The 5th of May, or Cinco de Mayo as many of you may know it, is a day of celebration for all, and with no exception is the legendary Walter Schreifels. A first of two album release shows, this being in the well frequented almost-residency by Schreifels at the Studio @ Webster Hall (QRO venue review), many new tracks unheard to the U.S. crowd off his new album An Open Letter To the Scene (QRO review) were performed with a full backing band. Made up of Arthur Smilios on bass, of the well celebrated NYC hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits (which Schreifels also featured in), Andy Action on drums, and Dave Hill on guitar, who one may also know as a comedian and sick pervert (in a good way, undoubtedly…) on Twitter, the band rocked out in good humour and high spirits, performing a range of material from Schreifels’ new release, as well as from Run To Be Born by Walking Concert, arguably Schreifels’ ‘real’ first solo album, as well as a number of covers and even a Quicksand tune to mix it up.
Animated and lively, Schreifels was in good shape, as were the crowd, who were well versed in his back catalogue of material, and additionally shouting a number of obscure requests from the hundreds of songs he has written. Breaking into raw sounding pop classics in the Walter realm, such as “What’s Your New Thing”, the crowd was animated, dancing and screaming, singing along. Perhaps it was the two-dollar tequila shots, or maybe it was the solid fan base that Walter has attracted over the number of years in his beloved hometown.
The show differed greatly from the low-key shows in The U.K. (QRO U.K. tour review), where Schreifels played acoustically with no backing band, and as incredible as The U.K. shows were, this show was a different kettle of fish. Each member oozed an energy which riled up the crowd, and it’s a fair assumption that there was not one person who was not captured by the music and having a hell of a time. With loud catchy tunes, both new and old, such as “Save the Saveables” off An Open Letter and “Mustang Ford” from Walking Concert, plus Schreifels legendary Sick Of It All/Smiths cover, each song was played with a raucous energy, messily and much to the pleasure of the gathered crowd.
Perhaps the set wasn’t the most musically tight, but it was played with a greater sense of fun and celebration than the more ‘serious’ solo shows, and good times were to be had by all. Friday, May 7th, Schreifels returned solo, playing at the North Star Bar in Philadelphia (QRO photos), and again on May 8th in Buffalo, supporting Snapcase on their reunion show, and although one may expect nothing less than a hit-filled show with enchanting melodies and warm presentation, not much is going to come close to Cinco de Mayo’s beer and tequila filled rockin’ party.