Friday Night: Screeching Weasel At Warehouse Live
For more photos from Friday's show, see our slideshow here.
There is a certain amount of baggage involved in seeing a band you've loved since high school for the first time, especially when that band carries some baggage of its own. Put your expectations too high and you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
The baggage that Screeching Weasel brings to the stage is exactly the reason why the band resonated with Aftermath 15 years ago. The boys from Chicago are easily lumped in to the same category as other Lookout! Records "hitmakers" The Queers and Green Day, but while those bands were singing mindless pop-punk about girls' tits and masturbation, Ben Weasel (born Ben Foster) was writing songs about paranoia, depression and anxiety, ailments he famously suffers from. He was also writing songs about girls who refused to shave their legs and strong-willed women who had succumbed to the American Dream.
But 24 years as a band, as Weasel frequently reminded the crowd Friday night, has not exactly been kind to the guys. John Jughead, the second-longest serving member, left the band last year and Ben Weasel is now joined by a group of musicians nearly half his age, including a guitarist with the goofiest stage dance in the history of all music, along with on-again-off-again guitarist/bassist Dan Panic.
The intermittent history of the band is probably the reason why Aftermath never got to see them. In fact, every person we talked to at the show remarked on their excitement at seeing the band for the first time. Even 30FootFall singer Butch Klotz expressed the same at the end of his band's set.
"I'm stoked to see Screeching Weasel," he told the crowd. "I've never seen them before."
Weasel took the stage apologizing for a stomach bug that had laid him up for a few hours. He also shouted out the Axiom, where the band had previously played. He was clad in a faded Ramones T-shirt (but of course) and had a sizeable beer belly, but as the band launched into the first notes of "Cindy's on Methadone" he sounded exactly like the nasally 17-year-old voice he's always been.
From then on it was an onslaught of three-minute power chords with very little break in between songs, except for when Weasel had a story to tell. The band sounded steady - not drop-dead amazing, but good, and according to a friend of Aftermath's, better than they had sounded at shows just a few years back.