I’m Having a Really Nice Time and Jim Wilbur is The King of Punk: A Superchunk Concert Review.

I went and saw Superchunk last week for what I think was the seventh or eighth time. I try and make an effort to go to a lot of Superchunk shows because they’re the greatest American rock band of all time. I’ll kind of tell you why through a series of meandering personal anecdotes and fun facts, but let’s first start by turning the clock back thirty years. 

The year is 1994. All of my shirts are XL for some reason. There’s a stick of Nag Champa burning next to a skateboard. A newly acquired CD boombox is blasting In On The Kill Taker. A pair of shredded Etnies lay on the floor. They stink. I’m a little stoned. (This is the abridged version of me setting the scene for something that’s happening in 1994, it was a lot longer in the original draft). My older sister has just brought home a copy of Foolish by Superchunk. 

I’ve been a fan ever since then, and their live shows over the years have more than lived up to the band’s vast and storied catalog. They don’t put out bad records. They’re always there for you. Sure, they had the hiatus after Here’s To Shutting Up for a few years, but they more than made up for it in 2010 with an album to rival any of their older material, Majesty Shredding, followed by three more great full lengths and a 50 song B-sides comp. They also just released another new single a few weeks ago, and it’s an absolute banger. 

When Laura Ballance quit touring with them about ten years ago, indie rock Swiss army knife Jason Narducy seamlessly filled in on the bass. No momentum lost. Their last record, 2022’s Wild Lonliness did feel a bit like a swan song, however. I enjoyed it, and would pit “If You’re Not Dark” against any of their classic songs, but it had a feeling of finality to it. This concern was further intensified when I saw them on that tour in April of 2022. For the first time in my entire adult life, Superchunk didn’t look like they were having much fun. The remainder of that tour was cancelled because they got Covid, so maybe they were just drained. Even Superchunk are entitled to an off night, no judgment. I’m often not great at least 3 times a week for no reason. 

I was excited to see they were coming through Portland again this February, wanting to dispel the possibility that they were perhaps on the wane. Jon Wurster has recently left the band, having been the drummer since 1991, and so too was touring bassist Jason Narducy absent. Laura (a different one) King and Betsy Wright from Bat Fangs have replaced them in the lineup, further adding to the mystery of what I’d be in for.  Fucked Up being on the bill was a bonus.

Four of my friends committed to coming with me. That’s an extraordinary number for a middle-aged group of men on a Tuesday. One of them bailed, so I gave away the ticket to someone on Reddit. Given the likelihood this person wanting a last minute single ticket to a Tuesday night Superchunk show is someone I’d probably have a lot in common with, coupled with how bad men my age are at making and maintaining friendships, I’m going to go ahead and count effinwhatever with an alien avatar from Reddit as one of the four friends I went with. 

Fucked Up were the solitary opener, hitting the stage promptly at 8pm by belting out “Baiting The Public”. I have a hard time gauging the popularity of this band. I feel like there was a time they were courted by the Coachella and Pitchfork types, and received a lot hype for Damian’s stage antics. In my mind, they were maybe bigger than Superchunk, but not many people appeared to be here for them. Folks were still filtering in during the set, which sounded great. “Queen of Hearts” is about as good as songs get. The highlight was them closing with a ripping version of “Dose Your Dreams”. They did one of those extended outros where members stop playing and leave the stage one at a time, but staggering it until it’s just drums and feedback. Worth the price of admission already. I tried really hard to get some decent pictures of both bands, but it cannot be overstated how much I suck at taking pictures at shows. I wouldn’t feel so bad about it, but I’m looking around at other people’s phones in the air, and their footage looks incredible.

None of my pictures turned out, so here’s a picture of another guy. (perhaps effinwhatever from RedditI don’t know) who was good at taking show pictures. 

Here is a picture of me taking shitty pictures.

Here is a shitty picture I took.

This is honestly the best one, and I took it from the hallway outside the entry. 

