October 13, 2008
I don’t remember exactly how I first found out about the Ergs. I do remember when I first saw them though. It was in 2006, and they were playing a house show at the Stinkhouse with The Parasites, which it turned out was just Dave Parasite with the Ergs as his backing band. That was definitely the first time I heard anything by the group. It was a pretty incredible show. There weren’t a whole lot of kids there, as is normally the case at a house show, but there was a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of dancing going on. The atmosphere was so good that I picked up a CD by the band, a practice that I avoid under most circumstances.
Now, 2009 is just around the corner and before we ring in the New Year, the three self-proclaimed geeks will have written the final chapter on their 8 year romance with pop-punk. In August a rumor suggesting that the Ergs were calling it quits was making its way around the internet. Interestingly enough, the Ergs were playing a show at the Monster House here in Columbus the night that the rumor took life, and they made a point to reassure everyone present that they were not breaking up. Less than a month later guitarist Jeff announced to his band mates Joe and Mikey that he wanted to leave the band. As a group they decided that the band wouldn’t be the same without him, and in a moment of coincidence and bad timing, it turned out they would, in fact, be breaking up after all.
Thankfully, the breakup isn’t any sort of VH1 “Behind the Music” breakup, and the band is finishing out the shows it already had booked, as well as performing a few last-ever shows in their favorite cities. Fortunately for me and the rest of the Columbus pop-punk posse, Columbus was one of their favorite cities. So it was with heavy heart that I strolled into Carabar on the 13th to bid farewell to what had become one of my favorite live acts, despite my body being desperate for a day of recovery after Riotfest.
Oh, by the way, I’m calling this my Ergs Trifecta because I went to three Ergs shows in three days. This was the only proper one in my opinion, having missed most of the set Saturday night and the sound being so terrible on the second stage at Riotfest. Delay, local pals of the Ergs who often opened for them over the years, was on the bill, as was Static Radio. The turnout was great for a Monday night at a bar located four miles from campus.
I ordered some tasty tomato soup, a grilled cheese, and an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, then took a seat at the bar, where I enjoyed Delay’s set from the comfort of my bar stool. I first heard Delay on the ole int0rwebz while looking into local bands, and apparently their live show doesn’t translate very well on their recordings (not yet anyway), because I was unimpressed with the songs on the web, but they put on a very enthusiastic performance and I had a good time, even if I grubbed through much of it.
Next up was Static Radio, some fellow New Jerseyans on tour with the Ergs. I’d never heard the band before, and missed their set at Riotfest. They are considerably less poppy than the Ergs, and do melodic punk kinda thing along the lines of Epitaph or maybe Fat Wreck bands. Good stuff.
Now, for the highlight of the evening, ladies and gents: the one and only Ergs. They blasted right into the hits, leaving the audience no choice but to burst into dance. The crowd surged forward as rabid fans chanted lyrics back at the band. Guys and gals were boosted into the air, allowing them one of few surf options available to Midwesterners. There was some reminiscing between songs and tales of the band’s earliest Columbus performances at Bernie’s, specifically performing “Batman” with Don B., a Bernie’s tradition. In honor of those performances they lead the audience in a cover of the theme song. The band seemed to alternate vocals more than they did in the past, perhaps opting to perform more material by Joey and Jeffrey since the end was looming in the distant future.
When everything was said and done the Ergs had played for the better part of an hour. The crowd was dripping sweat, exhausted from dancing and pogo-ing to the tunes. Everyone present went home thankful that night, knowing that while they would probably never see the Ergs again, they caught a proper farewell at Carabar.
- Photos by Dana Curran