Aftermath: Fake Problems and Born Anchor at Walter's on Washington

Photos by Craig Hlavaty

On a Monday night, all you can really look forward to is a decent evening of lackluster television and maybe some leftover barbecue from the weekend's flame-kissed debauchery. But last night at Walter's was the exact anecdote for a "case of da Mondays" in so many ways.

In recent years, it sounds as if punk kids have started to crawl deeper into their family record collections. Early Springsteen, Thin Lizzy, all manner of grimy/twangy beard-rock, and even U2 circa The Joshua Tree all seem to be par for this new course. Look at bands like Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, and even Green Day's trajectory over the past decade or so to see that the Boss is as relevant as he ever was. The big, soaring-heart riff is back at a time when we all need it desperately.

The generation that took Born To Run to heart was pumping out babies by the time Born In The USA and Tunnel Of Love were making the rounds on the charts. Hell, the kids in headliners Fake Problems were more than likely getting potty-trained the day that 1992's Human Touch hit the shelves.

It's reassuring to hear new bands reach farther back to a more earnest age, one more befitting the country's current weary climate.

Openers Born Anchor (above) tread a rocky and deliberate line between solo Mike Ness and Rancid's more tender moments. Lead singer and guitarist Tim Blackout belts his shit out in a grovely twang that somehow encompasses all that uniquely male apprehension that you can only really fully understand in your early 20s. Times when you realize you can't change much in your world, but you might as well die trying. The harmonica-kissed "22" is just that, all war veteran lament and lost youth malaise.

The Naples, Florida-based Fake Problems met Bruce Springsteen while the band was touring with Against Me! and the Riverboat Gamblers a few years back. We don't know what it is about merely meeting the Boss, but it seems every band that shakes the damn dude's hand gets imparted some sort of innate cosmic musical knowledge through osmosis. Everyone who has an audience with the man can turn shit to gold by the next day, loading up their albums with hella amounts of Jersey bluster, even if, like FP, they are based out of the southern tip of Florida.

Lead singer Chris Farren could be Tom Gabel's mini doppelganger, all throaty growl and death grip guitar lines. And just like the Against Me! singer, he is also enamored with the grandeur of the common man, every bit of minutiae. "Dream Team," from this year's sprawling It's Great To Be Alive, gallops with a tom beat that makes your heart melt, because everyone knows what it's like to love someone like the devil and have to leave them. The "Born To Run" breakdown at the end doesn't hurt. Ditto for "There Are Times," with its handclapping Kings of Leon-style revival stomping.

Urgency and ferocity are FP's orders of the day. Maybe it's all their ages, or maybe it's just that we forget what it was like to be so young and fierce. Lead guitarist Casey Lee's guitar work on "Heart BPM" made Aftermath scream "Holy Shit!" at one point during the show, with his slide guitar and seemingly effortless lines.

Mondays ain't so bad after all, kids.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty