Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Give me some more music, I'll sit and read the lyrics like a bible, a gospel I'll sing along..." Less Than Jake @ the Rave, Milwaukee, 3/23/09

I think it's pretty obvious, but I'm just going to mention that this didn't go up last night because I was at the concert I'm reviewing. You know, in case that didn't click with you for some reason.

The first time I saw Less Than Jake was almost ten years ago at the Rave in Milwaukee. They weren't touring on any particular record, as the band is pretty much constantly touring, even if they don't have a new release. Hello Rockview was their most recent release, but they were touting the upcoming Borders & Boundries, which was to be their first independant studio record since their debut. They had just gotten their release from Capitol, and were now on Fat Wreck Chords. The Suicide Machines opened.

Flash forward to last night. It's been nearly ten years, I've graduated high school and college, but I still go see Less Than Jake everytime they come to town (and sometimes I go to Chicago to see them a second time), and this night I'm realizing that there're a lot of similarities to that night all those years ago. Now, Less Than Jake isn't touring on any particular record, as the band is still constantly touring, even if they don't have a new release. Their most recent release is on an indie label (their own, in fact, Sleep It Off Records) after leaving a major (Warner, this time). On the other hand, I didn't care enough to show up for the opening bands.

The show was the least populated of any of the 20+ times I've seen Less Than Jake, but you wouldn't know it to see the band play. They were just as fired up as ever, playing a smattering of songs from their seminal sophomore effort, Losing Streak, up to their latest, GNV FLA (their debut, Pezcore, got the shaft). They also played a couple non-album tracks, including a cover of a FreeCreditReport.com jingle that had me in stitches (the pirate one, if you're curious).

All in all, the band doesn't seem to have lost a step in ten years. Granted, I'm a superfan, and always will be, and I was with my roommate/best friend who's also a superfan, but I think even if you don't know all the words to all the songs and have a best friend who does as well, you'll still enjoy yourself. The band's aforementioned energy is infectious, and I didn't see anyone who wasn't at the very least tapping their foot in time to the music for the entire set.

Dueling singers Chris and Roger (Less Than Jake disavows their last names) continued their witty between song banter as they always have, and provided a much needed rest for everyone who was thrashing or skanking. During songs, Buddy (trombone) and Roger are almost never not moving, and Vinny (drums) has that look on his face that says "I love every second of this... and I'm a little drunk."

The band played a solid set of crowd favorites, and finished with a five song encore that capped the night with "All My Best Friends are Metalheads," which is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The house was rocking, and that song really put an exclamation point on a set that was already great. Bottom line; if Less Than Jake comes to your town, go see them. You won't regret it.

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