Between sets we head back to the bar and get another drink. We’re all being responsible because of the normal reasons people are, but also because we’ve become increasingly terrified of hangovers as we get older. I’m drinking wine. This is the first time I’ve ever done this at a show. It’s what I do at home for fun when I’m hanging out with my wife, so it should be a transferable skill. It was. 

Superchunk come out on stage and Jim Wilbur says something funny. I’m excited, but aware of the delicate balance of the waterline in my small $8 cup of pinot noir. Show wine is not like show beers. One must be careful. There’s not as much of it, and it’s red. As I take sip, they open with “Swallow That”, not only one of my favorite underrated songs off On The Mouth, but also an affirmation of my drink choice. This is followed by two more from the same album, “Package Thief” and “New Low”. If you’re familiar with their catalog, you recognize this is an almost unfathomably excellent run to start the show. They continue with “Crossed Wires”, the precursor single to the aforementioned 2010 comeback record, followed by a 1991’s “Seed Toss”. 

I forgot to mention, the band sounds fucking great. Betsy and Laura K have great chemistry with Jim and Mac, and they’re a proper unit. Any worries I had of them slipping have been completely forgotten. They then break into a couple songs from 1995’s Here’s Where The Strings Come In, starting with “Detroit Has A Skyline”. Mac starts jumping around, and everyone in the building has a huge smile on their face, including the four people in Superchunk. “Silvery Leaf and Snowy Tears” follows, an unexpected treat and real hidden gem of their catalog. 

I think every time I’ve seen them they play “Water Wings”, and this time was no different. It sounded fantastic and was the first selection of the evening from Foolish, the album my sister brought home 30 years prior. “Low F” and it’s ripping solo is next, and then they really shine with their new one “Everybody Dies”. That a band who has been around for so long can still write a song like that is unreal. My number one jam from Foolish, “Driveway to Driveway” happens next. This song holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first song by the band to really hook me. Jon Wurster’s portrayal of the aloof millionaire at the wedding in the music video is worth looking up on YouTube. The regular set closes out with songs from all eras of their catalog, “Break The Glass”, “Cast Iron”, “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”, and the anthemic “Slack Motherfucker”. 

Hold on though, the people want more! “If You’re Not Dark”, the brooding closing track off 2022’s Wild Loneliness kicks off the encore. Damiam from Fucked Up comes out and does a duet on “Our Work Is Done”, and it’s cool because, being the ultimate punk nerd he is, he’s really enjoying himself out there. The classic hit, “Precision Auto” is next, and although Damian has exited the stage, you can still see him rocking out by himself behind the curtains and amps like he’s in the crowd. That weirdo is one of us. The show ends the way On The Mouth does, with “The Only Piece You Get”. Such an awesome closer, and bringing it full circle. It fit so well to have the show open with the slow final song on side A of On The Mouth, and then have it end with the final slow song from side B. We’re left standing there exchanging thoughtful analysis to each other like, “that was sick!” and “dude!”, grinning like complete idiots.

The excitement isn’t over though. We head over to the merch table and Mac himself is manning it. I pick up a CD copy of the new B-sides collection, and my friend talks himself into buying an On The Mouth t shirt that’s only available in small. We chit chat with Mac for a minute, and as we leave he thanks us for coming and wishes my friend luck with fitting into his tiny shirt. 

I had a hard time falling asleep that night because I was still buzzing from the show. I laid there thinking about where I was in my life when different Superchunk records came out, and how really more than any other band they are the soundtrack to me being an adult. They’re incredibly special, and remarkably consistent. I have no doubt that the hundreds of songs they’ve written, along with hopefully the hundreds they have yet to get to, will always be a part of my life. 

The next morning I woke up to look at the notes I had tried to write during the show. Aside from a cryptic and nearly illegible setlist, I had only two things written down. 

1.) I’m having a really nice time.
2.) Jim Wilbur is the king of punk.

