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Punk Rock Summer Nationals • Jay Bentley of BAD RELIGION

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…a tour that featured some of punk rock’s heavy hitters…

Guess who’s back…back again…kilScene’s back…tell your friends. That’s right my fellow kilSters! kilScene is back! I’ve missed you all, it’s been so long, and I could bore you with the details of our way too long absence from your lives, but I won’t. Let’s just say that real life got in the way, and have that be that. I hope you’ll all forgive us and that you’re still out there to enjoy us. It being a new year, I figured, why not come back with a BANG! Last summer, I had the good fortune of being able to meet the one and only Mr. Jay Bentley of legendary punk outfit, Bad Religion!

Jay was in New York last summer with the rest of the boys from BR on the Punk Rock Summer Nationals tour. A tour that featured some of punk rock’s heavy hitters including: Pennywise, The Offspring, and the Vandals! Although I’ve seen Bad Religion live countless times, for anyone that knows me, Bad Religion was my first introduction into that glorious world of punk. The mere fact that I got to meet one of the founding members of this very influential group, floored me.

That song is not just listened to, it’s fucking felt

The show itself was pretty epic. The Vandals got things started off just right bringing their beastly energy at 100%! It was definitely a fun experience. They didn’t play like they were some opening act, no sir-ee Bob. The Vandals brought it headliner style! Pennywise was up next, and they never disappoint. This was the first time that I was lucky enough to see Pennywise since Jim Lindberg‘s return to the PW fold. I’ll say it right here and now; no offense to Zoli Teglas, the singer who briefly replaced Jim for the span of one album, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to the band’s 2012 album, All or Nothing, because Zoli is not Jim. That’s like Queen filling Freddie’s spot first with Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company), and currently with Adam Lambert (of suck fest “talent” show, American Idol). You just don’t fucking do it. Singer drops out of the band? Take a break. Do something else. I hate that what I’m stating is that the singer in band is the metaphorical Medusa, but that’s what it boils down to.

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When Pennywise hit the stage and I saw Jim front and center, I swear a single tear stained my cheek. It was magical. It was all kinds of awesome. The band was tight as ever as they ran through their hits. For their finale, Pennywise ended their set with the über anthem that is “Bro Hymn Tribute“. As always, whether on the band’s 2000 live album, Live @ the Key Club, or experiencing the song there, in the fleshiest bit of fleshy flesh, “Bro Hymn Tribute” never fails to send electric shock like shivers up and down my spine, especially when the band gets to the chorus. That song is not just listened to, it’s fucking felt.

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…taken over by a sea of kids who could give a rat fuck’s dick whose playing what on the stage.

Next in this line up of kick ass-ness was the band that I came to see, Bad Religion. I’ve seen Bad Religion so many times, but no matter. Being in the thick of it amongst other Bad Religion fans, there’s nothing better, and this particular August at Irving Plaza was no different. The show was explosive! The BR boys don’t go for flash and pizzazz, but then again, they don’t really have to. What Bad Religion does every time they hit the stage is wow the ever loving fuck out of the crowd with their near forty year wealth of material. The only thing different this time was New York’s introduction to Mike Dimkich, the new lead/rhythm guitarist who replaced long standing ax man, Greg Hetson who exited the group back in 2013 for reasons unknown. Bad Religion’s performance was what you’d expect from a band this far into their career. They know how to work the crowd into a frenzy. They’re top notch performers with nothing left to prove, and as such, they give it their all and leave it on the stage. Even though I’ve seen the band live countless times, I’ll never stop going to their shows when they come to town. The experience is just as thrilling for me now as it was the first time around. (Look for the exclusive interview with Jay Bentley at the end of this article.)

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To close out this punk rock juggernaut, The Offspring explode on the stage. It’s been twenty years since The Offspring’s third offering, Smash, introduced them to the mainstream, thanks largely to the strength of their MTV/radio friendly single, “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)“. The band ran through the entirety of the Smash album and they still had it. Funny enough, I didn’t even stay until the very end of their performance because the place had become a madhouse by the time the band could even strum the first few chords on their guitars. Mosh pits are a young man’s game, and I may be only thirty-four years old, but I don’t really go for that anymore. I go to concerts now to enjoy the live experience of seeing a band, NOT to allow myself to be taken over by a sea of kids who could give a rat fuck’s dick whose playing what on the stage. This was my first time seeing The Offspring live and it was totally ruined for me. I guess you could say I’m just not that punk rock anymore (and if you do, better hope I’m not within earshot!)

The_Offspring

By the time I left the venue, the show was just about over anyway. This being the first time I saw The Offspring live, I have to say, I was quite impressed with their performance. It was refreshing to hear Smash live, as it is my second favorite album from the band (the first being their self-titled debut, which, even today kicks so many asses, it’s not even funny.)

Well, that’s it folks. This article is a long time coming I know, but like I stated before life gets in the way of the things I love, but at long last, kilScene is back and what’s more, we’re back with a BANG! What better way to announce our re-launch than with this in depth interview with Jay Bentley!

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