Punksgiving 2015 in Review

by Erik Oldman
Photography courtesy Contreras Concert Photography


This year’s Punksgiving food drive and fundraiser built on the success of previous year’s formula featuring two nights of local original punk. We returned to our two stalwart Chicago punk venues: Liars Club on Friday November 27, and The Mutiny on Saturday November 28.  Both nights featured a wide range hardcore, ska, and pop punk groups.

The first night at Liars Club featured a number of Punksgiving alums from previous years. Theres also something to be said as the energy in the room, as high as it was for the entire show, was a collective energy, these bands really helped get the word out this year and took the cause to heart, the shows really reflected their efforts.

The Kreutzer Sonata kicked things off to a packed room at Liars Club on Friday with an incendiary hardcore set. The bands’ line up has changed drastically since they played the inaugural CancerSmash event in Spring of 2014. Since recruiting Skyler, their new drummer, the band has taken on a fuller and much more aggressive hardcore stance. Karl Kreutzer is now handling guitar duties, freeing up original guitarist Adam to focus on being front person lead vocalist.  Adam’s energy as a front person is boundless, often times reminding me of a young Iggy Pop.
The band has always been a favorite of mine, but this line up, the bands sound is fully formed and has so much more energy.



Next up, Detroit transplants, Bottle Kids, took the stage for a very spirited and solid punk performance. The twin gravelbed vocals and buzz saw guitars of Korey Brisendine and Chris DeQuick backed by bassist Mickey and Braden’s four on the floor drumming round out the bands sound that is both serendipitous blend of music both raw and catchy. Korey’s shark suit was also a fantastic highlight of the evening.



Punksgiving reigning champs (3rd year alums) TurboVamps! returned for another high-octane set . Stephen DeFalco was in top form tearing about the stage. It makes it so worthwhile watching someone with so much charisma and energy perform. He is definitely a front man that has the rare gift of  holding the room in his hand.

I also have to give Stephen a lot of credit for this years benefit. He made it happen. I wasn’t sure we were going to do it. Things happen,  other priorities come up and when you do something as a labor of love sometimes other priorities can change what you want to do. His enthusiasm for the benefit alone made this year’s Punksgiving worthwhile.


Reuniting  on stage for the first time in 11 years were the members of Vote Quimby! Vote Quimby features members of first year Punksgiving alums No Enemy!  The band’s hilarious banter along and solid pop-punk stylings made the night a smashing success, and we thank them for coming together for Punksgiving, one last time.


Night two started off with a couple of tasty vanilla porters and the requisite kick-off round of Jameson shots at the Mutiny with Ian Tomele, the punk half of the Rock in Chicago enterprise, and main man at Wreckingball Production.


The Desolates were first up on the bill with a solid set of powerpop and punk with Ramones-ish overtones.



Bumsy and the Moochers delivered a ska-tistic set. The guitars and the rhythm section were really tight given the reminded line up change with new leads guitarist Dan Engleman. Cate Jello’s vocals seemed a blend of a very (very!) young Gwen Stefani meets Patti Smith.



Next up was Bombflower, one of the real highlights for this year’s series.
The band offered up a nice brew of punk, rocksteady-ish ska, and rap, topped with a very eloquent and socially conscious vocals delivered by Liza and guitarist Tic James. I often wondered where the socially conscious music went after the mid-90s. I often wondered if anything would ever transpire from the legacy of Riot Grrl ideology with future generations of musicians. This band brings back some of that sensibility with a great dynamic soundscape. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on, they have a lot to say and do it in a very awesome way.



Wrapping up the night was a solid pop punk set from Johnny Automatic. This is their second time playing one of our fundraising events, and its always a pleasure to rock out to them.


So what good did all this do?

Our fundraising goal for this year was $500 in donations from both venues. Which provides approximately 1,191 meals for those who need help feeding themselves and their families.

Our net total Impact from funds raised at both venues was $350. Which provides about 1,050 meals….not a ton of money, but not too shabby.

Our collection goal was 500lbs. We collected and delivered ~400lbs for the Greater Chicago Food Depository to distribute to area food pantries and shelters. Roughly 1500 meals can be prepared with what was collected.

Thank you to Ian Tomele, Leah, Stephen DeFalco, Gary and crew from Liars Club, Ed and crew from The Mutiny, Christian Contreras for the badass photos, Doc Metal, T-Rex, Dozer, Steve (Mo), and Rob(Bro) at MHX Radio, Clarissa at KLRC, Ron at Chaos Punk Radio, the bands, and most importantly you, for coming out for giving for reading this, listening to our podcasts and supporting local music!

Check out more photos from Punksgiving 2015

Performance Highlights from Punksgiving