January 5th marked the release show for Last Call’s debut full-length Dog Years, and it was definitely one to remember. The Knight Hall’s DIY atmosphere really leant itself to an intimate, shadowy, enthralling night of punk rock. Not only did the show have a solid lineup with some bands from California visiting, but the Christmas lights lining the amps and drum kit, and the closeness of the crowd made for a hell of a show.
Dreamcatchers and The Letter You opened with back-to-back crisp sets. Next up was Alaska, who changed the pace a bit with their heavy, rhythmic style. One thing I like about The Knight Hall is that the drum kit is elevated over the rest of the band so you can really see when a drummer is going off, and Alaska’s was. If you want my two cents, this is a band I’d keep an eye on in the year to come.
Following them, San Jose’s Stickup Kid jumped in feet first with an awesome Rage Against the Machine cover that led into in a solid set from the fast-emerging pop-punk band. They played some of their best songs like “Breathing,” “Lighthouse” and one of my personal favorites, “The Weather Outside Is Weather.” They shared some good news with the crowd, revealing that they plan to record a new album in the coming month, and I speak for many when I say I can’t wait to check that out.
The night proceeded with Pismo Beach’s Heart to Heart and all of their usual energy. They left their mark on the show not only by frontman Nick Zoppo ripping his t-shirt Hulk Hogan style and rolling around on the floor, but also by how heavy the band sounds live. You get that vibe from listening to their self-titled full-length, but it all resonates really well live. My personal favorites of their set were “Stuck,” “Forty Forty Twenty” and “Thanks for Nothing.”
Having Caravels on the bill really took this show to another level. Not only did they add diversity to the lineup, but they absolutely killed it with a powerful, polished set that was a true joy to watch. Their drummer chose to forego the riser and play on the ground, which was a welcome change considering the fact that he’s an animal behind the kit and it’s always cool to be close to that kind of energy. The talented quintet played mostly newer, unreleased songs but revisited some old favorites, including “Snake Pillsken.”
But without a doubt, the night belonged to Last Call. They played a long set full of songs from their recently-released (and more mature) debut full-length Dog Years. And, of course, a few classics were thrown in to see just how many kids could pile on top of each other to get closer to frontman Austin Jeffers. For me, the best part of their set was when they played “Limbo” and “Braid” in sequence. They form a cool dynamic together and I was stoked to experience that in a live setting. “Bones” and “Winter Clothes” also stood out, and I have to imagine that seeing their dedicated fans and friends screaming all the words back at them that night will be a source of pride and inspiration for the band. 2013 just might be the year for Last Call, so don’t miss them if they come to a town near you.
- Felipe Garcia
Photos by Aaron Mattern and Steven Matview
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