The Underground at The Nile Theatre in Mesa Arizona is like Punk Rock Valhalla and gets soo hot that even the ceiling fan droops due to the condensation and face melting conditions.
Literally it was a 100 degrees the night that Potty Mouth, The Bombpops and Masked Intruder f*cking destroyed The Underground at the Nile.
I went b/c I keep up on who plays there and after Spotify stalking all three bands on the bill I had found them all good. Catchy, SoCal, punk-ish, hook-y, but with heart- to paint with broad strokes.
What I was not prepared for was to fall in love with Potty Mouth, figure out exactly why Fat Wreck Chords signed the Bombpops and want to literally be in the band Masked Intruder. It should be said that every band that night could have headlined any show. It felt like a who is who of up and coming alt/punk/whatever you want to call it music.
Potty Mouth went on first and sported a much more mature “fuck you up” look and vibe than their press photos prepped me for. They played in the way that someone that is dangerous but cool does. And exuded what Abby Weems the lead singers Instagram bio states “Scary, but in a fun way.” Their music is catchy yet hits deeper notes with out crossing the line of sentimentality that makes things suck. They navigated their way through a set that reminded me of back room Brooklyn shows and late 90s strivings in smaller venues I used to hit up in Nashville.
The Bombpops back on the road after a long hiatus played like the pros that they are. I smoked a cigarette and chatted with drummer Josh Lewis in the alley before the show and he let me know how great it felt to be back on the road touring and that signing with Fat Wreck made this tour more packed, important and urgent in a good way. To call the “pop-punk” doesn’t do them justice as the breakdowns in their songs are soo fucking smart & fresh man. You see what Fat Mike saw and why the quartet got signed. Flexing on a balanced practiced sound the band seemed “bigger” in the way that all bands that can vertically move to giant festivals do.
Masked Intruder…Goddamn, let me count the ways. Masked Intruder is like if Carl from Aquateen fucked Weezer and had a misdemeanor baby. I have no fucking clue how the band, who address each other as the color of their ski masks btw, kept those masks on through out their set. It was SOO FUCKING HOT. Thick Long Island accents with hilarious anecdotes peppered the set. What one can NEVER be prepared for is Officer Bradford, the dancing crowd surfing stripping Police Officer that is the band’s version of The Bosstones Ben Carr. For a band that sings about stealing your wallet, heartfelt stalking and dodging convictions they sure brought me a fucking perma-grin for the whole show.
Check out all three bands. And forgive me if you see sweat dripping down the photo set.