Amid the road-torn tour buses sits a sea of people with shag haircuts, dirty baseball caps and belly shirts. Although it may have looked like a clearly crafted shot from a MTV video, the after-school crowd lining the sidewalk outside D.C.‘s 9:30 Club on Oct. 28 was entirely teenagers and twenty-somethings waiting for a somewhat forgettable punk-rock show.
Although the bulk of the crowd was there to see the shows headliners, TRL-staple Relient K and punk veterans MXPX, the biggest fan response came from the openers Over It and Rufio.
Despite the fact that most of their set went unnoticed by the crowd who were unfamiliar with the band’s songs, Over It gave a loud, yet boisterous performance. The northern Virginia band seemed excited to play in front of a hometown crowd. This propelled the onstage antics of frontman Peter Munters and guitarist Nick Bailey, who during the band’s introduction blurted out, “This is f***in awesome!” But nothing compared to drummer James Ulrich’s arm-wailing, head-pounding routine, which created the driving force for the band’s songs.
California-based Rufio added a little more excitement to the afternoon show, inciting mini mosh pits and constant chanting of the band’s name. Though most of their performance was plagued by sound and equipment malfunctions, frontman Scott Sellers seemed out of sync and unable to vocally overcome the intensity of the band’s sound. Rufio redeemed themselves during the latter part of their offbeat
performance when Over It vocalist Munter
appeared onstage to sing the band’s hit, “White
MXPX, who have been together longer than some of the kids in the audience have been alive, showed the punk genre is not just for the young and the reckless but for the aging and experienced, as well. Flaunting their powerful vocals and unmatched stage presence, MXPX wowed the audience with sing-a-long renditions of their biggest hits and covers of The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.”
The band was more punk in sound and appearance, complete with vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera’s skunk hairdo and tattoos plastered on all three band members. Their onstage antics left the crowd wanting more, which the band obliged with three encores, including their appropriately titled hit “Punk Rawk Show.”
Main headliners Relient K were a bit of a disappointment for the older crowd, who found it difficult to connect to the overly moody and melodic resonance of the Ohio natives. Despite their happy-go-lucky intro - the theme song of ‘90s sitcom “Family Matters” - the band merely dished out ear pleasing tunes to the drove of young teenage girls who crowded the front of the stage. Although the self-proclaimed Christian band entranced the pre-pubescent punksters that assembled in the club’s main area, much of the crowd dispersed after the energetic and intense performance of MXPX.
Although most of the performance will fade away as a mere memory in the minds of the concertgoers who shelled out $20 to see these punk personas at work, it is safe to say that it was a show worth watching for the band’s big fans.