Show Review: Atlantic City Beer Fest
What a whirlwind! I wish I could explain how good it felt to be surrounded by friends, fellow fans, bands I love, etc but it's hard to put that part in to words. I'll do my best.
When I heard the lineup for the AC Beer Fest: Suicide Machines, Less Than Jake and face to face, it was a no-brainer that I had to get there. I had just mentioned on a podcast episode when Jessica asked "Which band haven't you seen that you want to see?" that Suicide Machines is at the top of that list. I had seen them before, but it had been at least 15 years. And, as you may all know by now, Less Than Jake and face to face are two of my all time favs.
I live in Boston and didn't have all that much time or money to spend on the trip. I left Friday night and drove 5 hours and stayed at some SUPER shady roadside inn. I was a bit sketched out, but all I needed was a place to crash for one quick night. I drove the remaining time, one hour, on to Atlantic City. I had never been before, and woah! The casinos are huge. More on that later.
I went right in to the beer fest, and met up with so many friends. There's a group of people called the Jumblers who are mega Less Than Jake fans. Many of them were there. It was cool to see familiar faces and meet new people as well. Most people were standing in line to fill their tiny beer mugs, so it was quiet around the stage area, but as The Suicide Machines were getting ready to play the crowd filled in.
"This is for the asshole who asked me to play 'Destruction By Definition" in entirety today." shouted Jay Navarro, frontman and singer for The Suicide Machines, from the stage. Everyone loves that album, it's true, but I have to plug their newest album, Revolution Spring, which dropped in 2020, and is also really, really good. The band played plenty of the older hits off "Destruction", but some newer bangers too, including "Awkward Always". Jay has so much energy and is a blast to watch. He also comes into the crowd often to allow fans to sing along into the mic. What covid?? No, for real, it felt like it didn't even exist. No one wore masks, everyone was singing and yelling and dancing. It felt... free.
When The Suicide Machines were done, we had a little break to fill up our small mugs with free beer, but there wasn't much downtime before Less Than Jake took the stage. LTJ has a new album out too called Silver Linings. The band played a few songs from that, including Lie to Me and The High Cost of Low Living. The band also played all the old hits off of Hello Rockview, Losing Streak, Anthem and more. As always, the band brought it. Chris knows how to charm the crowd and frequently brought unique fans up on stage. New drummer, Matt Yonker, played hard and the band seemed genuinely happy to see so many familiar faces there.
After Less Than Jake played the entire festival cleared out for a second session happening later that night. It was super weird. People either had tickets to the first session or second session, and actually there was another session Friday night, so the ones I attended were Sessions 2 and 3. Somehow, security pushed out thousands of drunk people at 4:00 so they could reset for the 6pm admission of Session 3. I spent that downtime checking in to my hotel, which, let me tell you, was a fiasco. I won't go in to the boring details, but lets just say the Tropicana at Atlantic City is way bigger and more confusing than any casino I've been to in Vegas. Maybe I was just sweaty and tired, but the whole process was a nightmare. Regardless, I made my way back to the next session of the Beer Fest for face to face who were due to go on at 7:30.
Face to face never disappoints, ever. Trever seemed in good spirits and the whole band seemed thrilled to be "back". They played a fairly typical setlist, but during the show, Trever made an announcement that the band has recorded it's 10th full length album. He said it will come out in September and the title is No Way Out But Through. He also said with certainty that it will be the band's last album. He said, "All the songs have been written." While this news is surely disappointing to those of us mega fans, we can't wait to hear what this 10th and final album entails. Face to face played their hearts out and the crowd loved it.
After a long day of drinking in the sun I somehow made my way back to the Tropicana. I crashed hard and had to drive back to Boston early the next morning. It was a whirlwind trip, but the best way to kick back live shows happening again.