Confession time: I’m 100% the biggest sucker for live music. I’ve seen a lot of shows in my 20 years of living, but nothing comes close to what happened on October 28th. This year I was fortunate enough to finally attend my first, and definitely not last, Uncool Halloween.
In July I saw SWMRS tear up their hometown as a supporting act for All Time Low, but an opening slot is just a sneak peak of what a band is capable of. I was already a massive fan of their music going into that show, and somehow even more so after, that I knew I couldn’t pass up seeing them the next time they were near. That next time just happened to be Uncool Halloween.
Some of you reading this may be asking yourself, “What is Uncool Halloween and why should I care?” Well, it’s basically the best Halloween party on the West Coast started by SWMRS themselves and complete with decorations, costumes and rock music. This year the sold out show featured a lineup of Californian bands Mt. Eddy, The She’s, The Buttertones, The Regrettes, and their current tour co-headliners The Interrupters.
My friend and I arrived to the show a little more than an hour early in order to be front and center for the night. The promising Mt. Eddy opened the show with a bang by performing tunes from their debut album, “Chroma” (one of my favorite albums of the year), featuring songs such as “Lovely” and the highly streamed “Metaphor”. For being such a young band, Mt. Eddy had command of the stage and of the crowd. They really sounded amazing live, which is sometimes hard for newer bands. From the first strum, the crowd was instantly transformed into one huge pit, which continued for each and every act.
Next to take the stage was The She’s who stepped in once Culture Abuse had to pull out to focus on their new record. The She’s got the crowd to sway along to their beautiful harmonies and kept everyone energized. You could tell that there were people in the crowd who had never listened to this band before, but had become fans by the time their set was over.
After The She’s came The Buttertones, who had many fans in the audience who excitedly, and breathlessly, echoed their lyrics throughout the entirety of their set. Next to me were these three guys who were telling me about how The Buttertones are one of their favorite bands and they couldn’t believe that they were seeing them live. You could feel ethusiasm radiating from not only the band, but their loyal fans as well.
The Regrettes, current supporting act for the SWMRS + The Interrupters tour, were next in tearing up the stage. Playing hits such as “Seashore” and “Hey Now”, lead singer Lydia Night interacted with the crowd and kept it high energy, even with her wig falling off. This is a band that is definitely a lot of fun to watch perform. From their smart lyrics to their punk rock instrumentals, you can tell that The Regrettes are special and I can’t wait to see them grow from here.
Next to SWMRS, I’d have to say that The Interrupters had the craziest crowd that night. Suddenly, to my amazement, I was surrounded by many older fans who had made their way to the front of the pit for this set. Moms, dads, and even a few grandparents were now singing at the top of their lungs to what I can only presume to be one of their favorite bands. It was beyond cool seeing so many people from different walks of life come together to lose their minds for one night screaming along to “Take Back The Power” and “A Friend Like Me”. The Interrupters are that ska punk band that you’ve most likely heard music from before, but you didn’t know you needed to see live. Which you do, please see them live when you get the chance.
And finally, after several hours and a severe lack of hydration, it was time for SWMRS. Out came the band as they went straight into blasting “Palm Trees” through the speakers. It was as if suddenly no one was exhausted anymore. I have to say that I usually pride myself in doing well in the pit, however, this crowd was definitely unlike any other I have ever been in (especially after drummer Joey Armstrong showered us in water, turning the floor into an actual slip and side). Each song had the pit going wild, even during the slower ones such as “Lose It” and “Hannah”. From “Palm Trees” to “Drive North” (complete with a cover of “Scooby Doo” somewhere in between), SWMRS gave their all in the form of music and inspiring speeches. Cole even prompted a “wall of unity” during one of my favorite songs, “D’You Have A Car?”.
Hands down, the #1 highlight of my night came when Max and Cole Becker surprised the audience by paying homage to Emily’s Army (their band before SWMRS) in the form of covering “Lost at 17”. Max led the audience into a stripped down version of the track prefacing the performance by stating that “We made a promise, that if we sold out one of the shows on this tour that we’d do something, and here it is”. I heard several people echo “Holy Shit!” around me in enthusiasm as the emotional crowd realized what was happening and began singing along.
(Quick honorable mention of the night: crowdsurfing Billie Joe Armstrong over the barricade, because who wouldn’t be stoked about having done that.)
SWMRS played the entirety of Drive North, keeping the crowd hung onto every lyric and moving to every beat. If you couldn’t already tell, this band has a special place in my heart. SWMRS is one of those groups that you can tell gives a shit about what they’re doing. They make music they love, use their platform to speak up for what is right, and care about their fans. Sandwiched between their rock songs lies interjected messages of taking care of one another and being able to think for yourself. It isn’t often that you find a band where you can tell that the members are authentically themselves. If there was ever a group I would recommend to see live, it would be SWMRS. No matter where you were in the room that night, you were able to tell just how special this event was. Never have I ever appreciated the atmosphere at a show so much. Uncool Halloween was a prime example of music bringing people together.
I think SWMRS themselves summed it up best when they said “first uncool – 500 people. second uncool – 850 people. tonight’s uncool – 1500 people. the movement. we are so grateful. thank you.” (via @swmrs on twitter)
I’d like to thank not only their amazing community (SWM Team), but the band themselves for creating such an open and unforgettable environment. So, thank you SWMRS, I hope to see you again soon.