Even though it falls on a Tuesday this year, and many of the parties and bar-oriented happenings just took place over the weekend, Halloween in Nashville still has plenty to offer, especially if you’re looking to spend it at a show (and hey, party on the weekend, show on Tuesday, and you get the best of both). Tonight, Oct. 31, punk fans will be delighted with a stellar bill at The Basement East, headed up by earnest, Philly punk outfit Beach Slang, who return for their biggest Music City headliner to date, still buzzing from last year’s A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. The Loved Ones frontman Dave Hause & The Mermaid, a Philly punk staple in his own right, brings his Americana tinged punk sound and excellent new LP, Bury Me in Philly, to support, and Chicago emo and power pop trio Pet Symmetry, featuring Into It. Over It.’s Evan Weiss, get things started. This is an essential show for any fan of quality punk, and tickets are still available here– but since it’s a holiday, they might not last. Read on for more!
Led by frontman James Alex, Philadelphia’s Beach Slang co-opt elements of punk, heartland, and indie rock, playing with an energetic earnestness that feels like a love letter to classic punk without entering the territory for full-blown nostalgia. With a sound is both fresh and familiar, it’s no surprise that they’ve racked up endless critical praise from so many tastemaking media outlets and punk fans, and quickly ascended to scene mainstay. Formed in 2013, the group made an amazing amount of headway with only a few songs to their name, Alex’s style compared to the great Paul Westerberg, and, fueled by enough initial positive response, toured extensively long before releasing an album. Their genre-bending sensibilities have earned them a place in the more pop punk and emo-geared side of the scene, performing comfortably alongside both more contemporary and trendy acts, as well as more underground and old school ones. Beach Slang’s full-length debut, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, ranked among 2015’s best, most underrated gems, and last year’s followup, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, managed to find even more confidence, vulnerability, angst, and earnestness; not just one of this year’s beat, but also one of the strongest sophomore efforts in recent memory. After a bit of a live lineup shuffle, the group have been back to regular, full-band live shows and festival outings all year, but last fall while their ranks were temporarily thinned, James opted to perform an already-booked tour by himself, in an acoustic configuration he dubbed Quiet Slang, which led to a recent EP, We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags, under that same moniker. A powerful live force, Beach Slang proper are as fun, unpredictable, and emotionally charged in person, and if you’re a fan of quality punk, this band are sure to fast become one of your new favorites.
DAVE HAUSE & THE MERMAID
A lifelong fixture in the flourishing Philadelphia scene, rocker Dave Hause performed in a variety of local punk and hardcore bands, most notably a short tenure in Paint It Black, before founding The Loved Ones, the group that helped him rise to national prominence, in 2004. Stints on Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour in the late ’00s, a collaborative folk concert made up of rotating figures of the punk world, seemed to help Hause embrace folk, Americana, and heartland rock elements, which he fused with his punk background for 2011 debut solo effort, Resolutions. In the years since, Dave has stayed active with both The Loved Ones (despite not releasing a record since 2009) and Chicago-bred supergroup The Falcon, and has continued to tour solo and as part of the Revival Tour, releasing his sophomore effort, Devour, in 2013. Just this year, Hause returned with his third and best album to date, Bury Me in Philly, which finds the most perfect marriage of his punk and Americana influences to date, flexing his range and versatility as a writer and reaching new emotional and vulnerable heights. With his best live band yet, The Mermaid, Hause is a perfect compliment to Beach Slang and a must-see performer in his own right.
Whether he’s willing to embrace the mantle or not, Evan Weiss has become something of the face of the modern emo scene (or revival, as some would peg it, though Weiss and many peers never stopped loving and playing this type of music, more people and press just suddenly started talking about it again over the past several years), notably for his fantastic primary vehicle Into It. Over It., as well as his numerous other endeavors like Their/They’re/There, Recreational Drugs, and of course Pet Symmetry, along with Dowsing’s Erik Czaja and What Gives’ Marcus Nuccio, where he handles bass and vocal duties. Something of a more lighthearted foil to IIOI, but still one influenced by classic emo, the band released their debut full-length, Pet Hounds, in 2015, after a series 7-inches and splits, and followed that up with this year’s Visions, which, like its predecessor finds more upbeat, power pop influences, but dials in a bit more heartfelt, emotional weight. Any project Weiss touches is worth your attention, and Pet Symmetry have a perfectly fun, silly energy to set a great Halloween vibe. Show up early!
Beach Slang, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, and Pet Symmetry will perform tonight, Oct. 31 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $18.