Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Outside Your Comfort Zone: Riverside Odds PUNK!
I decided this year to make an effort to do things outside of my comfort zone. There are things which give me a certain amount of angst. I have never done them before or just not in a long while. Certain things I will not do, including bungee jump or sky jumping. No thanks. :)  Others ... maybe with just a little bit of a push I will.

My buddy Darren Walbridge, as I've stated in previous blogs, is the drummer of the Philly punk rock band, the Riverside Odds. It is a speed punk band with (off of their website) RW Griswold on lead vocals, Matty Terror on guitar/backing vocals, Tim Griswold on bass guitar/backing vocals, Dan Neswick on lead guitar, Darren on drums, and the classic beer PBR for inspiration(!). How awesome is that?!

My punk experiences were in the 80s and early 90s listening to bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Smiths, the Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Violent Femmes, the Cure, the Ramones, Fishbone, and Meat Puppets. I used to frequent the famous punk stores on South Street Philly, Zipperhead and Skinz. I was never 'hardcore' punk, but was an outsider and related to this common theme running through punk music.  This, along with adolescent anger, frustration, and melancholia drove me to these groups, especially the Cure, Violent Femmes, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Fishbone.

Felicia and I rockin' out!
Since then, I have not ventured music-wise into to the recent punk scene, tending to allow my musical tastes migrate into other areas completely opposite of punk. I hadn't even kept up with the scene in years until I met by chance, their drummer Darren at one of my yard-sales where he bought a used golf bag for his drum sticks, a set of 1950s shots glasses, and a broken weed-whacker. LOL We struck up a friendship and through the months became better friends delving into pretty deep philosophical discussions between two old souls, often fueled by a beer and a shot of whiskey.

The BEST pic.
Anyway, I had wanted to see Darren and his band play for awhile but he was usually performing down in the Philly area not too mention going on much too late for this old guy. He mentioned to me they were finally playing up in Schuylkill County for a benefit at Goodfella's Café in Pottsville, PA this past mid January. I grabbed several good friends, Felicia, Julia, Jessica and her hubby Sal, got some tickets and went to the show. It was nothing short of awesome.

Darren doing what he does best
I have to admit I was nervous and anxious. I hadn't been to a punk rock show in decades. It was completely outside my comfort zone of mainstream music. Well lemme tell you something, after the first song began, any anxiety I had going back to punk quickly dissolved. I guess I was just nervous because my life these days was so routine, until I let the punk back in!

The music and songs are all original with these guys. Great guitar playing, great drumming, and great vocals. It is fast, it is loud, it is hard, it is angry, it is PUNK as it SHOULD be. My friend Sal was so incensed by the earlier 'cover' bands of that evening that he got in my face and shouted, "MARC! I need my face to melt! I need this punk to melt my face dude!!!" I reassured him that they play awesome live and would not disappoint.
Great pic of the band!

Riverside Odds played a new song Macho Man as well as songs off of their debut album, "LET THE MAYHEM BEGIN." They played three of my favorites: "Camel Clutch," "Whiskey Girl", and "Philly Skyline." Lead singer RW on vocals did not disappoint with his deep gravelly voice charging perfectly through the lyrics. He gives extra depth and dimension to these songs about life, anger, booze and women which they so deftly deserve. The guitar arrangements were tight and Darren was punishing on drums, pounding away relentlessly. The crowd went nutz lovin' the original hardcore music.

It was worth the wait for these guys. My friend Sal was moshing in the middle. (Being my first punk rock show in decades, I was moshing on the fringe, LOL.) Sal ran up to me and shouted above the loud music, "My face is melting man! IT'S MELTING MAN!!" Awesome, I thought, I got Sal's stamp of approval! Before long, I was slamming into people like a true (middle-aged) punk rocker. Memories of college and punk rock shows came flooding back.  I felt like I had come full circle.
In a truly epic way to end the night, after the show ended and the guys broke down their instruments and equipment, I hung out with Felicia, Julia, and the BAND back at Darren's house. I met some other friends/fans of the band, Raquel, Mike, Kelle, and Adrianna (RW's wife and the unofficial band photographer!).  We tossed back countless shots of Jack Daniels and Jameson Irish whiskey, drank PBRs carousing and making mayhem after the show. I vaguely remember getting accidentally slapped up side the head by Darren's Dad, Darren Sr, who comes to pretty much every show. The Jameson softened the blow. LOL All in good fun! These guys were just a complete blast to hang out with and I'm happy to call them new friends.

After years of hibernating, the punk side of my youth resurfaced. I don't know how often I will see other punk bands besides the Riverside Odds but I've gotta say, that night was one of the best times I've spent listening to live music! And afterwards partying with the band, I owe them my allegiance. Plus, their original music is just so damn good. Thanks to the Riverside Odds for helping me rediscover my punk side.

These guys have also done their homework and can be found everywhere online! Smart move.


  1. That would be you... always evolving. Just when I think I have nailed you... here comes another facet. That is what makes being your friend so fascinating.

  2. Sorry... forgot to sign anonymous comment.... JR.