Dinoczar and White Reaper opened Saturday for Together Pangea’s Boston stop of their North American tour for “The Phage.” The show at the intimate Middle East Upstairs brought three differing punk bands together for an overall enjoyable performance.
Boston-based, Southern California-bred Dinoczar opened the show, and did not defy local opener expectations. True to their Bandcamp biography description, “sludge boys in a garbage world,” their set was an attempt to seem expressive and wild that seemed forcedly chaotic and aimless. They were arguably the worst act of the night, with each member of the three piece having ample room for improvement. Lead singer and guitarist Paul Dunne-Dombrink seemed self-conscious and afraid of the microphone, a quality that never comes across on Dinoczar’s recorded albums. Drummer Aaron Swartz came across as rigid and unpracticed, and bassist Jake Cardinal gave a joyful performance, but ultimately was also quite awkward. The crowd was unenthused, with only some polite clapping and much less dancing than the other two bands received. The poor performance may be attributed to youth of the band, described by Boston Hassle reviewer Micheal Achille as “a sound that spans decades and generations,” but only because they haven’t decided who they are yet.
Up next was the also young, but much more powerful band White Reaper. The Louisville, Kentucky-founded four piece composed of Tony Esposito, Ryan Hater and twin brothers Nick and Sam Wilkerson were a surprise to me as I had never seen them live before. While setting up and performing, they received multiple cries of adoration from the audience, which is pretty rare at most rock or punk shows. Their act was an all-around good time, the best part being keyboardist Hater’s air-guitar playing, and great catch of Esposito’s guitar during their last song. White Reaper’s success as a live act is arguably due to their extensive touring over the past year. After signing to Polyvinyl records in early 2014, they toured nationally with Deerhoof, Young Widows, Priests and more. Unlike Dinoczar, a local band slated for Saturday’s singular show, White Reaper is opening for Together Pangea for their North American Tour.
It was my third time seeing headliners Together Pangea and, even though it was the worst of the three times, they continue to be one of the best live acts out there. The reason why it seemed like a less strong performance was explained by member Danny Bengston, who announced that they were tired from their New York show the night before. Or possibly the fact that the other two times I saw them they performed at The Observatory in Orange County, California, and maybe they felt more at home there. Regardless, it was a fun set with songs from Pangea’s hit third album “Badillac,” some from their new EP “The Phage”, and even a song from 2011’s “Living Dummy,” “Too Drunk to Cum.” Lead singer and guitarist William Keegan was his typically charismatic self, singing emotively, with this pseudo-awkward charming smile that never leaves his face. But it was Danny Bengston’s outfit that was the most memorable, with a metallic green Varsity jacket, cowboy hat and boots and gold grills.