Live Review: The Menzingers – Oxford Art Factory – 12/02/17

The Menzingers have been a well-established band for many years now. Since forming a name for themselves in the punk rock scene, the Scranton, Pennsylvania outfit are underrated. Sharing similarities with bands like The Gaslight Anthem and The Bouncing Souls, they evoke a sense of unity for a community of music lovers. People that have grown up, hitting their mid-20s to 30s and still reliving the fond memories associated with the band’s music. With the recent release of their fifth record, After The Party, the album has a huge focus on the things you do after your twenties are over. Going through multiple junior jobs, witnessing the engagements and the weddings, and mustering up the courage in taking risks of travel or love. That’s what The Menzingers are all about. Putting our hearts on our sleeves for one night while breathing in the music that made up our youth.

Being only the support act of the night, Western Sydney’s Oslow performed a stunning set from start to finish. Freshly releasing their debut self-titled record last Friday, the post-punk four-piece delivered powerful riffs and impressed the audience with their honest music. Having such great similarity to bands like Balance and Composure and Brand New, Oslow brought authenticity in the room, gaining such great rhythm and energy as they blasted through tracks like, “Cold Dark Space” and “Asleep In The Hallway.”

With fans eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Menzingers, the four-piece came through the stage with blue lighting, posing to be an effective backdrop for the band. Opening up with “Lookers” provided an emotional introduction as Greg Barnett passionately sung and hit all the right notes. The crowd was already starting to get energetic by this point as the second track, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” started playing. More people in the mosh pit were pointing towards the band and as everyone united, the band were stoked with what the Sydney fanbase had to offer.

Pumping out more and more tracks, what really was admirable was the shared roles of vocalist between Greg Barnett and Tom May. Both kept up such great charisma while Sydney punters were getting rowdier by the minute. New tracks such as, “Bad Catholics” and “Midwestern States” proved to be fun for the crowd as more people sneakily went up on stage and crowd surfed their way through among the sea of people. Because that’s what punk rock is about – crowd surfing and just experiencing that “high on life” feeling. Though some people were unlucky to have fallen on the floor, everybody supported each other and ended everything on a positive note that night. With The Menzingers’ ability to woo an intimate crowd space, it was amazing to feel like we were infinitely young again for a couple of hours.

Being in your twenties is all fun and games until it’s over. In society, we’re expected to hold a full-time job, have a family and be ready to have some down payment for a house by the time you’re thirty, but in this day and age, it seems impossible to have that right now when you’re still paddling through life. After The Party is an album you’ll appreciate even now and seeing The Menzingers play some tunes off that record reminds you that although life “settles” when you’re in your thirties, what you did in your twenties has led to your present. No matter the differences you have with other people, the party is never over until you say it is and The Menzingers remind you that you’ll always be young at heart. Always.

After The Party is available now through Epitaph Records