–Zack Akenson

Mean Jeans – Blasted




Get ready to shred, Mean Jeans fans! The Portland punks have unleashed their killer new album, “Blasted,” today. Crank it up on YouTube or your favorite streaming service – it’s a guaranteed party. Missed the epic “Lost My Mind” video? Don’t worry; Mean Jeans brings the Judge Judy-inspired courtroom justice straight to your screen

For our Aussie fans, gear up to catch Mean Jeans live alongside The Chats on their tour, which kicks off today! Additional tour dates worldwide will be announced soon, so stay tuned. Here’s a snippet from what Billy Jeans shared: Getting back on tour post-pandemic and doing 9 weeks with The Chats in the US and Australia reignited our appetite for shredding. We got home, wrote a new album, and recorded it by ourselves in Portland over 5 days. Blasted’s got more fast + wild loser anthems, a couple tearjerkers, more Houndy singing, and I finally figured out how to do a guitar solo. We’re kicking the year off with another Australian tour, this time a punk cavalcade of 6 bands.

From the moment they started 15 years ago, Mean Jeans have been creating their own slime punk fantasy world. Study their six previous album covers and you’ll find junkyards full of bongs and yo-yos, macaroni galaxies, Jägermeister spaceships, alien saxophonists and pink slugs in bondage dripping ooze. On their newest full-length album Blasted, the goofball trio have clearly been through wild years and seen some shit—on the cover, the three members peer out of toxic waste bins, no longer cartoons of themselves but instead incredulous country-fried maniacs who are still following a slime punk dream, and dealing with where it’s led them. 
Which isn’t to say the Jeans are jaded. In fact, the band—Billy Jeans, Houndy and Junior Jeans—seem to be having as much fun as ever on this record, ripping through these 15 rapid fire ear worms without coming up for air. They seem equally focused on tight catchy songwriting and packing in Easter eggs and absurd lyrical references, including (but certainly not limited to) Tim Armstrong’s X-Filescameo, Mike Schank’s PCP overdose story in American Movie, multiple songs with lyrics about their space-obsessed kindred pop-punker Tom DeLonge, a chorus borrowed from Seal, and a not-very-legal piano collage of well-known pop-punk melodies. 
Anyway, this record is a frantic and frenetic joyride, though probably one made in Rick from Rick And Morty’s Space Cruiser and through time and space, rather than any form of road-based vehicle here on Earth. But that energy was probably enhanced by the fact the band recorded Blasted all by themselves here on this planet. Well, at The Trash Treasury in Portland, OR, at any rate—the city where the band first got together and which is one of the least Earth-like cities on, well, Earth. At their own behest, the trio were left entirely to their own devices, putting themselves through their own physical paces by trying to be in two places—the control room and the recording room—at once. One of Rick’s portal guns might have helped make it easier, but who needs a producer or engineer? It’s just another cook waiting to spoil that delicious, fluorescent green, slime punk broth. 

“Studio time is just more fun when no one’s in charge,” says Billy Jeans. “To some extent, I know what I’m doing, and to some extent the other dudes know what they’re doing, but none of us are pro at all. Like, Junior would have to run over to the control room, hit the record button and then run back, all while holding the bass, and then we’d play. It’s idiotic, but when it’s just the three of us fucking around, the vibe is there.”
You can hear that all throughout Blasted. It’s a weird, wonderful and wacky album, but also not without its occasional serious moments. Mean Jeans are—still, after all these years—a band that love to party, and that’s what they continue to do on these songs. Every once in a while, though, you might catch a little regret about doing so, if not a full-on hangover. Opener “I Don’t Give A Shit Anymore” might sound like a statement of nihilistic intent, but it’s more what Billy calls an “underthinkers anthem”, a direct response to him overthinking everything all the time, while “Look What Punk’s Done To You”, “Took Too Much” and “I Don’t Know What I Did Last Summer” all address the comedown of life lived in the fast lane. But then there’s also “Something’s Going On”, which is the best (and possibly only) song that’s ever been written about  the cult 1986 comedy horror b-movie Class Of Nuke ’Em High.

