Concert Review: Cobra Skulls / Nothington / Signals Midwest – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH – 10/05/2011

I need to be honest with you on a couple of things.  First, I have not been that kind to my teeth for years and neglected to take them to the dentist for a long while.  Second, I have never been to a punk show at the Beachland Tavern.  Both are true statements, and both were taken care of yesterday.

After I had the pleasure of getting the shit drilled out of my teeth for a couple of hours after the paying gig, I headed out to the glorious Beachland Tavern to take in my first ever punk rock show in the Waterloo District featuring Cobra Skulls, Nothington, and Signals Midwest.  For the record, there have been plenty of punk rock shows at the Beachland ever since the venue opened its doors in 2000, I just never made it to one.

Why?

I have no freaking idea and I kind of hate myself for it.  Enough of me beating myself up over missing countless good and wholesome punk rock performances by one of my favorite Cleveland venues.  Let’s talk about last night.

Local punk/indie/rockers Signals Midwest opened the night with their fine and technical style.  1/2 of this band are homies of mine, and I am pretty sure I will charm the other 1/2 soon.  Rocking out to songs like “In Tensions” off their latest release Latitudes & Longitudes, the band had no problem warming up the crowd and other bands, for that matter, all who of which gathered around the stage to hear these guys out.  This has to be said: This band has the ability to be the next best thing to come out of Cleveland, OH.  If you have not heard these guys yet, do yourself a favor and check out their Bandcamp page.

San Francisco’s Nothington followed shortly after and hand down blew me away with their performance.  Having just gotten into these guys a couple of weeks ago, I was beyond impressed with their sound.  It reminded me of all of the good things about 90s punk rock that surrounded me growing up.  Already familiar with their recent release, Borrowed Time, I was treated to some of their older material and really liked what I heard.

Primary vocalist Jay Northington actually took a moment from their set to give praise to the local openers Signals Midwest saying that they were “the raddest local band” he’d heard in a long time.  He was dead serious too.  Later Northington commented on his last trip to Cleveland with his former band, Tsunami Bomb, when they played the old Grog shop years ago…or so he thought.  Apparently he had been to Cleveland since but was too messed up to remember.

The band cranked out a ton of foreign tracks through their set but I did manage to pick out a few I knew like “Stop Screaming” and “Far To Go” with Chris Matulich taking over vocal duties.  At the end of their awesome set, Northington and their drummer hung out on stage where he played a very old song of his that he said “validated” what he’s been doing on the road all these years.  The entire crowd basically stopped what they were doing to listen to the song.  I was unable to catch the name of it, but it was pretty damn awesome.  Their set seemed short-lived, but luck for me they are playing a Fun Fun Fun Fest after show and I will be there.

The headliners of the night, Cobra Skulls, took to the stage and were more of a comedy act than a punk rock band.  The band, that’s been around since 2005, cranked out old and new tracks and made every effort to throw in a joke or comment that resulted in tons of laughs though out.  I know I kept cracking up when Adam Beck congratulated the entire crowd multiple times and then congratulated his band for being so professional and playing two songs in a row.

“Hot Sand”, “Faith Is A Cobra” and “Solastalgia” were a few of the many tracks they played that kept the crowd going.  I want to say they covered Bad Religion’s “Give You Nothing”, but I honestly am not 100% sure – I know, I am a bad reviewer.  I do know that Devin Peralta killed it singing “¡Hasta Los Cobra Skulls Siempre!” to the crowd as well as one of my all time favorite Cobra songs, “Muniphobia”.  The band seemed to play an endless amount of songs and when they tried to finish up their set with Phil the merch guy on banjo (which was amazing), the fans still begged for Cobra Skulls to play more.

Lucky for the fans, most of the band was done, but Beck wasn’t and started playing 80s cover songs to which the entire crowd san along to.  Admitting he was a huge fan of Eddie Money, Beck broke into “867-5309 (Jenny)” followed by aHa’s “Take On Me” and Cutting Crew’s “Just Died In Your Arms”.  In all the year of going to live shows, I have never seen people most of 80s pop rock, but last night that happened.  Beck promised his performance was not affiliated with Cobra Skulls and he just kept playing covers.  In fact, I am not sure how much longer he went because I left during Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.  I wanted to stay, but had to venture on home.

For my first punk rock show at the Beachland Tavern, I must say it was the best one I have ever been to there.  Signals Midwest impressed, Nothington stole the show, and Cobra Skulls brought on the fun.  It was definitely a good night to be out and about with good friends and great music.

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