The Menzingers @ QMU, Glasgow, 11 Feb
The Menzingers' northernmost show on their Hello Exile tour is a resounding success, with Glasgow’s hospitality is been more than repaid
With just a few dates left on their Hello Exile tour, Pennsylvania punks The Menzingers have spent the last three days trapped in Glasgow, deprived of a Dublin date thanks to Storm Ciara. Thankfully they seem to have made themselves at home, shouting out both the city’s hospitality and the enthusiasm of tonight’s crowd.
Before our headliners take to the stage however, there are sets from fellow Pennsylvanians Mannequin Pussy and LA five-piece Spanish Love Songs. A surprising number of those in attendance seem to have caught the latter in Edinburgh’s Bannermans, and with their emo soul-bearing, some energetic pogoing, and the impressive It’s Not Interesting as a bruised setlist centrepiece, SLS seem like a band on the up. They’re still a little rough round the edges but there’s plenty of passion on display.
David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel blasts over the QMU PA as The Menzingers emerge onstage and burst into life before the backing track has even faded away. Over six albums the Scranton foursome have gone from scrappy punk rockers to the assured new wave of 2017’s After the Party and last year’s Hello Exile.
A singalong High School Friend muses on getting old disgracefully while Thick as Thieves is an ode to friendship ripped from the super melodic songbook of 70s rockers Cheap Trick. On Tellin' Lies, the duo holler 'Where we gonna go now that our 20s are over?' and the audience chant back at them, while Lookers would be the best track in the back catalogue of a band five times their size.
More than a decade into their career, they’re an incredibly tight unit with an understated and underrated rhythm section and the two frontmen, Greg Barnett and Tom May, trade lead guitar and vocals with ease. Not every track hits, however. A cover of The Clash’s Death or Glory lacks the buccaneering swagger of the original while In Remission is a reminder that their back catalogue contains the odd swing and a miss, but you’re never more than three minutes away from another melodic hit.
After the Party triggers another wave of crowd surfers and then the audience are left to make their way out into the night. The northernmost show on the Hello Exile tour has been a resounding success and Glasgow’s hospitality has been more than repaid.