At the same time, the album also serves as a kind of meditation on pop-punk, about what it means to be a punk band as opposed to a band playing music in the style of punk. Can you be both? Does it even matter? Maybe. Maybe not. What matters is that, with Blasted, Mean Jeans have made a record that defines what they are and what they’re not at the same time. Most importantly, it was fun for them to make, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to. For Billy, that’s always the aim.
“We’re a band in it for the good times,” he says. I’ve always thought if we’re not having fun, then it isn’t Mean Jeans. Which isn’t a recipe for success in the music biz, but I could bitch about that all day if you want. What’s the difference between being a bitch and being punk?” He doesn’t answer his own question, but it might be found somewhere in these songs

Mean Jeans Tour Dates – Tickets Available Here.

  • 9 Feb 2024 in Maroochydore, QLD, Australia @ The Solbar
  • 10 Feb 2024 in Brisbane, QLD, Australia @ The Tivoli
  • 11 Feb 2024 in Gold Coast, Australia @ Vinnie’s Dive
  • 13 Feb 2024 in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia @ The Northern
  • 14 Feb 2024 in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia @ The Hoey Moey
  • 15 Feb 2024 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia @ King Street Band Room
  • 16 Feb 2024 in Gosford, NSW, Australia @ Drifters Wharf
  • 17 Feb 2024 in Sydney, AU @ Metro Theatre
  • 18 Feb 2024 in Sydney, AU @ Crowbar (FREE SHOW)
  • 20 Feb 2024 in Castlemaine, VIC, Australia @ Theatre Royal
  • 21 Feb 2024 in Melbourne, AU @ Haba Rye
  • 22 Feb 2024 in Frankston, VIC, Australia @ Pelly Bar – Pier Hotel
  • 23 Feb 2024 in Melbourne, AU @ Northcote Theatre
  • 24 Feb 2024 in Melbourne, AU @ The Tote
  • 19 Apr 2024 in Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive

BLASTED  track-listing 1. I Don’t Give a Shit Anymore
2. Let’s Go
3. Diagnosis
4. Lost My Mind
5. Blasted to the Moon
6. Something’s Going On
7. Reggie
8. Taco Bell Parking Lot
9. Look What Punk’s Done to You
10. Slugs
11. Break up With You
12. Took Too Much
13. I Don’t Know What I Did Last Summer
14. Living Large on a Credit Card
15. Pop Punk Casualty

The Melders – S/T

The debut self-titled EP from Portland’s The Melders throws down five tracks (17 minutes) of guitar-driven, punk informed, heavy rock and roll. The tunes are uptempo with a lot of snarl and attitude. The rhythm section is solid, and the guitar work is rife with hooks and changes.

According to the band bio, The Melders is a punk rock-n-roll band from Portland, OR. The band formed in June of 2021 with Luke Valley on vocals and guitar, Guil Halstead on guitar, Marcus Irland on bass and Matt Danger on drums.

When COVID hit, it led to the demise of Luke and Guil’s 16 year project My New Vice but they weren’t ready to hang it up. They contacted long time friends and fellow musicians Marc and Matt. They knew it’d be a great fit; you know who you’re working with, what you’re going to get and that everyone can get along.

I struggle to offer comparisons sometimes, and sometimes comparisons aren’t really fair. They can, however, provide a loose relatability for an unfamiliar artist. With that in mind, The Melders make me think if Stone Temple Pilots would have been a punk band, or perhaps a more melodic Welch Boys. Do with that what you will.

Aptness of comparisons notwithstanding, I dig it and am looking forward to hearing more from The Melders. The debut EP is available now on all your favorite streaming services, and probably some streaming services you’ve never even heard of. Go on, give The Melders a whirl. You’ll dig it.

