In New Jersey–and especially in New Brunswick–the terms “punk” and “community” are not tossed around lightly. The bands often tour together, in some cases live together, and in all cases look out for each other. On August 21, The Bouncing Souls and Lifetime shared a stage; on August 22, they joined together (through the The Bouncing Souls’s Chunksaah Records) to raise money for Happy Day Records founder Richie Cunningham, who was diagnosed with cancer. The now-defunct Endeavor–who put their first album out on Cunningham’s label–reunited for the benefit to provide direct support to Lifetime.
New Brunswick’s tiny Court Tavern offered the venue, with a twenty-dollar entry donation going directly to the cause. Though I missed most of Endeavor (and openers Torchbearer), what I caught sounded great and the band had the entire basement singing along to the closing track, “Dry” (from Crazier Than a Shithouse Rat)
After much setup and some sound issues, Lifetime began their sixteen-song setlist with Hello Bastards lead-off cut “Danerurym” with a perfect segue into the rowdy “Rodeo Clown”. By “Just a Quiet Evening”, from the band’s self-titled reunion album, the crowd was singing every word with frontman Ari Katz, pushing onto the stage to share the microphone.
By the time the band got to “Nortbound Breakdown”, the crowd had turned into a pit, and crowdsurfers were nearly kicking out the ceiling tiles. “Turnpike Gates” was appropriately ferocious, and “(The Gym Is) Neutral Territory” sounded as hateful and sincere in 2009 as it did in 1995. The band rounded out their set with a few more Jersey’s Best Dancers songs (bringing the night’s total to six, the most from any album), closing with “25 Cent Giraffes”. The full set:
Just a Quiet Evening
Young, Loud, and Scotty
Irony is For Suckers
Song for Mel
Airport Monday Morning
(The Gym Is) Neutral Territory
Bringin’ It Backwards
Knives, Bats, New Tats
The Boy’s No Good
Haircuts and T-Shirts
25 Cent Giraffes
For anyone who experienced the band during their initial run in the mid-1990s, the show was a great throwback to one of the genre’s most important bands. For latecomers, it was readily-obvious what all the hype was about. The band performed at 100% for the entire set, feeding off of the crowd’s enthusiasm for forty-five minutes. With families and other musical projects, Lifetime does not spend much time on tour. If the band comes to your town, however, do not miss the chance to see a great punk band still on top of their game.
inTuneMusic is very interested in any submissions/corrections from this evening including photographs, setlists, and audio/video. Please contact us, you will receive complete credit for any submission.