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05.06.2023: Don't Panic @ Funk'n'Waffles

wsg/ Colder Weather and Every So Often

'Twas a night of pop and punk at Funk'n'Waffles, and like the lyrics, it had ebb and flow, and people making the best of challenges. It was advertised that The Color Fred would be headlining, but for reasons unknown, they were not present. The night opened with Every So Often.

I'd seen Every So Often once before, but it's interesting how things can change show to show. While much was the same, from their opening voiceover stinger, singer Sean Starkweather's attire (Shoresy jersey giving way to I [heart] MILFS tee shirt), and some of the songs, such as the venerable "Salt City Porn Shop". That said, they seemed both more relaxed and more intense this time around. They didn't miss a beat when part of the drum kit tipped over. At one point, bassist Zack Maio even ventured down from the stage and into the crowd. Singer Sean Starkweather seemed to build energy as he peeled off layers, ending the show shirtless and embracing some heavier sound, even venturing into screaming territory. Unsurprisingly, as they were the first act of the night, the crowd was pretty sparse for most of their set, but those that were there were into it. Overall a solid set.

Starkweather getting more than his shirt off his chest.

Colder Weather was up next. Although new to me, their set drew the biggest crowd of the night. They played a tight set that had the crowd dancing. I wish I had more to say on it, but while the music was good, the drama of Don't Panic's night seems to have overridden any other memories of Colder Weather's set.

Colder Weather getting the crowd heated up to their peak for the night.

Don't Panic did a good job of living up to their name. Their night could have tripped up a smaller band, and could have been a scene from a cliché movie or level in the story mode of GuitarHero. On the one hand, there was a couple that had driven 2.5 hours to come see them play. On the other: during the set break between Colder Weather and Don't Panic's sets, the crowd melted away, dwindling from the better part of 100, to probably about 30. They powered through undeterred, and won over those handily. I met the drummer Anthony Paesano leaving the bathroom as as he was loading up on paper towels in the bathroom as his rider request of a bath towel had gone unfulfilled. He was going to need 'em. Turns out the bag with his change of clothes had gone missing. During their set, the drummer actually took a minute to make his plea to the audience in case anyone had seen it or could hook him up with some dry kit. Local openers Every So Often hooked him up with a tee from their merch table. I wonder if the bag ever turned up?

Don't Panic: L-R: AJ Larsen, Anthony Paesano, Ted Fellicetti

In spite of the smaller crowd, Don't Panic brought the pop punk goods. Their set featured sing alongs and a selfie with the crowd that showed up. They didn't seem to let the diminished crowd get to them, and the crowd that stayed gave what energy they had back. Guitarist AJ Larsen frequently came to the edge of the stage to interact with the crowd. When asked to whoa-oh, the crowd whoa-oh'd.

While not a noteworthy crowd by any measure of importance, it did seem to fit the ethos of punk. I personally was amused to close the night seeing a guy in panda/viking eyeshadow, combat boots, and black denim metalhead patch vest chatting with a nun in old school habit. I can help but wonder what they had in common to talk about, perhaps a shared appreciation for black clothing?

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