The stacked quadruple billed tour of Knuckle Puck, Hot Mulligan, Meet Me @ the Altar, and Anxious rolled through NYC on Friday night (3/11) for a sold-out show at Irving Plaza. Knuckle Puck may have been the headliners, but it was clear that a sizable portion of the crowd showed up for all four bands, and the place was packed even before Anxious' 7:30 PM start time.

Anxious cut their teeth playing small rooms in the hardcore scene before signing to Run For Cover and releasing their excellent, power pop-infused debut album Little Green House earlier this year, and they made it clear at Irving Plaza how well their show translates at a larger venue. From the moment Grady Allen yelled "what the fuck is up New York!" and launched into Little Green House opener "Your One Way Street," it seemed like Anxious could already be headlining the place. Grady still moves around like he's playing a hardcore show, but with the charisma needed to command a crowd of 1,000 people, and the rest of the band play like seasoned pros, with all the force, precision, and energy you need to put on a great punk rock show. The harmonies between Grady, guitarist Dante Melucci, and bassist Sam Allen sounded as soaring and carefully constructed as they do on the new record, and the tightness of the live show really reinforced how strong of a debut Little Green House is. Grady also mentioned on stage that the Irving Plaza show was a special one for him, as it was the place his dad took him to see his first punk/hardcore show -- the Misfits in 2013 -- and that his dad was in the crowd last night too. He was met with tons of cheers, and not only was it an awesome moment for Anxious, it was also a reminder that the punk lineage just keeps growing. Over 40 years into the genre's existence, Irving Plaza was packed to the gills for a punk show made up entirely of bands who formed in the past decade, and two who formed in the past few years. It was living proof that there's so much more to this than nostalgia.

The other band who formed in the past few years, Meet Me @ the Altar, were up next, and they took the energy level that Anxious set and kept that momentum going at full speed. As good as their Fueled by Ramen-released 2021 EP Model Citizen is, MM@TA might be even better live. You can feel the band's easycore breakdowns in your gut, their shreddy guitar leads are as razor-sharp as can be, and vocalist Edith Johnson jumps around the stage and belts her powerhouse vocals like a total star. Like Anxious, MM@TA did not play like an "opener"; they played like they were ready for Madison Square Garden. They did a good mix of songs from Model Citizen and their other recent singles, and they also did a medley of covers that had the crowd losing their minds (Jimmy Eat World's "Sweetness," New Found Glory's "My Friends Over You," Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff," and Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy"). Edith also took a moment on stage to point out that everyone in the band is a woman, and they play breakdowns because breakdowns are sick and shouldn't have anything to do with gender, and they dedicated their breakdown-iest song to all the other women in the room, which prompted an eruption of cheers. It felt like one of those punk rock reminders that "you can do this too," and in this case Edith was speaking directly to the people who may not always see themselves represented in this genre of music. We of course still have a long way to go, but punk really does feel more inclusive than ever, and with great bands like MM@TA on the rise, the future looks bright.

A lot of people were moshing and singing along to Anxious and MM@TA, but the singalong volumes increased exponentially when Hot Mulligan took the stage. They played a big chunk of You'll Be Fine, which came out in March of 2020, right before lockdown, so this was still one of the band's first tours supporting it (though maybe you saw their headlining show at LPR in December or caught them opening for New Found Glory and Less Than Jake in the fall), but the songs already seemed like classics. You could tell that a lot of the crowd had been living with these songs for a while, and the band delivered them with the effortless confidence of veterans. (They are, as they joked on stage, "the inventors of post-emo" after all.) They also played some stuff off their more recent I Won't Reach Out To You EP, and the new songs were some of the biggest highlights. Judging by those, it feels like Hot Mulligan are only getting better.

Headliners Knuckle Puck were down a member due to their drummer being injured, so their bassist took over on drums and lead vocalist Joe Taylor played bass, but if you didn't know any better, you never would've thought their lineup was compromised. They were just as tight as ever, and sounded great as they ran through a career-spanning set of songs from all three of their albums and various EPs, reaching as far back as their decade-old Don't Come Home EP and as recent as their just-released Disposable Life EP. The new EP includes a cover of blink-182's "Here's Your Letter," which the band mentioned on stage, and they didn't cover that song, but they did break out a cover of Enema of the State opener "Dumpweed," which had the crowd going as nuts as you'd expect (and which, according to Setlist.fm, they'd never covered live before). "If we're gonna cover a song, it's gonna be a blink-182 song," they joked. To put in perspective how established Knuckle Puck are compared to the rest of the bill, Edith Johnson talked about how Meet Me @ the Altar used to cover Knuckle Puck songs back when they were playing for like five people, but "established" doesn't mean Knuckle Puck have lost any of their original hunger. They seemed as determined as all three of the other bands, even with the crowd yelling every single word back in their faces.

The tour continues in Cleveland on Sunday (all dates and tickets here), and Anxious will be back in the NYC-area when their tour with Boston Manor, Trash Boat, and Higher Power hits Gramercy Theater on April 8 and again when their tour with Thrice and Bayside hits The Rooftop at Pier 17 on June 12 and Starland Ballroom on June 10. Read our interview with Anxious and pick up their new album on green & violet vinyl.

Video and setlists from last night below...

Knuckle Puck @ Irving Plaza - 3/11/22 Setlist (via)
Want Me Around
Tune You Out
Double Helix
Gasoline
Dumpweed (blink‐182 cover)
What Took You So Long?
Everyone Lies to Me
Swing
Wall to Wall (Depreciation)
Evergreen (with Hot Mulligan's Chris Freeman)
Give Up
Earthquake
Green Eyes (Polarized)
Pretense
But Why Would You Care?
Gone
Untitled

Encore:
No Good

Hot Mulligan @ Irving Plaza - 3/11/22 Setlist (via)
Deluxe Capacitor
All You Wanted by Michelle Branch
How Do You Know It's Not Armadillo Shells?
Losing Days
Featuring Mark Hoppus
OG Bule Sky
*Equip Sunglasses*
Feal Like Crab
Green Squirrel in Pretty Bad Shape
Dirty Office Bongos
Digging In
Bckyrd

Meet Me @ the Altar @ Irving Plaza - 3/11/22 Setlist (via)
May the Odds Be in Your Favor
Mapped Out
Hit Like A Girl
Now Or Never
Sweetness / My Friends Over You / Break Stuff / My Own Worst Enemy
Feel A Thing
Garden

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