Words & Photos by Scott Murry
Leftöver Crack is a crust punk band, so strong scents tend to loom in the air of their shows—patchouli, beeswax, and weed primarily. Three songs deep at Brighton Music Hall in Boston, lead singer Scott “Stza” Sturgeon declared, “I smell Doritos … that’s an unhealthy foot. If it’s cool ranch you’ve really got a problem.” The fungal banter made no one crave chips. Sturgeon’s seemingly random statement was a actually a lead-in. “This song is about combating foot rot. Less walking, more crack-smoking and watching television!” The band cranked into “500 Channels” by their previous band Choking Victim.
Later Sturgeon was taunted by an audience member for his t-shirt that resembled a meme. Sturgeon went into a rant shaming the guy for even using the word “meme.” He pointed his finger at the crowd vehemently talking about things getting popular for no reason. He changed shirts to dissuade the situation, and calmed himself with a joke, “I went viral once … in my urethra.”
Some bands choose to stay silent between songs or tear from one into the next. It all depends on the mood they’re after. Sturgeon seemed to be exhausting himself with the jokes, sitting down and looking to guitarist Brad Logan like a lost soul. Sturgeon broke the prolonged silence, “I’ve banned myself from talking. I think everyone likes it better.” It was a pouty statement to which Logan volleyed by sticking out his tongue with a smirk. The small gesture was incredibly endearing, a bit of sibling-like support that kept the train going. With the right editing of facial expression close ups and panning movements, it could have been a clip from a John Hughes film.
Touring on their Fat Wreck Chords released B-side album Leftöver Leftöver Crack: The E-Sides and F-Sides, this set didn’t feel like a batch of forgotten tracks. Joey Steel from All Torn Up! lent vocals in a number of scrappy songs, as did Logan on the opener for the evening, “Homeo-Apathy.” Bringing on their openers Crazy & The Brains for some of the final songs, it was an ongoing family dynamic on the stage Monday night. Sturgeon progressively felt good about the room, “Boston … you’re okay. Except for your racism, sexism, homophobia … you’re okay.”
Detroit, Michigan’s Negative Approach set the stage with abrasive energy. The hardcore pioneers spread their traumatic sound to a hungry crowd. John Brannon stared into the audience with a demanding scowl that didn’t match his sincere gratitude that ended the set.
Opening the night was Crazy and the Brains. They leaned much more into the Operation Ivy, Assorted Jellybeans style of ska and absurdist fun. It was a relief that their music was so enjoyable, usually a band with great style is trying to make up for bland tunes.
Crazy & The Brains