It wasn’t a particularly good week for Beach Slang as they rolled into their third Vegas appearance in the fall of last year. The gig was originally planned as part of the inaugural Emerge Impact + Music Conference, but became a stand alone show after its cancellation. This gave the new venue, the Brooklyn Bowl, a mere two weeks to promote the event. On top of that, the Philadelphia rockers had the entirety of their gear stolen just days before the show.
It would have been understandable and not at all surprising if Beach Slang decided to abort the show but that’s not the kind of band they are and I’m thankful for that. But it was a different experience than I’m used to from the heart on their sleeves rockers. The band played with minimal banter, which is quite unusual for them. This meant no nods to Santana or extended song request section. Frontman James Alex and crew played a short set but still touched on favorites like “Spin the Dial,” “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas,” “Boxcar” (originally by Jawbreaker) and set-ender “Punk or Lust.” I wish we got more but I was happy we got something and hopefully circumstances are better next time they come through.
The Slang were once again supported by locals Mercy Music, who were early supporters of the band and opened their first Vegas show for Neon Reverb, and California’s Divided Heaven, who, like the headliners, count Paul Westerberg and The Replacements amongst their influences. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen Divided Heaven play full band and I was impressed with how tight they are, with a rambunctious energy that comes when frontman Jeff Berman is backed by a rhythm section (Divided Heaven is also used for Berman’s solo gigs) . Mercy Music upped the energy even more, with frontman Brendan Scholz and bassist Jarred Cooper leaping around stage during songs like “Fine” and “Hang Your Head.”
Photos by Hunter Wallace | https://www.flickr.com/photos/hunter_wallace/