Husbands AKA, Blow Torch, Rough Francis At the Monkey House December 31, 2015

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had a great time seeing music Thursday night at The Monkey House. The time was listed as doors at 8:30 and show at 9, so I headed out around 8:30 and took the long walk to the show. I arrived just before 9, and got in and settled. Husbands AKA hit the stage at 9:15 and the fun began. They are a five-piece with guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a strong articulate singer. I though of them as a ska band but they really had a nice mix of alt rock, punk and ska. Most of the songs had the styles mixed within. They would bounce around breezily for a bit then settle into some serious rock. Some started with more of a punk feel then go into a reggae break. Either way, it was a very high energy show and the small and growing crowd was impressed, though not dancing. It was their first show in 3 years but showed no signs of cobwebs. They were spot on for the whole show. One song may have called Fatal Flaw. One had a big dramatic ’80’s rock sound before the ska began. Every moment of the show was quite intense and had me bopping along. It seemed early when they announced their last song, and indeed, they only played for a half hour. That said, it was a wonderfully intense half hour.

It seemed like the next band thought Husbands would play longer so it was almost a half hour until the next band walked in. They set up quickly and started playing around 10:45 or so.

Blow Torch hit the stage with some recorded effects then launched into a couple of cowpunk songs. I had expected them to be a bit more country, but their show was a lot more rock. Yea. The band included a gentleman named Clark on vocals and a box that played effects between songs, Bill Mullins on guitar, Kirk Flanagan on bass and Jeremy Frederick on drums. While the first two songs had a bit of a country feel to them, most of the show was punk rock. Clark sang nicely and screamed appropriately. The songs shifted rhythms quick enough that it was a challenge to keep up. I just loved it. There were three songs in the middle of the set that had a Ramones vibe, though the music was just a little slower. It was fast, just not Ramones fast. They wrapped the 45 minute show with a blistering song that may have been called They Laughed At Me. The near capacity crowd enjoyed the show, but again, didn’t dance at all.

ROUGH FRANCIS set up quickly but held back as the hour approached midnight. Champagne was poured at the bar and we counted down the last 10 seconds of 2015, toasted, and 2016 began in style. The capacity crowd was full to the front of the stage as Francis opened with Every Day. The super high energy rock band played their punk music with us and people were dancing and jumping and having a great time. The band played a couple of classics and a lot of new songs. They did a set with a few covers somewhere in the middle. Around half way into the show the moshing began. It wasn’t super intense, but those of us towards the front got a friendly jostle here and there. At one point, after some pretty energetic dancing by the crowd, they pulled out Not A Nice Guy and the mosh pit became mighty. With the music at such an intense energy they usually play around an hour but not that night. They kept playing song after song and we loved every moment. Late in the set they did a killer version of Blind Pigs, and at one point in the show Paul Comegno magically appeared in the audience moshing away, still playing guitar. I think they wore the audience out as the crowd started thinning a bit towards the end. The band were undaunted and pulled out 21 songs and played for a full 90 minutes. What a way to start the new year. At that point where they had played so much it did not seem like they could go on, they pulled out one of the most stunning versions of Comm To Space that I have ever heard. They really took their time and let it build and build and just explode. It was majestic.

It was 1:30 when they finally wrapped up. I ducked out pretty quickly and took the long walk home. It was a glorious night and I had that beautiful mix of being elated and exhausted. Thanks guys!!!!!

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog,