Ratfest takes punk rock fans by storm

The night was growing colder and the crowds antsy as Ratfest inched closer to starting. Non-students attending the concert began to trickle in from the parking lot while the stage was being readied, and police officers kept a watchful eye on the crowd about to indulge in pop-punk anarchy. Allison Weiss, Man Overboard and Saves the Day were to perform at the College Union Board’s show on Saturday,  April 20.

Allison Weiss was the first to perform, fresh from completing her just-released album “Say What You Mean.”

Tri-state area bands take the stage at CUB’s Ratfest. (Brian Kempf / Features Assistant)

Her vocals are sweet without being indulgent, with a piercing and honest quality contrasted against her punk-influenced music. She played “Wait For Me” from her latest album on solo electric guitar in an honest lament, “I’m missing out on all the places I could go / the people I could know, the nights so not alone.” She described “Hole in Your Heart” as an “extremely mean song,” but Weiss felt a keen rapport with her audience, describing herself as being “romantic toward everyone here.”

Man Overboard took to the stage next. Their raucous “Rare” was one of the songs beginning the set, with angst bleeding through their lyrics, “You’re so worth all of this torture.”

Their sound was direct, intense, with the two lead singers providing a rocking multi-layered sound with near-overpowering guitars, and chaotic, yet rhythmic drumming. “Love Your Friends, Die Laughing” invoked Modest Mouse, but the lyrics are uniquely their own, “We made love tonight as the result of a fight / When you put your arms around me, the whole world’s alright.”

Saves the Day plowed through their first three songs, opening with “Firefly” as shrill guitars pierced the cold night air. Within the first few minutes, a mosh pit had formed in the center of the audience and reappeared in several forms throughout the rest of the set. “1984” served a dystopian sound, “The TV screens, the magazines depress disease deny your dreams / Dislocate drain to drifting losing control.”

Saves the Day ended the set with the perennial favorite “At Your Funeral,” with the audience belting “This song will become the anthem of your underground / You’re two floors down getting high in the back room.”

Plugging their new album to be released in early July, Saves the Day finished out the concert, leaving those who had just enjoyed several hours of gritty sound gasping for more.