LOS ANGELES—Jeff Rosenstock’s POST-USA tour made its way through Los Angeles Sunday, bringing a frenetic energy to the Teragram Ballroom.
For almost 15 years and across several projects, pop-punk and power-pop extraordinaire Jeff Rosenstock has distinguished himself with an unfettered confidence among the clamor of Brooklyn bands. With his latest tour, promoting his newly released album POST-, the hard-working punk veteran is proving more and more that he deserves the unprecedented attention that he’s been receiving lately.
Even though he finds himself approaching 40, time has yet to mellow Rosenstock’s testosterone-fueled music mania as he continues to possess the energy of a manic teenager—cut denim shorts and all. In fact, with every passing record and tour, Rosenstock continues to cement himself as a ferocious singer, a wise lyricist and a masterful guitarist, but he also has no shame in jumping around, diving into crowds and flipping the occasional bird in frustration over current governmental affairs and the music industry.
Rosenstock took the stage with the packed venue monastically chanting “The best, the best,” in illogical reference to the Foo Fighters’ song—which would continue periodically through the set. The former Bomb The Music Industry! frontman wasted no time bringing unadulterated energy to the small L.A. venue with raucous and anthemic track “USA” and the equally excitable “Powerlessness.”
His nearly 20-song set would go on to morph into a display of utmost calamity as he performed every other track off of POST- and a few crowd favorites from 2016’s WORRY. and 2015’s WE COOL?, including “Pash Rash,” “Festival Song,” “Nausea” and “Hey Allison!”
While “Pash Rash” clocks in under a brisk two minutes, it really kicked the crowd into full gear as sweaty bodies gyrated to the song’s frenetic rhythm. A staple of every Rosenstock concert, the glitchy “Festival Song” injected high-octane fun and unity into the audience with its sing-along atmosphere. If Rosenstock’s set didn’t have enough energy already, the piano-driven “Nausea,” his most popular cut, furthered the crowd’s sense of unity with an added urgency.
There’s an authenticity and sincerity to the way Rosenstock embraces his crowd—he loves performing but loves his fans even more. As he stage-dived into fans screaming, “All these magic moments I’ve forgotten” at the end of “We Begged 2 Explode,” it became clear that age is only a number to Rosenstock, while youthfulness can last forever.
The night kicked off with ROAR, the band fronted by Andrew Jackson Jihad/AJJ’s Owen Evans. The band’s set was a delightful surprise, possessing a psychedelic spirit and inventiveness comparable to Brian Wilson (take this comparison lightly), but with an edge that recalls Pavement. The art-pop outfit’s zany showing consisted of cuts from cross section of its discography, most notably from 2010 EP I Can’t Handle Change. Aside from the band’s display of unique sonics, the Phoenix natives had fun with the crowd between songs, as Evans provided laughter with deadpan humor and absurdist trivia questions to pass time.
Buffalo, New York’s Lemuria followed. Fronted by frontwoman Sheena Ozella, Lemuria has always been something of an aberration: too punk for indie, too indie for punk. It was difficult to envision how this band would fit between ROAR and Rosenstock. Nevertheless, the band exceeded expectations.
Lemuria’s set consisted of its most popular tracks, including “Pants” and “Silver of Change.” As Ozella’s airy vocals harmoniously coalesced with crunchy guitar lines, the band emanated an increasingly frenzied atmosphere, which proved to be the perfect springboard to the headliner. Ozella interacted well with her crowd, as blending in humorous small talk while allowing Rosenstock to steal the limelight for a brief bit with a sax solo during the band’s last song.
Follow writer Kyle Kohner at Twitter.com/kylejkohner.