Mephiskapheles @ McGarvey’s Bar and Grill Altoona, PA

Live Reviews | May 6th, 2019

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Date: May 3, 2019
Opening Acts: RRCMM, Ben Dumm and the Prostitutes

With the devil on their side and a briefcase full of Bumble Bee Tuna, Mephiskapheles brought their brand of ska-punk to western Pennsylvania on a rainy Friday night. Local acts RRCMM (Railroad City Murder Machines) and Ben Dumm and the Prostitutes were the opening acts for the evening.

RRCMM kicked off the night with some hard rock/punk/grunge songs that were catchy as hell and great to bellow along with. They’ve been around as a band in one form or another for a while now and I’m surprised that I never caught one of their sets over the years but they were definitely a great band to open up the show.

Following up the RRCMMs was another local act in the uber-talented Ben Dumm but with a newly formed three-piece aptly named Ben Dumm and the Prostitutes. Ben and his prostitutes gave the crowd a healthy dose of good old fashioned rock and roll as a precursor to some satanic ska. One of my favorite tracks from their set is a cover of Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” which Ben has been playing over the years and every time I hear this song it sounds slightly different than the last time.

With RRCMMs and Ben Dumm and the Prostitutes warming up the crowd, it was time to turn the heat up to hellish levels for Mephiskapheles. Forming in the early 90s Mephiskapheles playfully incorporated satanic themes and lyrics into their repertoire and established themselves as one of the premier third wave bands of the time. Eventually they began to incorporate some metal elements into their sound and that wicked amalgamation is what currently makes up the band’s sound.

Mephiskapheles hit the stage with a strong presence and energy that was reciprocated from the audience in front of them. Their self-titled song was the introduction to their soundtrack of destruction. They managed to rip through a great set of songs both old and new as well as some unreleased material that they’re working on for a future release. Classics such as “Bad John”, “Introducing the Yellow Passion”, “Doomsday”, “Break Your Ankle Punk”, “Satanic Debris” and “Wash Me” paired up nicely with songs from their recent EP and the few new songs that they introduced during their set.

Things really got real when the band threw out “The Bumble Bee Tuna” song complete with special lyrics for an evening in Altoona…yum yum Bumble Bee Altoona! Mephiskapheles also ripped through the fastest and craziest version of “Rank and File” that I ever heard and the song that really amped things up that night was the absolutely killer version of “Saba” that seriously had the floors and rafters shaking. It was a moment to behold.

While I’m sure that this wasn’t one of the largest crowds that Mephiskapheles had played for in their career, they still poured their dark hearts out for everyone. They had a boundless energy and passion during their set that will stick in my mind for a very long time. Their performance was absolutely one of the most entertaining and enjoyable shows that I’ve seen in a long time and I’m excited that I’ll be seeing them a couple more times throughout the year. It’ll be one hell of a good time!


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