The Menzingers - Hello Exile Tour - St. Louis 2019
Hello there, exile, you’re a dismal place and The Menzingers are here to tell us all about it. 2019 has been an exceptional year for music and the band’s sixth studio release Hello Exile has seemingly followed this trend. The punk outfit from Scranton, Pennsylvania are experts at infusing elements of Americana into their sound, resulting in a wholesome, heartland-rock delivery. In support of this release, the group is touring the United States and Europe from now through December.
Delmar Hall was lively with spectators from across the age spectrum. The congregation of old punks and minors alike was refreshing to see, showing a cross-generational appeal for the headliners. Support was provided by fellow Scranton act, Tigers Jaw. The Indie/punk act presented the crowd with a chilled out, mellow set. Though this seemed out of place for the genre of the headliner, the variety of the night’s bill was refreshing and the crowd seemed receptive.
Soon after taking the stage to the applause of the packed house, The Menzingers opened the night with “America (You’re Freaking Me Out).” The song, with laid-back guitar riffs reminiscent of The Clash, is a tasteful observation of the current political state of the nation, with the chorus singing “with all of my anger I scream and shout, America, I love you but you're freaking me out.” This was followed with “Anna,” a nostalgic number that would sound perfect cruising the highway with the windows down.
The set also featured a numerous songs from their previous effort, 2017’s After The Party, an album that serves as a tutorial for how to navigate entering one’s thirties. “Tellin’ Lies” supports this theme as singer Gregg Barnett sings “where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over? When you gonna quit this nonsense? Everyone's asking me over and over, but I don't mind telling lies.”
Songs like “Burn After Writing” had Barnett bringing a raw, punk-grittiness to the vocal performance over warm guitar tones. Same could be said of co-vocalist Tom May, whose tenor vocals brought contrast to songs like “Good Things” alongside bandmate’s guitar picking and rock-steady drumming.
Generating a massive reaction, fan favorite “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” injected a shot of energy into the spectators as they recited every word. Followed by other songs with equally as hooky choruses like “Thick as Thieves,” one could not help but to move their body to the music.
The Menzingers knack for songwriting and lyrics has been a constant since their inception as a band. This band has the ability to make punk rock feel wholesome. Similar to acts Gaslight Anthem or The Bouncing Souls, their music provides listeners with the chance to escape into the stories they are telling. The Menzingers delivered a solid performance well worth the money for anyone who attended.
- Curtis Ebl