“Did anybody here go to Temple?” Greg Barnett asked a packed house at The Fillmore last night, and befittingly, a large portion of the Philly crowd screamed. Barnett smirked, and continued “I’m sorry about that.”
In lesser hands, it could have been a diss, some jockish taunting to stoke whatever higher educational rivalries were seemingly in need of being stoked. But that’s not what the co-frontman of The Menzingers was doing here, as he introduced “Midwestern States” — a song he said was about his last semester at college — and the crowd knew it. They laughed loud at his quip, they cheered en masse.
They knew that these four dudes, despite being the center of attention for 2,500 spectators over the course of 90 minutes last night, was no different from them. Adrift in their late 20s and early 30s, feeling overlooked and tossed aside from self-absorbed older generations who won’t step out of the way, unsure of what they wasted their youth on, unsure of what their place was in this world that’s messier and less compassionate by the day.
This is one of the core themes of After the Party, The Menzingers’ excellent fifth LP — their most mature work, and their work most explicitly about maturing — and that restless discontent is the backbone of “Midwestern States.” Continue reading →