Beach Slang’s Drunk or Lust Tour hit Zanzabar on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 and it was an absolute blast! It was especially notable as Pet Symmetry and Dave Hause & the Mermaid played their 10th show here in Louisville.
To get things started, three guys took the stage looking exactly alike in matching varsity jackets and dark-rimmed glasses, which they hung on their various amps. Pet Symmetry was about to kick off the night and I couldn’t have been more excited. Their pun-intended yet heartfelt emo pop-punk was something I didn’t expect to like when I first began researching the band after hearing Please Don’t Tell My Father I Used his 1996 Honda Accord to Destroy the Town of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania in 2002. I was pleasantly surprised once I delved more into their music.
Recently released, Vision is a more heartfelt ode to the side of emo would we expect from these bands, but still mixed with the pun centered songs of previous releases. At one point in the show, the band started a bet about the Dodger’s game going on, in which they hilariously received more than $10. In an effort to make the vibe more “chill,” they each took off their matching black Pet Symmetry shirts to reveal white matching Pet Symmetry shirts and performed a new track on Vision, titled “You & Me & Mt. Hood” — a calmer, more reflective song with Erik Czaja performing with a mini piano. This song is a catchy, melodramatic song about working hard for feeling so empty — a personal favorite of mine off the album. Another highly recommended song (that wasn’t on the set list for the night, but is still equally brilliant as every single other song that was) is “Mostly Water,” a track about regret, vices, and being “the me I’ve missed.” A song for those moments of, “Oh shit, I actually like myself right now.”
Up next came the amazing Dave Hause and the Mermaid. Admittedly, this isn’t a band I was too familiar with. I am an avid Loved Ones, Dave Hause fan. So, of course the second he stepped up on stage I was consumed by him, but even more by the adorable, (sorry Dave!) and loving interaction he continuously had with his brother, Tim who plays guitar for the band. Several times throughout the show, he and his sibling shared a mic (once though, it was due to a mechanic error with his own mic). Let me tell you, I admired and loved Dave Hause himself, and now I admire and respect his brother now too! What a talented human being who shows blatant love and excitement for the music he makes! They also performed a cover of “Learn to Fly,” by Tom Petty in memorial for his recent death. What an awesome band! It’s the passion and love that gets me with these shows, guys, and this one absolutely filled that for me.
Now, on to Beach Slang — I first heard them about a year ago. A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings showed up in my Spotify – I’m not exactly sure how – but either way, I’m so glad it did. This band quickly become one of my go-to’s and probably all-time favorite bands in the history of time. When I found out they were playing at Forecastle, and I was not going to be able to even just attend the show, I was completely dismayed. So, you can understand my excitement when they were coming back and playing at Zanzabar! I quickly reached out to Phil in order to see what we could do about going about getting me a press pass to photograph this show! Luckily, I was obviously able to, and what a fucking blast it was!
They played some of my favorite songs like, “Future Mixtapes for The Art Kids,” “Atom Bomb,” and “Dirty Cigarettes.” Throughout the night, they would hilariously do short snippets of songs such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Santeria,” and even some by Santana… which I regretfully don’t know the names of. (Sorry Dad, I know that’s disappointing.) James Alex, lead singer of the band, also asked for some “audience participation,” in respect to cover songs from the Pixies, The Cure, Jawbreaker, The Replacements, all of which I was equally excited for and screamed my lungs out in response to (I don’t think the guy in front of me enjoyed that… sorry guy.) The Replacements won, but he still “had to play Jawbreaker.” Which I was of course excited about.
The performance by James alone is captivating. With heart felt compassion every time he sings and ridiculous movements to keep a smile planted on your face the entire night, he takes your focus and keeps it almost permanently glued to him. Throwing guitars to his helper Charlie, who was awesome in and of herself, she was constantly there to help the band with anything they needed, getting towels to clean up James water spitting and general spilling of alcoholic beverages.
After weeks of feeling up and down, I felt safe and happy the entire time. Beach Slang teased us by leaving the stage as if the show was over, and James coming back out seconds later. He came back solo and sang an acoustic set of “Too Late to Die Young.” The only thought going through my head when he did so was “right now, I’m okay.” This is why I shoot shows. This is why I love music. “I swear right now I’m all right,” is the best lyric of this entire song, because that night, I definitely was all right.
This show was most certainly one the best ones I’ve been to and photographed this year! Get out and see Pet Symmetry, Dave Hause and the Mermaid, and Beach Slang as soon as possible!
Check out a few photos I took at the show below: