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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Berkeley-born Mom Jeans. returns home for sold-out show

Coming back to its hometown for a sold-out show, emo indie rock band Mom Jeans. played for a rowdy crowd at Cornerstone on last Sunday night. The venue was packed with movement, and the UC Berkeley alumni in the band were greeted with high energy on the last night of their three-month tour.

Mom Jeans. started its show with a song off of its new album, Puppy Love, which came out in July. “Near death fail comp (must watch until end)” awakened the audience as the moshing began. Lead singer Eric Butler’s voice held the stylistic whine that the band’s recorded songs — as well as most other emo indie bands — feature.

“Shred Cruz,” one of the group’s older songs, incited the most intense crowd-surfing of the night. With the screaming lyrics, “I want to be like Drake and Rihanna,” the room was booming with people singing words back.

The mood wasn’t all lighthearted, though. Once the song finished, bass player Gabriel Paganin addressed the intensity of the people jumping into the audience. “If we could be conscious of the people around us and not do flips into the crowd…,” he said after one too many instances of concertgoers getting kicked. “Don’t be an asshole,” Butler added to finish the sentiment.

Crowd favorites such as “Edward 40hands” and “*Sobs Quietly*” were not passed over, with hoards of fans jumping onstage and cannonballing into the crowd. It was a struggle to keep track of how many people were attempting to crowd-surf through just one song, let alone the entire set. At one point, a person in a chicken mask tried diving into the audience but failed, hitting the ground before the crowd around could help to pull them up.

The band amusingly took its time tuning throughout the show but always kept the crowd entertained with random, grainy transition songs such as “Hot in Herre” by Nelly and the famous “Making my way downtown” meme, also known as “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton.

The members also showed special appreciation for the venue, as managing a sold-out show can be a lot to handle for the staff. “There’s a lot of places that don’t give a shit about us or don’t give a shit about you,” Butler said, encouraging the audience to be thankful for the hominess of Cornerstone. “Everything this band is is because of here,” Butler said of the band’s birthplace in Berkeley.

The performance of “Death Cup” brought out everyone’s inner angry sad boy. The guitar sounded as if it were crying during the first half of this song, but the intensity slowly built into everyone’s favorite part: the on-beat chants from the band. There really is nothing like synchronized screaming.

The crowd-surfers during this song were especially active, but not in a pleasant way. One person hopped onstage and gave Butler an endearing pat on the arm while Butler strummed at his guitar. If you don’t already know crowd-surfer etiquette, you should know: This isn’t cool. The band gave the crowd-surfer some strange looks before the person hopped back into the pit.

The band gave an overall laid-back performance, and the audience members could tell that Mom Jeans. was nothing but comfortable being back on the Cornerstone stage. The musicians never hesitated to joke around with each other or with the audience, and Butler could be seen hitting his Juul more than a few times at the corner of the stage.

Mom Jeans. brought some solid dad jokes to the stage as well. Paganin asked the crowd, “Why did the stormtrooper buy an iPhone?” before responding, “He couldn’t find the droid he was looking for.”

Considering the group’s first album only released in 2016, Mom Jeans. has come a long way from the UC Berkeley dorms. Its number of Spotify plays may be one indicator that this group will go far, but the sheer support displayed at the show proved this city loves this band just as much as the band loves Berkeley.

Skylar De Paul covers music. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.



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