Less Than Jake / Anti-Flag / The Jukebox Romantics / Backyard Superheroes – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ – 2/22/19

Just a year ago, Less Than Jake played the same room with Four Year Strong and Direct Hit, photos can be seen here, and just like last year Less Than Jake was unpredictable as always at this pack house.  Opening the show was local favorites Backyard Superheroes.  Going on lucky number 7 years, this local ska band has been able to open for many well known ska bands when they come through the area.  Regardless of the changes in lineups and fill ins, the band manages to find members that bring the energy to get the crowd hyped for the night.  Their cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge” always brings out the members of the other bands to sing along, and in this case, members of Jukebox Romantics made an appearance to sing along.  If you happen to see Backyard Superheroes on the bill to a show, be ready for an absolute blast and ready to judge every other band’s performance to theirs.




Following Backyard Superheroes was New York punk band the Jukebox Romantics.  Signed to Paper and Plastick Records, this band could easily be signed to a label like Fat Wreck or Red Scare.  Not taking themselves too serious on stage, but playing great straight forward punk songs, Jukebox Romantics fitted in with the other ska bands on the bill.  However, even though the stage antics were fun to watch, seeing Jukebox Romantics in a small club or basement with no barriers would make the show even more entertaining.




After Jukebox Romantics, politically fueled Anti-Flag took the stage and instantly all hell broke lose.  The crowd’s reaction was constant crowd-surfing and moshing while Chris No. 2 jumped from his amp and the rest of the band thrashed along on stage.  The highlight of their show is when the band goes into the crowd with their instruments and finishes the song with a communal singing.  Anti-Flag may have a political message, but seeing it live makes you want to listen and pay attention to the message given.



Less Than Jake’s first show of 2019 and the first for me not seeing Vinnie behind the drums.  After 26 years Vinnie decided to step down from touring and drumming, but would still do things behind the scenes for Less Than Jake.  The best of luck to him, but his replacement, Matt Yonker, who was their current tour manager and from Teen Idols fits in as a replacement perfectly.  I don’t think anyone would be able to tell a difference in drumming since they sounds just as good as ever.  Through their 22 song set, Less Than Jake played a well versed set and even Buddy got to perform “Mississippi Mud”.  As any other Less Than Jake show, there was tons of crowd participation along with fans coming on stage.  However, the group of fans that came on during “Whatever The Weather” seemed a little stage freight for they were around the age of 6.  Regardless, that is the best part of a Less Than Jake show, you never know what is going to happen.  Starting the year off with a bang, Less Than Jake has plenty of more things to come in the year.  Go to their website and catch a show, looks like they will be touring all over the world this year.



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