Less Than Jake – Mad Caddies – Flatfoot 56 – Mrs Skannotto – at House of Blues – Anaheim, CA

October 9, 2012

Less Than Jake - Mad Caddies - Flatfoot 56 - Mrs Skannotto - at House of Blues - Anaheim, CAOn Tuesday, October 9th, the 20th Anniversary Tour for Less Than Jake made a stop at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney. I knew the show was going to be good (the line-up rocked!), but I wasn't expecting it to be great! The night kicked off at 7:30 with a short set from Mrs. Skannotto, who hail from Rochester,NY.

Tonight was my first time hearing them and I was blown away. Solid musicianship, awesome vocals, and fabulous horns are the normal for this band and it made for an amazing show. Before launching into "Wage War", lead vocalist Joe Harmon dedicated the song to "anyone in the audience who ever had to deal with an asshole boss". When not playing, the trumpet player was skankin' around stage and just having fun. Actually, the whole band seemed to be having a blast, and that energy transferred itself to the audience. A handful of people tried to get a circle pit going, but the audience mainly wanted to watch the band and dance in place. By the time they played "The Other Man" (my favourite song of the evening), the crowd was fairly large and really getting into the music. As they closed out their regrettably short set with "Just As Well", pretty much everyone in the audience was smiling and bouncing along with the band.

If you like Bim Skala Bim, Streetlight Manifesto, or Mustard Plug, you'll love Mrs. Skannotto! I really hope they make it back to Southern California again, and soon, because I'd love to see a longer show from them.

Set-list: Long Dark Road, Wage War, Free Speech Zone, New Belief, The Other Man, Hired Gun, Just As Well

Next up were a favourite of mine, Flatfoot 56. The guys from Chicago always put on a great show, and tonight was no different. As the bagpipes were being tuned behind the curtain, the crowd started chanting "Let's go Murphys!" (Smart asses.) Opening with "Brother Brother" off of their new album, Toil, it would be 45 minutes of in your face, throat kicking songs. Tobin, lead vocalist, had a smile on his face for most of the set and was encouraging the audience to get a circle pit going. The pit started in earnest when they played Screeching Weasel's "Cool Kids". I walked out to the patio to cool off and started chatting with someone who had never heard, nor heard of, Flatfoot 56--though he liked them, he said, "It sounds like they are ripping off Agent Orange". I don't agree, but to each their own, right? Back inside at the downstairs bar, there was a woman straddling the counter. She was well on her way to being shit-faced, along with much of the crowd. Though it's a new song, the crowd was singing along with the band during the chorus of "I Believe It". Fists and feet were flying when the band played "Knuckles Up", which I think was the best song out of their set that night. They closed their night with a punked up version of the gospel song "I'll Fly Away"--the crowd sang along with the entire song (I even saw some of the staff mouthing the lyrics).

Set-list: Brother Brother, Loaded Gun, Warriors, Cool Kids, The Rich the Strong and the Poor, I Believe It, Knuckles Up, Hourglass, 6' 10, I'll Fly Away


During the break, the crowd rushed to the front to secure their spot for the next band, Mad Caddies. It seems like a good chunk of the audience had come to see them, more so than the headliners. About halfway through their second song, my head was covered in beer (probably Pabst, because that shit is awful and I would throw it too). The earlier bar-straddler was now just sitting on the bar and when "State of Mind" started to play, she was screaming the lyrics along with half of the audience. Though "Coyote" was probably one of the slowest songs of the evening, that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd--they started chanting before the band sang the first word. I guess the band figured that was enough of a break, because the next two songs were high-energy, and the audience was nothing but a mass of writhing bodies (and one guy was doing can-can kicks!) Right before breaking into "Weird Beard" (best song of the set, in my opinion) Chuck mentions that one of the band members dad was in the audience, watching his son play for the first time ever. Turns out, I was standing next to the dad and he was absolutely beaming (awwww). Each act of the evening put on great shows, but the Caddies' set blew me away.

Partial set-list: State of Mind, Coyote, Tired Bones, Monkeys, Mary Melody, Silence, Weird Beard, Drinking for 11, Distress


If you've ever been to the House of Blues, you know that before the show, and in between acts, they have music playing through the house speakers. When Green Day's "Basket Case" came on, a good 3/4ths of the audience started singing along. I've had the chance to see Less Than Jake just a couple of weeks prior while in Chicago, so typically seeing the same band in a short span of time would be overkill. But not for these guys. Even after being around for 20 years, the band has the same energy as when they were new on the scene. Just watching Buddy and Roger run around on stage is enough to wear me out, and I'm just an observer.

They opened with "Gainesville Rock City" and for the next hour and a half it was non-stop energy, crowd-surfing, and banter. Right before playing "The New Auld Lang Syne", Chris asked the audience to help them "sing this. It'll be better than Def Leppard in 1990". After a raucous "Happyman", when the crowd-surfing reached its peak, Chris gave props to security for "not beating the shit out of the crowd, unlike the East Coast". One of the fans caught the eye of the band, so Chris and Roger had him come onstage. (I've seen this kid at many different shows, and you can't miss his very large afro.)

As they brought him up, Chris quipped, "Dude! I love your band. Aren't you the lead singer from Coheed and Cambria?" They then picked another fan out of the crowd to come up, dubbing him Andrew W.K., and they asked the young guys to have a headbanging contest. They acquiesced and during "9th At Pine" they were all over the stage, wrestling with each other and banging their heads. Though I have seen Less Than Jake multiple times over the past couple of years, I have to say that this was their best show to date. We all left the venue, ears ringing and bodies sweating, grinning from ear to ear.

Set-list: Gainesville Rock City, Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts, Look What Happened, Sugar in Your Gas Tank,The New Auld Lang Syne, Automatic, Happyman, 9th At Pine, Golden Age of My Negative Way, The Science of Selling Yourself Short, Help Save The Youth of America From Exploding, A Still Life Franchise, All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, Scott Farcas Takes It on the Chin, Goodbye, Mr. Personality, The Ghosts Of Me And You

Encore: Nervous In The Alley, History Of A Boring Town, Plastic Cup Politics 



                             More photos of the show can be seen HERE

-Anni Thyme-
Big Wheel Staff Journalist




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