Swingin’ Utters – [Live]

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Say what you will, but the Swingin’ Utters (in spite of their name) are an important band: they’ve put out some of the most seminal street punk albums (see the Scared sessions and Streets of San Francisco), and are probably responsible for the proto-cow-punk genre that many bands are cashing in on these days (think Chuck Ragan and the legion of other folk-inspired acts that have poked their heads up over the last couple of years).  Regrettably, the Swingin’ Utters are one of those bands that is highly respected by some of today’s greatest groups (Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel once told me they were one of the reasons his band signed to Fat Wreck), but underrated by the public.

Luckily, they’ve had some life breathed into them over the past year and are not only back with a new album, but touring extensively. Their latest Kick it Over tour starts off in Boston and, much to my surprise, a couple of their bandmembers are missing in the live lineup: Spike Slawson and Jack Dalrymple. With so many rotating members over the years, it’s been established that vocalist Johnny Peebucks, guitarist Darius Koski, and drummer Greg McEntee make up the core of the Utters and, with their presence, one can already count on a satisfactory show. Even so, when the crowd asks about the missing members, guitarist Koski points at the single new recruit and says, “There’s Jack and Spike, right there!”

I’m embarrassed to say that, for being such a huge Utters fan, I’ve never seen them do a complete headliner’s set list, so I was very excited for this show to say the least. I expected them to ignore some of their more offbeat songs on this tour (like the contents of their Self-titled album, Five Lessons Learned and Brazen Head), but to ignore all of their Broken Bottles album came as a surprise. Regardless of these setbacks, the Utters put on a great show. McEntee’s drumming is incredibly tight, Koski’s guitar is versatile, Johnny looks as pissed off as ever, and this is all perfectly complimented by some stellar bass playing from the new guy (whoever he is). Their set list consisted mostly of old-school offerings (such as "Jackie Jab," "Tied Down," "Teenage Genocide" and "Windspitting Punk") with their newest material peppered in (including "Brand New Lungs," "Kick it Over" and, surprisingly enough, "Scary Brittle Frame"). After all, Johnny Peebucks reminds the crowd, “You want us to keep touring, right?” Yes. Yes, we do.
As someone who hasn't seen the Utters live for almost ten years, this tour comes as a very welcome addition to the hot and sweaty Summer shows to come. There are countless bands making the rounds in the next few months, and an Utters show is simply the icing on the cake; fans shouldn't miss this tour.



Swingin' Utters' current tour continues. Click here to see a list of upcoming shows.

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