Pressure Reviews: The Trades @ Mahall’s 8.10.18

Mahall’s is an interesting place. It’s been around for nearly a hundred years and has always drawn a very mixed crowd, because there’s a lot to do.

The punk rock and skater kids all come to see bands, young, hip families and friends come here to bowl together, the hipster and slightly-more-mature types linger in the bar. It is a permanent staple in Lakewood and the one part of the town most likely to survive The Blitz.

The Trades are headlining Mahall’s Main Stage tonight for a line-up featuring punk bands from as far away as Boston. The guitarist warms up to the riffs of Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good”, and there’s two guys in the crowd wearing Tool shirts that aren’t old enough to have been born yet at the time Opiate was released. This is a young crowd, but they’re certainly not unaware.

The Trades are a blend of Oi! punk of the 1970s and early 80s with a helping of garage rock on the side that gives them a bigger sound than the stripped-back, three-chord punk of yesteryear (think British punk band Idles, or Suicidal Tendencies). Vocalist John Sweeney’s growl is as nasal as John Lydon’s, add American accent. Guitarist Justin Mandic and bass player Nate Rice lead the band through several blazing tracks, the hardcore “Society”, “Heart On My Sleeve”, and “440”. It’s clear they spend a lot of time together – the live endings to their songs, time shifts and transitions, speed changes, are all perfectly coordinated. Lyrically, The Trades have a lot to say, from political to personal. Love, laughter, and the media all get a word or two as the band rolls through notable tracks like “Fake News” and “My Dog’s A Dick”, ending their own material with a tongue-in-cheek song about themselves and the working class life, titled “The Trades”. They would end the night on covers of the Circle Jerks and “Knowledge” by Operation Ivy.

Missed this show? The Trades play Mahall’s again Sept. 28 with DOLLAR DRAFTS and Pizza Creeps.