By Chyrisse Tabone and Brent Michael-Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Crowbar, Ybor City, Tampa–February 21, 2018
Mustard Plug played at the Crowbar in October 2017 during the Prefest celebration. I really love ska and was into The Specials when I was a teenager. I wore out that cassette and eventually the case melted from sitting near the car window. Although I missed Mustard Plug in the Fall I was lucky to get to see them on February 21st at the Crowbar. The date has been on my calendar for sometime so I was really psyched to see them–not to mention that I totally support bands from Michigan since I’m from the ‘burbs of Detroit.
Being a Wednesday evening in Ybor City, Tampa, it was relatively quiet in the street. The hookah bar was opened and maybe a few restaurants. When I walked around the corner to The Crowbar, this was a much different scene. The place was packed on the inside as well as the outdoor beer garden. There were a few merch tables set up with t-shirts and CDs for the support bands as well as Mustard Plug. When I arrived around 9:30 p.m., pop-punk band Dial Drive was setting up their rig and getting ready to hit the stage. Dial Drive is from Orlando and can be considered a local band—but a very impressive one at that! The tunes were very pop-punk harmonies, delivery, and very witty with the lyrics. The lead singer announced various songs with a little background information (“this song is about my pet cat”) and rolled into “Fat Johnny”. I really enjoyed listening to Dial Drive’s set and hope to see them again as this band deserves a little time in the spotlight.
Now, the crowd was ready to skank when Mustard Plug hit the stage with fire. Immediately, a large circle pit of skankers were in full motion, like fish circling in a pond, and stayed that way throughout the evening. I saw a few women in the circle pit (you go girls) and they were keeping up, getting into the groove. It was definitely a lot more polite than the circles I see at metal shows. Later on as Mustard Plug went through their line of hits, some from the early-1990s, the crowd danced and sang along. A few concert-goers sat on friends’ shoulders, and bobbed in and out of the circle pit. Later on there was plenty of crowd surfing and stage diving.
I have to say, this was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in awhile—between the crowd and the band’s performance. Lead singer Dave Kirchgessner spoke to the crowd between songs, giving a little background, and saying how much he and the band love Florida. When announced “Mr. Smiley” he said, “This is a song about violence” and wielded a plastic hatchet. Later he talked a little politics saying, “We hate Nazis”, mentioning there was one in the White House, and started playing “Throw a Bomb”. Kirchgessner mentioned the band ate at a local Jamaican food restaurant called “The Jerk Hut”, saying what a great place it is. He also mentioned that he liked women in “Thigh High Nylons” and began singing the song.
Other highlights were “Everything Girl”, the “Beer (Song”, and “Brain on Ska”, which is a play on the old TV commercial showing the skillet and egg… “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.”
Before leaving, I definitely purchased the band’s CD of greatest hits “Mustard Plug—Masterpieces: 1991-2002” so I can happily skank around the house while doing chores.
This was a great night of great music—and I really hope Mustard Plug makes it back down to Florida to soak up our sun and hospitality real soon. We love ya’ guys!
Dave Kirchgessner – vocals
Colin Clive – guitar/vocals
Rick Johnson – bass
Nate Cohn – drums
Jim Hofer – trombone
Brandon Jenison – trumpet
CHECK OUT DIAL DRIVE