by Sam Mendez
The last time Lagwagon performed at the Grog Shop was so long ago, it was at the venue’s old location. After all that time, Lagwagon made its return to Cleveland to find a crowd that was more than eager for their performance. The band, which has recently released a box set of their first five albums stuck to performing songs from that release, including “Discourse,” “Violin,” “After You My Friend,” “Know It All,” “Kids Don’t Like To Share,” and much more. This made the crowd feel as if it traveled back in time to the heyday of Lagwagon. Stage banter between the members of the band and the crowd was very candid, with frontman Joey Cape talking about how he ate at Melt before the show and was full to a point of feeling a bit sick. Guitarist Chris Flippin asked the crowd if anyone had weed, to which many people responded in gleeful shouts; he then told those people to meet him at the merch stand after the show.
All the supporting acts were bands that are also signed onto the Fat Wreck Chords label, so this night was a showcase of the label’s talent and response to anyone who says “punk is dead.” Opening for the night was Useless I.D., a punk band that started in Israel and is renowned as one of the most successful punk bands from the Middle East. Their set didn’t lack energy, but the crowd didn’t form a mosh pit just yet; it was only the beginning of the night. Next up was the Flatliners, whose set got the mosh pit started, but only for a moment. They too mentioned how stuffed they were from eating at Melt beforehand (maybe Melt was sponsoring the show that night). After the Flatliners came Dead To Me, who also mentioned Melt, but singer-bassist Tyson Annicharico denounced it. During the first half of their performance, Annicharico harassed the crowd a bit for not being energetic enough (their set certainly wasn’t tranquilizing), but during the second half, people in the audience began to get rowdy with moshers and stage-divers, which would carry over into Lagwagon’s entire performance.