Editor’s Note: It had been four years since The Lawrence Arms last played Boston, and word is it had been since Christmas since they practiced. None of that prevented the Chicago punk band from throwing down Wednesday night (April 4) at The Sinclair in Cambridge. Photographer Scott Murry weighs in: “The Lawrence Arms took the stage of their sold out tour opener with a cover of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ playing over the speakers. It was fitting as the eponymous title of their newly released (nearly) 20-year retrospective album came out last week. Their set harnessed bass/co-vocalist Brendan Kelly’s gruff, dirtball nihilism with guitarist/co-vocalist Chris McCaughan’s reflective, tender love songs. And of course, there were chants for “Hen-ness-y.” Not booze on this occasion. Kelly noted that fans worldwide shout the three syllables in honor of drummer Neil Hennessy at shows. Boston got bonus points for stripping it down to one syllable, and just shouting his first name (apparently the first city to do so).”
Fellow Red Scare Industries labelmates Red City Radio followed. “With the new Skytigers EP freshly released, a sweaty, rambling party burst out,” Murry continues. “Songwriter Garrett Dale admitted a love of Boston’s weed as he howled into the mic with infectious passion. The melodic harmonies and guitar jams were aplenty. The Oklahoma foursome felt like a modern adaptation of Springsteen gone punk.”
Opening the show was Chicago’s Sincere Engineer, a newish project from Deanna Belos. “This is her first tour and she admitted the situation feeling incredibly surreal as she opened the evening for her heroes,” states Murry. “Visibly nervous and stumbling over her words to greet the crowd, everything fell into place as she strummed her acoustic solo to play tracks from her debut EP, Rhombithian. Her genuine, raw nerves endeared the crowd and tensions settled with fans singing along.”
Scan through Murry’s images from the entire show below, in reverse order of appearance.