Tag Archives: Signals Midwest

Interview: Jeff & Loren of Signals Midwest

It’s no lie.  I miss Cleveland.  I miss Akron.  I miss you Ohio.

I can not tell you how excited I was last night once my Cleveland homies Signals Midwest dropped by for a quick visit.

The boys had a night off of their current tour and I told them they could crash at my pad if they wanted.  They took me up on my offer and decided that we should all go see that new Batman movie too.

I was more than fine with that.

After the movie (amazing btw) and many beers later I felt like interviewing them for kicks and giggles.  Jeff and Loren were the troopers of the night and not only stayed up late, but were all about a drunken impromptu interview.

BHP:  So, what did you think about the movie?

Jeff Russell:  There was about 7 scenes that was tied to to my favorite and they all included Anne Hathaway and I was all like me likey likey.

Loren Shumaker-Chupp: Oh Batman… I don’t know.  The Restorations flasks were pulling it up.  John Blake was getting promoted to detective was epic.  I hit a certain point in the movie where I didn’t know what was going on.  Bruce Wayne making it out of the pit was it.

BHP: Bane was a little heavy on the Vader.

JR:  Ummmmm….I think as a trilogy it ended perfectly and I loved how Christopher Nolan had an all-star cast.  If he was a basketball coach, he would have had a dream team.  But LeBron James would have been in the new Spiderman movie.

LS: The pit that Wayne was stuck in was easy to get to get out of  in New Jersey.

JR:  Commissioner Gordon moved to Cleveland.

BHP:  Ha ha, and I moved away.  Do you feel the movie lacked in anything?

JR:  I would have loved to see Mr. Freeze and what he would have brought to the table.  I would have loved to have seen his take on global warning.  What if Al Gore played Mr. Freeze?

LS: I just think that I have a better memory of Danny DeVito carrying around that umbrella.  I just say that because you can’t use the Penguin anymore because he killed it.  Jack Nicholson killed it.  He warned Heath Ledger to not play the Joker.

BHP:  How’s the tour going?

LS:  Going great.  Played a lot of shows we did not know what we were getting into but had a good turnout.  We like playing new places not knowing what were were going into and having a good reaction.

JR:  The people that travel to see us is mind-blowing.  It sounds conceded, but we made some solid friends in cities that we could  not have played in due to cramming in so many shows as possible in a month and not going to as many cities as we wanted to.

LS:  This tour is great as we get to see a lot of cities, but not as many as we wanted to.  It is great to see so many people thought.

JR:  I will say it’s crazy being 2 weeks being Luther and 4 days ahead of Hold Tight!.  Having kids still come out to our shows is pretty awesome.  It’s tour season.

BHP:  What is next for you guys?

JR: We start a week long tour with French Exit.

LS:  We will be out with them for 6 days and have the cost.

JR:  We ge tho play at our favorite venue called VLHS. Does anybody need a beer?

BHP:  Yes.

LS:  Vince Lombardi high school. Yeah.

JR:  Also stoked to see Sleeping Weather, cause that band shreds.  I think they are just a three piece.

BHP:  What do you guys think of Las Cruces?

JR:  It is not that hot.

LS:  I heard some coyotes earlier.

JR:  No scorpions.  We went and saw Dark Night Crisis with our home girl Brian.

LS:  Las Cruces is awesome because you can buy liquor at Walgreens.  In Cleveland you have go to a liquor store.  Wave Falls, what is that Wallgreens beer?

And that was it.  The interview ended and we all went to bed.  It was well past 3am and we were all exhausted and maybe a little drunk too.  Even though Max and Steve passed out early (Steve, I hope you are feeling better man), it was still great to see the guys.  I only wish it could have lasted a little longer.  Sadly I had to go to work…really hungover, but I made it and wet on with my good self while Village Inn made breakfast for Signals Midwest.  Man I was jealous about that…

Happy touring fellas. Thanks for the great hang.

Best Of 2011 According To BHP

Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end.  With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.

There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend.  Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.

I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts.  I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases.  If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.

I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.

Albums of the Year:

SeahavenWinter Forever

*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year.  They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this.  The first time I listened to it, I was hooked.  I see big things happening with this band in the near future.

NothingtonBorrowed Time

*This is another album I favored over the rest this year.  Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about.  To make matters even better, they kick ass live.  They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again.  Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.

