The week of Thanksgiving is notorious for being a raucous, rowdy party week. On the Tuesday night prior, Beach Slang made sure they became the highlight of the holiday week well before the stuffing would hit the table.
“We’re Beach Slang and we’re going to punch you in the heart,” frontman James Alex beckoned before he and his three cohorts ripped right into their tune “Filthy Luck” at Great Scott. The raucous, sold-out crowd at the small Allston room hung on that intro and every word from Alex’s mouth that night, as the Philadelphia punk purveyors roared through nearly two hours of originals and covers during their tour finale on the penultimate night before Thanksgiving.
Alex’s brand of songwriting owes quite a bit to an easy-to-see adoring influence from The Replacements and Paul Westerberg. Songs like “Filthy Luck”, “Throwaways”, “Get Lost” feel like they would’ve fit in a live set like a favorite winter mitten alongside “Left of the Dial,” “Alex Chilton,” or “Kiss Me on the Bus.”
The band’s latest record, The Things We Do To Find People Like Us, a recent critical success the country and world over, was one of the two focal points of the band’s set. “Young and Alive” shone brightly with its newfound sing-a-long chorus sung by the young, alive, and passionate souls towards the front of the stage.
Latest single, “Bad Art and Weirdo Kids” also stood out during the band’s set. The same goes for “Too Late to Die Young”, a song that according to a story told to the crowd by Alex may be dauntingly too close to “Here Comes a Regular” for a Replacements fanatic like Alex to truly wrap his arms around.
The lessons learned from the past and how you can mold those to your life now is a big part of the Beach Slang experience. Case in point? The band’s run-through some time-honored covers towards the backstretch of their set felt like a second act for their run in Allston.
With a pitch-perfect renditions of “Bastards of Young,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” and “Boxcar”, Beach Slang turned their night at the Great Scott into the party you wish you could’ve thrown in high school.
Despite being a slight sonic detour, another highlight was Alex’s solo cover of Bright Eyes’ “Lua,” a song built for cold urban nights with hearts aglow. After the cavalcade of covers, the band dialed it right back in to close with crowd favorite, “Punk Or Lust”. The driving three-minute and change tune acted as the perfect processional on a night where Alex and company preached the gospel of punk rock.
The night’s undercard bands, Worriers and Lithuania, each held their own before ceding the stage to Beach Slang. Worriers, a three-chord quartet out of Brooklyn, showcased a bevy of songs from their latest record, Imaginary Life, which was produced by Against Me! frontwoman, Laura Jane Grace. Lithuania brought their own brand of stoner-punk to the Great Scott stage to great fanfare: big buzzy guitars (certain to have bled out onto Commonwealth Avenue) emboldened songs like “Hardcore Friends” during the band’s support set.
It was a brisk late-November night in Boston, and inside the Great Scott there was many things to be thankful for including songs to sing, warmth from the cold, and a crowd that felt like the kinds of people one could trade mixtapes and music recommendations with. In the end, the hearts that Beach Slang came to Allston to punch ended up warmer and fuller after experiencing a party of punk revivalism.
Follow Greg Cameron on Twitter @greg_cameron.