(Above: Mom Jeans., Photo: Kaytlin Dargen) Before Jack Parsons of Mover Shaker introduced Mom Jeans., the crowd at Pawtucket’s sold out Met was asked to respect each other, be safe, and have fun–simple expectations that were upheld the entire night. This was Mom Jeans.’ highly anticipated first time in Providence as fans quickly packed the floor to see their favorite band. I never see happier crowds and better vibes than at punk rock shows — this one was no exception. To say the fans, the musicians, and the music critics were ecstatic, would be a gross undersell.
Members of opening bands Mover Shaker and Prince Daddy & the Hyena hung out on stage while Mom Jeans. played, supporting their friends’ music and having a blast. Their musical and personal contributions to the night cannot be overlooked. Each band took time to promote the first opening act, Hit Like A Girl, a project by Nicolle Maroulis, who runs a transgender non-profit called No More Dysphoria. Mover Shaker is noise-rock pop-punk personified. Comprised of trans/queer/non-binary members, their individual talents created a brave, inclusive space for fans to be seen and heard in a music scene that historically waxes hyper-masculine and heteronormative. At the end of their brief but impactful set which included my personal favorite track, “Service Provider”, Parsons shouted, “Long live the gays!” to which we naturally affirmed.
Prince Daddy & The Hyena out of Albany, NY, followed with a set of pop-punk songs from fan favorite I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving and a new highly anticipated album dropping sometime soon. The new material was as emotionally raw as we’d come to expect. Soft lyrics to loud music. Singer and guitarist Kory Gregory kept apologizing for playing unreleased tracks but none was needed. Crowd energy was on expert level and the momentum never let up. Prince Daddy’s set was punctuated by fans jumping on stage and taking the mic. Punk enthusiasm at its finest.
In between a super-charged, energy driven set of 14 songs, Mom Jeans. vocalist and guitarist, Eric Butler, frequently interacted with the fans, sharing positive messages of following passions, starting bands, and being true to yourself. For every band and for every song played, there were about 10 stage divers, four crowd surfers, and a physical-yet-harmless moshpit. Mom Jeans.’ musicianship is tight. Everyone plays the hell out of their instrument and I’ve never seen more excitement over the appearance of a trombone than I did when Butler played one for “scott pilgrim vs. my GPA”.
The songs are fantastic: sad lyrics are written well, begging the crowd to shout them in unison. “What do you want me to say when I can’t tell you the truth. Please tell me how the **** I’m supposed to deal with losing you.”
Totally relatable, the emotional authenticity of Mom Jeans. narrates a time when life isn’t as shiny and golden as youth and beauty would have it. While I waited in line to get in, I met a 9th-grade teacher who works under no contract at her current school. She mentioned the constant stress of her day-to-day. During Mom Jeans.’ “Edward 40Hands”, (note: no one names a better song than Mom Jeans.) I watched her trust fall into a crowd of fans, singing loudly to every word. Overcome by anxiety, feeling nervous all the time, hating yourself, losing yourself, these feelings deserve not only validation but a healthy outlet to let go and be okay. In a time when not everyone is excellent to each other or themselves, Mom Jeans. and their gorgeous company of talented friends showed us exactly what punk rock music can do for our head and our heart rate. Long live the scene.