Road Report: The Lawrence Arms in Rhode Island

Steve O - March 9, 2014

The Lawrence Arms

So I realize that while I usually write about random records, I’ve done a couple of what I feel like calling Road Reports. The last Streetlight Manifesto shows in New Jersey and Good Riddance in Cambridge, MA. Well, now let’s add the Lawrence Arms in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to the list. (What a stereotypical New England name, right?)

Yes, I drove almost three hours to see a band that I’ve seen so many times I’ve lost count. Crazy? Likely. But it was also a great time, as every Lawrence Arms show is. This one had the added bonus as I was able to cross Rhode Island off the list of states I’d been to. It was the last holdout on the east coast until you get all the way down to South Carolina.

The show also featured Elway and the Copyrights. Despite having seen the Copyrights a bunch, I don’t really know their songs too well. But they’re all fast and catchy, and they played songs like “Shit’s Fucked,” “Sleepwalker,” and “Charlie Birger Time,” so I was happy. As for Elway, I’ve been getting into them a lot lately. Kinda like Chris-only Lawrence Arms. They were great live, and pretty funny too. Their debut record, Delusions, has some great songs, off which they played “Passing Days,” “It’s Alive!” “Whispers in a Shot Glass,” and “Kristina’s Last Song.” Check them out, especially if you dig the Lawrence Arms songs starring Chris.

As for the Lawrence Arms, the rare tour is in support of their fantastic new record, Metropole. Having seen them in Chicago so much, I’m used to seeing them in packed buildings with people going crazy. I assumed a similar situation out here, especially since people have been deprived of regular Lawrence Arms shows. I was somewhat mistaken. It was a small venue, as was the crowd. It certainly didn’t feel packed. They opened with “Them Angels Been Talkin’” and everyone pretty much just stood around. It wasn’t until “Great Lakes/Great Escapes,” the fourth song in, that people really got moving. Even then, it still seemed calm. But I guess my expectations have been distorted after so many hometown shows.

As for new songs, they played “You Are Here” and “Seventeener (17th and 37th),” both of which they played at the New Year’s Eve show back in Chicago. But they also played “Acheron River” and “October Blood.” All four got good receptions. They played “Porno and Snuff Films” for the first time in, according to Brendan, five years. The set list also featured “On with the Show,” “The Raw and Searing Flesh,” and “The Disaster March" off The Greatest Story Ever Told, which just reminded me how I’m still waiting to hear “The March of the Elephants.” “The Raw and Searing Flesh” and “The Disaster March” were the closers. Personally, “The Disaster March” has long been one of my favorites, and was a great end to a great night. Except for the awaiting long drive back to Albany.