Jerry Actually

1. Oil The Snake
2. Codswalloped
3. Stitched Apart
4. The Empty
5. Moons Die Here

Luke Valley – vocals, guitar
Guil Halstead – guitar
Marcus Irland- bass
Matt Danger – drums

The Fauxriginals – It’s Not a Lie…

the Fauxriginals album cover for It's Not a Lie...


A couple days late, as per my usual, I’m just now checking out the new EP “It’s Not a Lie”, from Portland, Oregon based The Fauxriginals. You know what? I like ska. I like punk. Let’s go!

The EP pops out seven fresh tracks of punky ska. It’s diggable. Very reminiscent of LTJ, but it also reminds me of an unsung band, Orangetree. (If you’re not familiar w/ Orangetree, they were a band fronted by Jason Nelson of MU330)

Damn, as I listen to this, especially “Being Alive in the 21st Century”, I’m really feeling the Orangetree vibe. Not in a copped sort of way mind you, just compellingly similar.

Sonically I would pin this more in the rock vein than punk, per se. It’s peppy, and bouncy. Not overly aggressive with respect to the punk portion. I’d venture that it’s damn near friendly. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you need a little bit more friendly in the world.

Don’t let the friendly fool you though, just based on the song titles, I’d say the band is at least almost entirely jaded.

Bottom line, it’s a fun release. I wouldn’t hesitate to go see them live either. So, yeah, listen at your leisure and support local bands!

-Jerry Actually


  1. My, Myself, and Idioms
  2. Bfff’s
  3. Painted on My Spine
  4. Level of Malevolence
  5. Being Alive in the 21st Century 
  6. Some of a Kind
  7. Rsvp

Portland, Oregon-based three piece The Fauxriginals dropped their debut EP “It’s Not a Lie…” on 9/29/19. This EP will be the first of a two-part set, with the second drop “…If You Believe It” coming shortly thereafter. Both will be streamable everywhere you get music.

After releasing a steady stream of demos and playing a year’s worth of punk and ska shows in the Pacific Northwest, the band created a two-part release filled with the definitive versions of these songs.

Featuring songs written by Tyler Rothe (Lead Vox/Guitar), the band’s focus is to combine elements of pop-punk, skate punk, ska, and punk rock while focusing on hooks and technical chops.

The Fauxriginals are playing regular shows in the PNW and have music videos available on YouTube. Music streaming everywhere you stream music.

For fans of: Less Than Jake, Blink-182, Descendents, Offspring, Green Day, and Queen.

Solid Gold Balls – Dream Is Real

© 2014
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

solid-gold-ballsSo, of course, I’m going to mention that this band is named Solid Gold Balls. Right off the bat it garners attention. After you get past the initial thoughts of “is this going to be schlock?”, “um, ok, humor band?”, or “seriously?” and you start to listen to the tracks, you are rewarded with something perhaps better than expected.

The songs are straight forward rock and roll with musical influences ranging from Sonic Youth, Presidents of the United States of America, and maybe Beck. Lyrically the tracks are fun and generally speaking very kid/family friendly. (at least on the surface). Rhyming pony with Rice-a-Roni, for example gives you an inkling of an idea about how the other songs might go. On an amusing note, Google Play Music has every last of the 14 tracks on Dream Is Real listed as explicit. … I feel this is akin to the PMRC advisory labels of yore.

Heck, I think if this release were cleaned up a little bit, especially in regards to track 11: Favorite Things, it would be a potential candidate for Mike Park’s family/kids label Fun Fun Records.

Content, or interpretation thereof notwithstanding, Dream Is Real brings you 14 solid tracks of catchy fun poppy punk rock delivered with a solid band and song craft behind them. The only major drawback for me is that perhaps the songs are too saccharine. If you listen to hard things can come off as trite. So I suggest sitting back, relaxing a bit, and not taking things so damn seriously.

