One last basement show for The Menzingers, I Am the Avalanche and more at the Church
The Menzingers | Photo by Megan Kelly |

Recently, R5 Productions announced that shows First Unitarian Church would be scaling way back this fall. For that reason, it’s an appropriate time to really cherish seeing your favorite bands at the much-adored “Church.” On November 8th, Philadelphia was treated to a show from east coast punk favorites The Menzingers, returning to the basement after months of hard touring behind their 2014 outing Rented World, which had them packing both Golden Tea House and Union Transfer earlier this year.

Netherlands group Pale Angels opened the show with a set of hard driving punk rock that harkened back to early American punk rock, but also tossed in a dash of 90s nostalgia in both vocals and melodies. The group is recording soon and gave a lot to look forward to with a taste of their throwback punk. Up next, Philly’s The Weaks delivered a tonally strong performance. As a triple-guitar threat, they offered overlaid harmonies and dual vocals. Their set was executed with precision and their pleasing wall of sound dazzled the crowd.

After a break, I Am The Avalanche lead singer Vinnie Caruana riled up passionate fans while the band enacted a set that relied heavily involvement of the crowd. The choruses of every song were filled with 50-person gang vocals as stage-divers soared by. IATA never disappoints their fan base, rocking the crowd with a set of favorites from all three of their full lengths and this time was no different.

Soon it was time for The Menzingers. Over the years the band has steadily gained popularity, culminating in Rented World, their latest album released on Epitaph Records. Coming off several long tours including Europe and Australia, this show was a homecoming of sorts for the Scranton-bred, South Philly-based.  Mentioning the past times they’ve played The Church, and how amazing it feels to be headlining a sold out show, which could be their last in the storied venue, things were a little emotional, yet still very energetic.

The congregation seemed to enjoy the whole set ranging from the opener “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”, taken from Rented World, to the title track from their first full-length, “A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology.” Inviting the whole crowd out for drinks in South Philly after the show, the band was thrilled to be back where they feel they belong, and the crowd welcomed them by shouting along with every song, straight through the encore. A set like this once again solidified The Menzingers as one of Philadelphia’s best bands, and being able to catch them in one of the most important venues in Philly’s thriving punk scene was a privilege.

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