Sometimes you see a band performing live and you realize that around 90% of the bands you see in a live setting are just mailing it in. Plague Vendor. Holy crapola. This was one hell of a whirlwind of a performance. I think it’s safe to say that if by the end of a show you have to ask yourself, “What the hell just happened?”, it’s probably a pretty damn good show.
Now, I have to give props out to the punk rock wife for me even being at this show. We saw Plague Vendor the first time a few years ago when they opened up for Refused here in Austin. We didn’t know who they were, but they seemed like an entertaining little punk band with some infectious energy. I had honestly kind of forgotten about them since that point, but the wife kept track of them and asked if I wanted to go see them when they set this date. “Sure. Why the hell not?” I thought. And, goddamn. I think I may have missed something that first time around. This band exudes confidence. The foundation of the band, guitarist Jay Rogers, bassist Michael Perez and drummer Luke Perine, all lay down a serious slab of impressive punk riffs and rumble. Over top of all that solid musicianship is this weird force of nature of a front man named Brandon Blaine. Take a combination of Dennis from Refused merged with the stylings of Mick Jagger and a dose of Iggy Pop’s menacing snarl and pair it with a bit of a Jack White sounding wail and it starts to explain what Blaine brings to the table. This dude just transformed into a dervish of manic energy from the moment he hit the stage. It’s just impressive to see a band come out and just buy-in 100% into the performance. These dudes just left it all out there on the stage and it was just fucking magical. So many bands just going through the motions in their live shows could really take some tips from Plague Vendor.
Now, I’m not saying these guys are going to be huge, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Plague Vendor ends up being the next big punk band going. I just don’t understand how anyone could not see them pull off a show like they did last night (for probably around 50-60 people in the audience, no less) and not walk away a fan. Thank you, Plague Vendor. Your performance is the kind of thing that still keeps me going to live shows at my ripe old age.
I also have to give a shout out to local band Drakulas for opening the show. Mike Wiebe is another one of these frontmen that just gives everything in his live performances. He and his Drakulas co-horts have created this interesting punk project that seems a bit like a group of weird cult figures who have a strange obsession with porn and Beta Max tapes. It’s weird and creepy and unique and fun.