Pennywise / Strung Out
November 4, 2016
House of Blues
By Andrea D. Morin
Photos by Joseph De Leon
SoCal Punk Brings 20 Year Anniversary Tour To The HOB
SoCal punk rock band, Pennywise, from Hermosa Beach, California played for a room full of fans at the Dallas, Texas House of Blues. On the road in support of their 20th Anniversary release for About Time, their 1995 album, and joined by California bands, Strung Out, Unwritten Law and Runaway Kids.
Strung Out had a short, but solid performance. The highlight of their set was the song they ended... "Soulmate," a powerful tribute to the late Tony Sly from No Use For A Name, who died unexpectedly in July 2012. "Soulmate" was one of the 33 songs recorded for the album, The Songs Of Tony Sly: A Tribute, that was put together by Sly's friend Fat Mike from NOFX. All of the proceeds from this album benefits the Tony Sly Memorial Fund. Each of these songs on the album were from fellow punk rock artists doing their own take on No Use For A Name and Tony Sly numbers.
Before Pennywise even took the stage, the mosh pit was raging in full force to NOFX songs, "Linoleum" and "The Brews," both off the Punk In Drublic album setting the mood for the show and rallying up the crowd. The show started with the members of Pennywise walking on stage to talk briefly about the 20th anniversary of their third studio album, About Time and then played all 12 songs in order, top to bottom. The crowd was full of nonstop, amped up energy going wild over songs like "Peaceful Day," "Perfect People," "Waste Of Time," and "Every Single Day." About Time was the final studio album to feature bass player, Jason Thirsk, who committed suicide in 1996. Thirsk was a key song writer for Pennywise and several of his songs appeared on later albums after his death.
After they played the last song from About Time, "Killing Time," front man Jim Lindberg told the crowd they wanted to play a few cover songs that they love from other bands. They surveyed the crowd with great interactions but finally landed on doing a Misfits and Bad Religion cover. Jason Cruz, lead singer for Strung Out, joined in. The mosh pit was going strong for almost every song thereafter and that alone made for some great people watching, especially the guy with a broken arm in a sling! Black concert t-shirts from other notorious SoCal punk bands like Bad Religion, NOFX, Misfits, etc. were the staple uniform of the night.
Continuing their set, Pennywise then played a few mega hits from their 25-year discography. Their classic, "Pennywise," from their first self-titled 1991 album of the same name was a huge crowd pleaser. "My Own Country," from their fifth studio album Straight Ahead, "Society" from their fourth studio album Full Circle, and "The World" from their sixth studio album Land of the Free?. Every member (Fletcher Dragge on guitar, Randy Bradbury on bass, and Byron McMackin on drums) was on fire, especially for "Fuck Authority."
A fan favorite, "Stand By Me," a cover by the late Ben E. King, which was featured on their Wildcard EP, had everyone singing along to the traditional version of the song, which erupted into screams for Jim Lindberg's speed punk rock version.
They notoriously ended their set with their powerful anthem, "Bro Hymn" from their first studio self-titled album. After the first few lines, all members of Strung Out, Unwritten Law and Runaway Kids along with other friends, joined in for a massive sing along. Every single person in the crowd screamed along as well! "Bro Hymn" was originally written by the late Jason Thirsk as a tribute to three of his friends who died. After Thirsk's death, Pennywise permanently changed the song lyrics that included those three people's names to now include "Jason Mathew Thirsk, this one's for you." Everyone screamed out Jason's name during this amazing life performance.
Their high energy one-hour set ended without an encore but seriously, how could anyone play more after that epic performance of "Bro Hymn"? The crowd left pumped and completely satisfied, and most likely, so did the band with this being next to the last stop of the tour. Dozens of fans left with their crowd surfing badge of honor. Come back to Dallas soon!
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