Hot Water Music and The Menzingers have a quite bit in common. Both bands embrace the grizzled emotive "orgcore" punk (jokingly derived from those who frequent Punkews.org) sound, making them a great pair for a tour. Both bands performed in Phoenix in 2012 as opening acts-- Hot Water Music opened for The Gaslight Anthem and Rise Against and The Menzingers opened for Bouncing Souls.
The biggest point, and the reason this story is running on a Phoenix site is because this tour did not come to Arizona. Las Vegas and Southern California are always viable options-- that's a great thing about living here, you can pretty much drive six hours in any direction and find something interesting.
The Menzingers took the stage promptly at 8:15 and focused on material from its most recent and phenomenal album, On The Impossible Past. Back to back songs like "Nice Things" and "Gates" elegantly meshed together.
La Dispute was next after a short set from Menzingers. This hardcore band used all sorts of technical guitar riffs and time signatures, which was pretty unique. The only descriptor that comes close is what would happen if At The Drive-In became a hardcore band.
The night was going very well, as an enthusiastic crowd sang long and crowd surfed, especially during La Dispute's song. The energy peaked the moment Hot Water Music took the stage and opened with "Remedy," the first track from 2002's classic album Caution.
Hot Water Music's set started very strong, following up "Remedy" with "Mainline," the opening track from 2012's Exister. This trend continued with a rousing performance of A Flight and a Crash, from its eponymous album.
Once the "intro" songs were out of the way, Hot Water Music played "Giver," an unlikely selection from The New What Next. The band's set was pretty well balanced between old and new material, though singer/guitarist Chuck Ragan indicated that the band was going to play one more new song before "a bunch of old stuff."
The onslaught of "old stuff" included fantastic versions of "Rooftops" and "Turnstiles," as well as a cover of The Bouncing Souls' "True Believers."
After 22 years, Hot Water Music is still going strong. The band continues to have a strong following, evidenced by the sold out show at The Echoplex in Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 5.
Hot Water Music Setlist:
A Flight and a Crash
State of Grace
Jack of All Trades
Paid in Full
Our Own Way
Drag My Body
One Step to Slip
True Believers (Bouncing Souls Cover)