Michael Bonanni, Senior Staff Writer
The Menzingers came to Oneonta on Saturday and conquered the stage in Fine Arts room 201. The punk band was joined by some familiar names, such as Dirtpope, Broken Field Runner and Steve Layman. Layman celebrated his new album release “Hope Is All We Have” at the show. What makes this new album special is the addition of a back-up band as opposed to his usual solo acoustic sound.
As for the venue, there have been a couple of shows in the Fine Arts room before, but it seems that the Music Industry Club is really starting to take advantage of the space. Luckily, finding the room tucked in the back of the building’s second floor didn’t deter attendees, as the bands enjoyed a turnout of almost 100 people.
Dirtpope opened the show with some hardcore thrash punk. Vocalist Pat O’Conner did some serious yelling, and guitarists, Mitchell Todorov, Dan Rickenback and Bassist Jake Wheeler, followed with intensity, as they gathered around Nick Connor on drums. The set was heavy yet surprisingly dynamic, and there was even a mosh pit from time to time. It was a pretty solid performance, although it ended too suddenly.
Broken Field Runner was a good follow up, mainly comprised of singer/guitarist Tony Bucci. The last time Bucci played in Oneonta he was also by himself doing an acoustic set like Layman. But Saturday, with a temporary back-up band also used by Layman, there was a new energy to Bucci’s music. He transitioned into using the band by playing solo until they walked onstage for the second song. There seemed to be growth not only in his music but in the crowd too. By Bucci’s own admission, “There were about ten people in the crowd the last time I was here.” He seemed to enjoy the show just as much as the crowd did.
Layman experienced a similar spark in energy. His acoustic set had the same kind of urgent, melodic feeling as before. It just fits better with electric guitar, the backing band and Bucci on acoustic guitar. He even played some solo acoustic songs surrounded by the crowd just as he had done last year.
Afterwards, the Menzingers came on and the energy in the room went through the roof. The dual singer punk band was welcomed with mosh pits and crowd surfing. There was little build up needed, and even the people in the crowd not going completely nuts were still getting into it, bobbing along to the music. Both Tom May and Joe Godino had clear, impressive vocals that could still be heard among the chaos of the front row. It was easy to enjoy them and rock along with everyone else, making it a fun show for both longtime fans and newcomers.
This was essentially a show of growth for everyone, and when all the elements came together it was about as punk as an on-campus show could get, especially when the Menzingers took the stage. There were only a select few in the crowd just standing around.
If there are more shows like this with the same quality of bands, the rest of the year should be something to look forward to.