–Jerry Actually

Getting to Know Solid Gold Balls


Who are you and who does what in the band?
I’m Matt Souther. I play bass and really bring the backup singing to the next level.

How would you best describe the sound?
Not really basement rock, but more garage rock, with lyrics about how the fucking kids have made a mess out of the garage.

Dream rock moment (real or not)?
My dream has always been to see the country in a van. I’ve seen the west half of it in previous bands, but still wish to see the east, and now I’m pretty keene on seeing Europe from a van too.
And I too fantasize about playing SNL. Hopefully on a night when Natalie Portman hosts.

Still got day jobs?
Sort of, I own my own business, and co-own another business with Dan the drummer, laser engraving shit.

Any regrets?
Not doing this band sooner, back in the 90’s when they were handing out record deals to anyone with a shitty guitar and a loud amp who was also head to toe in flannel.
Continue reading Getting to Know Solid Gold Balls

Becca’s U.S. Debut CD






“the stage presence of Joan Jett and Suzy Quattro all rolled into one 20 year old young woman with a bit of a chip on her shoulder and a edge that we’ve not

seen since those two artists hit rock in the late 70s”

– Young Poor And Angry Press, September 2009

Hailing from Portland, OR and now based out of Los Angeles Becca has already made a mark on the international music charts and she is gearing up to do the same in the U.S. as she gears up for the release for her U.S. debut CD ALIVE!! co-written and produced by singer-songwriter Meredith Brooks who had hits herself with such songs as “Bitch” and “What Would Happen.”  Becca’s ALIVE!! to drop on January 5 at all digital outlets and Amazon Disc On Demand via SIN – SonyMusic Independent Network.

Equally adept at belting out full-throttle, female empowering rockers as she is crooning big arena-sized power ballads Becca carves a melodic blast on songs like “I’m ALIVE!,” her vow to live life to the fullest in the wake of the premature death of a friend, and “Turn Up the Stereo,” a cautionary tale to her peers about the dead-end offered by non-stop partying as well as songs examining personal relationships, such as “Turn to Stone,” “Lose You Now” and “Perfect Me,” the expressions of an artist who is wise beyond her years.  Sugary enough to give you a tooth ache until she throws you a sucker punch to the gut!

Look for US tour dates to be announced soon.

ALIVE!! Track listing:

  1. I’m ALIVE!
  4. Turn Up The Stereo
  5. Guilty Pleasure
  6. Kickin’ & Screamin’
  7. Lose You Now
  8. EMPTY
  9. Without You
  10. Make You Mad
  11. Perfect Me
  12. Falling Down

Check out www.BeccaOfficial.com or


Follow her at twitter.com/BeccaUSA

Ska Is Dead

Portland 2009

It’s the Fourth Coming of the Ska Is Dead Tour (http://www.skaisdead.com/), and there are signs that the resurrection is keeping. Marking a return of the all-ska tour after a three-year hiatus, SID4 is bringing ass-shaking good times to an all-ages venue near you RIGHT NOW (see site for tour dates). Saturday’s 6 hour set from 5 great bands proved SID founder Dave Kirchgessner’s posit: Ska is anything but dead.

Continue reading Ska Is Dead

My Life In Black & White

Cloudy Skies
(c) 2008 Horns Up Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Where the heck were these guys when I lived in Portland? Not around I guess. I wish I would have would have been in town though. They sound like a hella good band. Folksy and punky with songs of sailing the seas and the drinking of beer. They swagger like Swingin’ Utters and The Pogues and rock out with less melodrama than most of the rain-addled cock-n-roll of many Portland bands. Cloudy Skies contains 12.5 tracks of the aforementioned variety of rock and it does not dissapoint. If you like the drinking and the singalongs and music that may make you want to steal a boat, then this one is for you. There’s more to it of course, but the jist of it is good time rock and roll. Enjoy!

–Jerry Actually