All DinosaursParanoid Indigenous

*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release.  This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever.  They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun.  It helps they are also all super cool dudes.  If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.

Dave HauseResolutions

*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up.  Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release.  With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release.  Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.

Living With LionsHoly Shit

*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys.  All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.

Deer TickDivine Providence

*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.

DawesNothing Is Wrong

*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again.  What a solid release.  You guys are on your way to being huge.  Keep it up.

Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose

*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it.  Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.

Old Man MarkleyGuts n’ Teeth

*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year.  I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.

Banner PilotHeart Beats Pacific

*Impressive release by a great punk rock band.  They need to play Cleveland soon.

White WivesHappeners

*This was the surprise release of the year for me.  Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album.  On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.

A.A. BondyBelievers

*This guy really outdid himself.  You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much.  It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.

Bon IverBon Iver

*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.

The Black KeysEl Camino

*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love.  I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena.  It is safe to say they made it big time.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

Signals MidwestLatitudes & Longitudes

*And yet another local act.  These guys are a big deal though…to me at least.  The dropped a really good record.  For serious.

EPs of the year:

LutherSiblings & Sevens

*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness.  I was caught off guard by this band.  They rule.  Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  I can not wait for their full-length to drop.

Harvey PekarThirty Ghosts

*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.

Worship This! – Demo

*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Two Hand FoolsBelieveland

*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone.  Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.

Cherry Cola Champions – EP

*I remember the first time I saw these guys live.  I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away.  Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.

The Awesome:

-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring.  It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city.  Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands.  Regardless, it was just awesome.  Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s.  That right there made my trip.

-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days.  These guys are some of the best dudes I know.  They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September.  We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.

-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron.  After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea.  The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.

-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier.  More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.

-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland.  The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success.  Props to 92.3 for making that happen.

-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles.  This was one of my favorite festivals of all time.  It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it.  I am so glad I did.

-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House.  Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands.  Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.

-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour.  What a great evening of music that was.  The show was in a freaking barn.  Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.

The Suck:

-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout.  Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar.  Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers.  Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.

-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it.  I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage.  Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew.  I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  People can think what they want about Danzig and that night.  I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold.  It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew.  I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again.  Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned.  Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.

-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins.  I regret that decision a lot.  Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other.  The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley.  Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland.  Please forgive me.

-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled.  I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night.  Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show.  Needless to say, I was pissed.

-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats.  Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.

Wrapping it up…

2011 ended with a bang for this music lover.  Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me.  You all know who you are.  From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was.  Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.

Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.

Concert Review: Strike Anywhere / Dead To Me / Menzingers / Holy Mess / Signals Midwest – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH – 10/09/2011

Last night was more or less on the the best punk rock lineups I have seen all year and I am not just saying that. Originally there were supposed to be two Sunday night shows in Cleveland featuring all of the bands listed on the flier on the right, but some way, some how, the bands decided to jump together on one super bill making for an incredible evening of music.

It was almost as if someone who wanted to go to both shows at the same time made a wish and it came true.  As corny as that may sound, I am not the only one who thought that last night.

Originally there was to be a show at Now That’s Class featuring the Menzingers and Holy Mess as well as a show at the Grog Shop with Strike Anywhere and Dead To Me.  As a fan of all four bands, this was a super hard decision to make and I was planning on leaning toward the NTC show but as previously mentioned, for whatever reason (I am actually curious to find out), the bands all decided to share the same bill at the Grog Shop providing for one of the best punk rock shows money could buy.

Cleveland’s Signals Midwest started the night off.  Having seen them just a couple of days ago, their previous set was still stuck in my mind as I watched them.  The band once again played a pretty kick ass set to the slowly increasing crowd.  Lead signer Max Stern and crew even debuted a hew song about the house they had their first band practice, the Milk Crate House.  It was also announced that the band’s recently released album Latitudes & Longitudes was dropping on vinyl in a month.  The crowd got a kick out of that as did I.  Seems as if this Cleveland band has got their shit intact.

Up next was the Holy Mess.  The Philadelphia punk rockers were full of energy and put on a killer performance to tons of excited fans.  Playing a welcomed mix of punk rock and trash, the band was all over the stage and just looked to be having the time of their lives.  The venue was filling up a plenty as the band played on and by the end of the set, the fans were going crazy.  I really enjoyed seeing these guys live finally.  I can not wait till they come back.  They were just a ton of fun.

