The Menzingers return home for Black Friday concert at Scranton Cultural Center on Nov. 26
From a press release:
For local music fans, the holidays are coming a bit earlier this year.
Typically, the group hosts an annual Holiday Show in December just before Christmas in the Grand Ballroom of the SCC with Tigers Jaw and other Scranton natives, but they decided to take a break in 2019 and plan something special for 2020 – then the pandemic put the entire music industry on hold. The Menzingers’ last show in Northeastern Pennsylvania was an acoustic set at the Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 6, 2019.
Supporting acts for this all-ages Black Friday concert at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) are to be announced. Tickets, which are $36.50, plus fees, go on sale this Friday, Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. at ticketmaster.com.
Since forming as teenagers in Scranton in 2006, The Menzingers have shown their strength as rough-and-tumble storytellers, turning out songs equally rooted in frenetic energy and lifelike detail. The band has recorded six studio albums, with their most recent collection of original material, “Hello Exile,” released on Oct. 4, 2019 by Epitaph Records. Produced by Will Yip (Tigers Jaw, Mannequin Pussy, Quicksand), “Hello Exile” sees The Menzingers take their lyrical narrative to a whole new level and share their reflections on moments from the past and present: high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol, and political ennui. With the group achieving that soul-baring intimacy all throughout the album, “Hello Exile” emerges as their most emotionally daring work yet, with Fader calling the album “The Menzingers’ greatest statement on adulthood to date.”
In 2020, they followed that up with “From Exile,” a reimagined stripped down version of “Hello Exile.” It was recorded from the band’s respective homes while in isolation during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
The Menzingers – singer/guitarists Greg Barnett and Tom May, bassist Eric Keen, and drummer Joe Godino – were on tour in Australia when the world seemed to abruptly stop due to the coronavirus, forcing them to cut their tour short and make their way back to Philadelphia.
“The live music industry vanished before our eyes, and just like that, we were out of work like tens of millions of others,” Barnett noted.
“As the weeks progressed, the upcoming tours got rescheduled, then rescheduled again, then effectively canceled. There were times when it all felt fatal. There’s no guidebook on how to navigate being a working musician during a global pandemic, so we were left to make it up as we went along. We wanted to document and create in the moment, and though we couldn’t be in the same room together due to social distancing lockdowns, we got creative.”
Over the next few months, they would rerecord “Hello Exile” from their separate locations.
“We would track the songs from our own home studios, share the files via Dropbox, and pray it all made sense when pieced back together. Initially, we planned for the album to be similar to our acoustic demo collection ‘On the Possible Past,’ but we quickly found out that this batch of songs benefited from more detailed arrangements,” Barnett explained.
“We rewrote and changed keys and melodies. We blended analog and digital instruments in ways we never had before. We dug through old lyric notebooks and added additional verses. We got our dear friend Kayleigh Goldsworthy to play violin on two songs. No idea was off limits. Hell, I even convinced the band to let me play harmonica on a song (no small feat!). The recording process ran from mid-March till June, and upon completion, we sent it over to our dear friend and close collaborator Will Yip to mix and master.”
Keeping up with the times, they launched “The Regulars Club” in January of 2021, a Patreon campaign that includes access to private chats with the band, rare songs, acoustic videos, audio and video podcasts, live streams, behind-the-scenes access, exclusive merchandise, and more.
“For many people, this was a year of self-reflection and prioritization. We are no exception. We’re taking a deep dive. This is a way for us to stay connected to you guys, to each other, to our music, and to the journey that got us here. There are countless stories we’ve yet to tell. We’ll be telling them here. We’re writing, filming, recording, drawing, and shaping the whole damn thing ourselves,” the band wrote on Patreon.
See NEPA Scene’s photos and video of The Menzingers’ acoustic in-store appearance here, photos of them playing the 2019 Vans Warped Tour in New Jersey here, and check out our review and photos of the band’s 2018 Bethlehem concert here.