Abundance of Fluff" from Egerton's solo album The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton.  Next up was Scott Reynolds with his unique blend of jazzy, loungey, acoustic pop/folk/rock.  The set included songs from his solo records, his band Goodbye Harry, a Ramones and Misfits cover, and a song that I requested "Jesus, Satan, Gene Beeman, His Car, & Pizza Hut" from his excellent record with the Steaming Beast Adventure Boy.  The set showcased Reynolds' brilliant quirkiness, impressive guitar work, and one-of-a-kind take on pop music.  Up next was the band that, according to Egerton, was the single biggest influence on the formative years and members of the Descendents -- The LAST.  The band knocked out a surprisingly energetic set of '60s styled power pop surf music.  The final opening act was Drag The River.  Their set started as a two-piece with Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price trading songs before doing three songs with the full band and closing out with a few more as a two-piece.  The set was exactly what one would expect from a Drag The River show, brilliant songs played by two of the best songwriters in the world, with seemingly little planning going into the set (Snodgrass often asks the audience what songs they should play).  They make it look effortless and excellent all at the same time. 

Descendents / ALL set lists from 11/18/19 show.
When it was time for ALL to take the stage, Egerton, bassist Karl Alvarez, and drummer Bill Stevenson were joined by Milo Aukerman and treated the rabid crowd to a short Descendents' set of songs they did not play the night before.  The highlight was an incredible rendition of "Pep Talk" from the band's 1987 album All.  Out next was Chad Price who absolutely stole the show.  His energy, enthusiasm, stage presence, and performance were on this whole other level that was transcendent and awe-inspiring.  I've seen Price perform with ALL on two other occasions in 1995 and 2001 and this performance put those both to shame.  First off he has probably the best voice in all of rock 'n' roll.  Beyond that though, he's taken his performance as a lead singer and not just improved it over the last two decades but had evolved and transformed into one of the best frontmen in all of rock 'n' roll today.  It really took my breath away.  Scott Reynolds came out next and took over the stage, making it his own, belting out some of the band's greatest songs including the classics "She's My Ex," "Can't Say," and "Dot."  Both ALL sets included classics and deep cuts and both showcased the two defining eras of the most underrated band of the last 40 years.  Both Price (with the backing vocal assist from Aukerman on "Shreen") and Reynolds came out for the encore before Stevenson, Alvarez, and Egerton closed things out with one of the band's instrumental numbers. 

Here's the deal...the Descendents are this legendary band that millions of people across the world love and adore.  I love this band's music and  had a lot of fun seeing the Descendents at Cains Ballroom on Saturday night (and a few years ago at Riot Fest in Dallas).  It was crazy to be in a room of 1000-some-odd people who were losing their shit to this classic punk band, screaming along, dancing, and having a blast.  For me though, that night was absolutely dwarfed by the show the following night.  At said show I had the Descendents vs. ALL discussion with a few folks (including the super awesome Kevin Carl of Higley and G-Whiz fame) and I fall firmly on the side of ALL (which is the minority position).  For the longest time I thought of ALL and Descendents as essentially one band, and in some ways they kind of are, but then I heard an interview with Scott Reynolds where he compared Descendents and ALL to Minutemen and fIREHOSE and asked if anyone considered the latter acts to be the same band just with a different singer.  I certainly didn't and thus I started to rethink my position on ALL/Descendents.  (Note:  fIREHOSE was formed out of the ashes of the Minutemen.  There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the cliff notes version.)  Watching ALL play not just the night after but on the same night as the Descendents, I can absolutely state that these are two distinctly different bands (hell, ALL is a distinctly different band depending on who's singing).  And while I'll always love the Descendents, ALL is one of my absolutely favorite bands of all time and this show only drove that point even farther home.  I had fun watching the Descendents but I was moved and enthralled watching ALL.  It was also extremely satisfying to be in a room of 250-some-odd diehard fans, all losing their shit to ALL.  That warmed my heart. 

I must also give a big thank you to by great friends Steve and Mandy Long for driving my dumb ass to Tulsa and letting me crash in their hotel room.  Without you two I wouldn't have been able to go and I am extremely grateful. 

1 comment:

andrea janov said...

I am always interested in the Descendents/ALL debate. I honestly don't know if I can take a side, but in any discussion I find myself defending ALL. But I can say that Chad Price is my hands down favorite front man/singer.