December 15, 2017 SWMRS & The Interrupters Bring Down Irving Plaza, NYC 12-9-17
New York City may have had an onslaught of snow and Santas on Saturday, December 9, 2017, but that did not stop fans from braving the weather and SantaCon to get cozy inside of Irving Plaza. Why you may ask? Simple, for an eclectic and stacked night of music hosted by co-headliners SWMRS (pronounced like “swimmers” just in case you could not tell) and The Interrupters who brought The Regrettes as well as Mt. Eddy along with them. One of the last stops on their fall tour which began back on October 13th, there was sure to be an exciting night of Pop Punk ahead.
Not long after doors opened, California Punk outfit Mt. Eddy took the stage all decked out in winter gear. Vocalist/Guitarist Jakob Armstrong, son of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, was once the touring bassist for SWMRS, but now he joins Bassist Kevin Judd, Drummer Chris Malaspina, and Lead Guitarist Enzo Malaspina as the guitarist/vocalist of Mt. Eddy. The band released their first album, Chroma, earlier this year, and judging by the crowd’s reaction, the album has already gotten Mt. Eddy a pretty fair following. By only the second song in their set, crowd-surfers were flying and the crowd erupted into a circle pit at Armstrong’s request. Seeing such crowd interaction for an opening act is a rare, but exciting sight.
Songs like “Orange,” “Metaphor,” “The Whale Song,” and closer “Chroma” had the growing crowd jumping and singing along to every word, and no doubt they gathered up some new fans in the process. Mt. Eddy managed to play nearly every song from Chroma by the time this up-and-coming band’s set came to a close, so everyone was hyped and ready for The Regrettes to take over.
Take over is exactly what The Regrettes did. As soon as this dynamic group of Los Angeles teens walked onto the stage, it was immediately apparent that The Regrettes are the type of band that Punk has been looking for. Full of raw feminist energy, the band had the crowd engaged from the get-go with their catchy blend of Pop and straight-up Punk. Forming in 2015, it is no surprise The Regrettes have gotten a considerable amount of traction in such a short time. They released their first album, Feel Your Feelings Fool!, in January of 2017 and have been touring ever since.
Kicking off their set with “I Don’t Like You,” Vocalist/Guitarist Lydia Night, Bassist Sage Chavis, Lead Guitarist Genessa Gariano, and Drummer Maxx Morando had the crowd bouncing and singing along. Night managed to get the crowd engaged right away as she stepped down from the stage and into the crowd as she sang “Juicebox Baby,” but their set was only just beginning. Keeping the momentum going, the band powered through “WHATTA BITCH,” “Come Through,” and “Living Human Girl.”
The band seemed to be having a blast on stage, and it was impossible not to share that infectious excitement along with them. Their energy stayed strong throughout the entire set, and Night dove into the crowd along with her guitar during “Bronze.” The crowd only got more and more into the set as it went on, but one of the best parts came at the very end when the band donned some holiday antler hats and performed a Punk rendition of Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The crowd practically exploded, and considering everyone in the world knows every word whether they like it or not, practically all of Irving Plaza sang along with them. It was a neat way to put an end to their excellent set, and it is exciting to think of where this band is going next.
Then it was time for the first headliner of the evening. Also hailing from Los Angeles, CA, The Interrupters brought something quite different to the stage. Since coming together in 2011, The Interrupters have released two LPs and embarked on their first headlining tour in support of their most recent record. With a classic Ska sound, Vocalist Aimee Interrupter, along with brothers Kevin (guitar), Justin (bass), and Jesse (drums) started their set with “A Friend Like Me.” Fans responded to the band’s positive energy and crowd engagement, forming an impressive circle pit during “By My Side,” a track from their newest record, 2016’s Say It Out Loud, and crowd surfing through all of “Take Back the Power.”
Keeping in mind that this was a headlining set, there was still plenty of fun to be had. Rolling through tracks like “She Got Arrested,” “Liberty,” and “Easy on You,” they asked the crowd to sing along to the chorus of “Divide Us.” Even those who were unfamiliar with the band managed to get the hang of it and become engaged with the band’s explosive set.
Celebrating one of the great Ska-Punk bands of the past, the band went into a killer cover of Operation Ivy’s “Soundsystem.” Nearly everyone was singing and dancing along to this classic, and it got the crowd even more hyped up for the band’s closing song “Family.” It was a stellar ending, getting everyone in the room to feel like they were really part of the band’s family. They got a huge cheer as they left the stage, and the room even cleared out a bit before SWMRS took the stage.
Finally, it was time for SWMRS to take over. Plenty of dedicated fans packed in close to the barricade in anticipation for this young band. Though many of its members are barely out of their 20s, SWMRS was founded all the way back in 2004 under the name Emily’s Army. Since then, they have released a few records including Drive North, which was re-released in late 2016 after the band signed with Fueled By Ramen. Since then, the band have been touring consistently and gaining even more traction in the Punk scene. Funnily enough, SWMRS Drummer is Joey Armstrong, Billie Joe Armstrong’s oldest son, so it is no wonder there are considerable Punk influences in their music. However, Vocalist/Guitarist Cole Becker, Lead Guitarist Max Becker, and Bassist Sam Mueller have taken those Punk influences and combined them with some Pop and classic Surf Punk to craft their own unique sound.
The crowd gave a huge cheer and hustled toward the barricade when the band took the stage and kicked off their set with “Palm Trees.” Fans were already screaming and the crowd surfers were flying as SWMRS charged into “BRB” and “Harry Dean,” during which some guy wearing an inner tube appeared from nowhere and leapt from the stage into the crowd. But since this was New York, no one really seemed phased, and the energy stayed high through “Silver Bullet” and “Miss Yer Kiss.”
Then, Becker took some time out to tell the crowd that they can make a difference simply by being kind to one another, and to stop sexual assault at shows – a rampant problem that has gone ignored for far too long. While current events were enough to bring anyone down, this impassioned speech before the poignant “Uncool” seemed to have lit a spark in the crowd. Fans gave it their all as they sang along to it and the entertaining “Miley.”
The band’s energy was undeniable, and Becker certainly knew how to work the crowd by including them in the performance. Gestures like holding his entire mic stand out to the crowd kept fans fully engaged through “D’You Have a Car” and a fun cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” They finished off the rest of their set with bombastic energy and charm during “Turn It Up” and “Figuring It Out” before leaving the stage to huge cheers. Of course, they quickly returned to close out the evening with “Hannah” and “Drive North.”
After it was all said and done, fans went out into the snowy evening sweaty and smiling after the packed night of music. Even though SWMRS and The Interrupters have some disparate fanbases, it seems as though both headliners and their two openers all managed to gain some new supporters. Be sure to check out this tour if it comes through your town between now and December 17th. You are bound to find a new band to love!