Scranton, Pa’s Menzingers were up next and it is safe to say that most people in the Grog Shop made sure they were there in time to see latest band to sign to Epitaph Records.  Rifling through songs from Chamberlain Waits as well as their previous releases, everyone in the house was signing along and enjoying the set to the fullest potential.  Tom May was barely tall enough to be seen at times from where I was standing, but that kid has mad jumps and at one time jumped up and grabbed a steel beam climbing over the fans screaming his heart out.  A couple of the songs seems to be slower than I was used to.  Perhaps that is because Holy Mess was playing songs that were four times faster, but still, that was my only concern.  I loved when the Menzingers peeked out on music for a moment telling (bragging) to the crowd how they got to see Leftover Crack play Chicago – I know I was not the only one jealous at that moment…  The Menzingers are one of today’s most exciting up and coming bands and I was stoked that they came back to Cleveland to play.  You should have seen everyone around the venue smiling and singing, it was awesome and reminded me why I love punk rock so much.

As far as I am concerned, San Francisco’s Dead To Me had the best set of the night.  Chicken was in a zone the moment he struck his bass and just start at the crowd looking like he was going to destroy everyone around him.  DTM took their time of the stage to play a whole array of songs from all of their albums in front of the healthy sized crowd.  Their style is live none other; during one song kids were slam dancing and tossing fists in the air and moments later a much more broken down ska-like track was pushed through the amps and everyone got into a groove.  It seemed like the band played 100 songs and I wanted 100 more.  Chicken took a moment to have a realization in front of the crowd and started ranting on how he has been listening to punk rock for 20 years and at 33-years-old, he never in his life thought he would be in a punk band playing shows let alone with the bands on Sunday night’s lineup.  His words hit me because there I was, in the crowd, looking at someone about the same age as I am still rocking out and doing his thing.  Age does not mean a damn thing and Chicken reminded me that it’s all about the love for the punk rock that keeps us going.  Towards the end of their set, DTM played a new song and all I have to say this this: Oct. 25th can not come soon enough, that song was bitching.  During the last song Chicken started recruiting some of the crowd to help him sing along and before long people surround Chicken all screaming their hearts out.  It was awesome to see that.

The headliners of the night, Strike Anywhere, had the entire crowd in the palm of their hands during their set.  Fans and bands were all singing along to the Richmond, Va. punk rock heroes.  Taking their stand at politics and social ideals, the band took a moment to ask the crowd what “occupies Cleveland”, in reference to the ongoing protest of cop orate spending.  The kids in the crowd flung out plenty of examples proving they all know what is going on in this messed up world.  SA’s set was full of old and newer tracks and everyone, and I mean jut about everyone, was singing along with some kicks taking their change at jumping up close and personal to sing with Thomas.  I won’t lie, I did not stay for the entire set and I am sure I missed a great end to SA’s set, but I had to be responsible and head home so I could function half-assed at work in the morning.  I’ve seen SA a few times before and they never disappoint.  The first half of the set I did stay for was just perfect for a close to a Sunday punk show.

As tired as I am right now writing this, I would not have missed last night’s show for the world.  Five great bands kept the punk rock flowing steadily throughout the whole nice.  Each band did their thing, thanked the fans and the bands, and looked all to be happier than hell to be on stage.  People of all ages stood throughout the venue soaking in the goodness that is music.  As a reviewer I could have been a little more in depth with this review, but the fact of the matter is that I wanted to be a fan more than everything last night and decided to throw down the notepad and just soak in the energy.

Tomorrow: Punk Rock Sunday Night @ The Grog Shop

You know what’s not cool?  Two great shows on the same night across town from each other.  It happens a lot actually.  In fact, this Sunday there were supposed to be two awesome shows, one at Now That’s Class and one at the Grog Shop.  Both shows featured bands I really wanted to see.  I did not know which to attend.

The Menzingers were to play one side of town with the Holy Mess on the westside while Strike Anywhere and Dead To Me were to play the eastside.  Choices, choices…

Then something amazing happened.  The shows combined.

Like a Captain Planet of punk rock, all the bands (well most of them) combined their powers and jumped on the same bill making for one kick ass night of punk rock music.  Rumor has it that the guys in Signals Midwest, who are opening the night, had something to do with this…well done guys.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show.  Don’t be lame on a Sunday night and get your ass out to the Grog.  Doors are at 7pm.

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.


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.