The War Lovers, Sideline, The Kicks and Chops At the Town Shop 12/17/21

Photos and Review by Chris Besaw

Friday night the quiet little town of Camillus was anything but that when the Town Shop @ 67 Main Street hosted A Festivus For The Rest of Us featuring some of the Syracuse area’s veteran and upcoming punk bands.

Located in the heart of Camillus, The Town Shop is a small but really unique venue that also serves as the area’s youth center. It opened its doors to welcome not only the line up of some really great punk bands but to anyone who wanted to get out of the cold and listen or get rowdy.

Starting off the evening was Chops from the rockabilly punk outfit Chops and the Madcats. Chops who was getting things started for the evening was flying solo, playing a nice set of originals and even working in a couple of covers including some Johnny Cash to get the crowd moving and singing along. If you are into the rockabilly punk sound head over to their page and give Chops and the Madcats a listen.


Following Chops was a band I have only seen flyers for in our area but haven’t yet had the opportunity to check out live, the three-piece punk outfit Sideline. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can tell you this, I was really impressed with these guys. With a tightly-packed crowd, they powered through an incredible set with high energy which got the crowd moving and singing along. The best way to describe their sound is of early Green Day (pre-Dookie). Their set was nothing short of high energy and pure intensity. Keep an eye on them for certain. They mentioned at the show they are almost done with their upcoming release Slapdoodle. That will be a release I am looking forward to!

Now to shift things a bit, next to step up was the Kicks. Unfortunately, for reasons that escape me, their bassist wasn’t able to make it to the show but that didn’t stop them from putting on an incredible set. Again, these guys are another band I have not seen but would like to see them again. Their sound was really different from the other bands that evening. If you could blend together early Seattle punk with little sludge tones then you have a really interesting band in front of you, the Kicks. I remember thinking at one point how reminiscent of early Melvins and Nirvana (Bleach-era) their sound was and, to my surprise they covered one of my favorite tracks by Nirvana, “Aneurysm.” Being different than what I expected I enjoyed their set as well.

If you’re familiar with the Syracuse punk scene, then the next band needs no introduction, The War Lovers was the final band to hit the stage. I have always enjoyed Jamie’s various projects over the years and really enjoy watching him perform. The War Lovers is no exception. The band is only a two-piece outfit but makes a huge roar, louder than some full bands. With just himself and drummer Thao Crash, their set was nothing short of pure punk rawk and amazing, getting the crowd rowdy dancing and singing along. If you have not seen them live I strongly suggest doing so because you won’t be disappointed.

As the dust settled and the crowd slowly filed out, one thing that rings true is that the Town Shop hosted a really amazing punk show. If you missed this show don’t worry there is another show coming at the Town Shop on January 14.

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