The Menzingers Celebrate On the Impossible Past in Asbury Park

“I’ve been having a horrible time pulling myself together,” belted The Menzingers’ fans in unison at the House of Independents in Asbury Park. This was all the introduction needed for the Scranton, Pennsylvania-based rock band as they began their set on Thursday, Nov 3.

This kicked off day three of The Menzingers’ sold out four-day residency, celebrating 10 years since the release of their critically acclaimed third studio album, On The Impossible Past.

The record was released on Feb. 21, 2012 through Epitaph Records and, ultimately, launched the band’s career as it paved the way for touring with other well-known bands, such as The Bouncing Souls, Rise Against, Hot Water Music, and The Gaslight Anthem.

“The last 10 years have been a whirlwind of vans and airplanes, loud stages, late nights, love, dear friends, and once in a lifetime experiences. On the Impossible Past was the ticket. It was a rocket that took the four of us from our small smoke-filled basement in South Philly to stages in cities all over the world,” said the band’s singer and guitarist, Tom May, in a press release for BrooklynVegan.com.

Screaming Females was the first opening band to perform. The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based rock band consists of Marissa Paternoster on guitar and vocals, Jarrett Dougherty on drums, and Mike Abbate “King Mike” on bass. It’s no surprise that Paternoster was previously named the 77th greatest guitarist of all time by Spin magazine, as her fingers danced up and down the fretboard throughout the entire set during songs like, “I’ll Make You Sorry” and “Black Moon.”

Following the contagious energy of Screaming Females was Los Angeles, California post-hardcore band, Touché Amoré. Touché Amoré performed some of their top tracks, including “Limelight,” “Lament,” and “Flowers and You.” Vocalist Jeremy Bolm stopped in between songs to announce that it was their guitarist Clayton Stevens’ birthday and sang “Happy Birthday” along with the audience. As everyone serenaded Stevens, The Menzingers walked out on stage with a birthday cake.

Then, the stage dimmed once again as a crowd of 500 fans cheered while The Menzingers took their place on stage. Vocalist and guitarist Greg Barnett made his way to the left of the stage, while singer and guitarist Tom May stood at the center, bassist Eric Keen headed to the right, and drummer Joe Godino sat behind the drum kit.

Just three songs in, the impact of this album became evident as the fans sang back every word and a parent headbanged with his son nearby. The album’s emotions poured out as everyone sang “And I’m pretty sure this corner of the world is the loneliest corner of the whole world,” from their track “Sun Hotel” in addition to “You’ll carve your names into the Paupack Cliffs, just read them when you get old enough to know that happiness is just a moment” from their song, “Gates.”

The Menzingers wrote this album in their late twenties. Using storytelling tactics, it touches on themes such as feeling burnt out, relationships, alcoholism, and chasing a dream at a time where the band felt that they grew up too fast only to realize in hindsight that they had a lot more growing up to do.

As a 21-year-old listening to On the Impossible Past live, one can’t help but feel nostalgic from the band’s perspective, but also your own as the themes presented are universally relatable.

Once they finished playing On the Impossible Past in its entirety, the band played three more songs: “House on Fire,” “Tellin’ Lies,” and “In Remission.” The band’s energy only built up that of the audience as May, Keen, and Barnett danced around with their instruments. In true rock show fashion, the crowd surfing continued as one fan made it to the stage completely upside down and at one point Barnett and May rushed over to center stage, preventing someone’s fall.

After The Menzingers left the stage briefly, the crowd’s cheers got louder as they prepared themselves for the encore. Playing three more songs from their previous albums, the band closed their set with a fan-favorite, “After the Party,” which is the title track of their 2017 album.

On The Impossible Past is a collection of memories that you slowly lose recollection of until the music touches your soul again and it becomes that much more special with each passing year.

The Menzingers will hit other major cities as they continue the On The Impossible Past 10 Year Anniversary Tour. They are due to hit New York City on Nov. 8 & 9 at Le Poisson Rouge and Long Island on Nov. 10 at Stereo Garden.