Smoking Popes

Majestic Live & True Endeavors Presents

Smoking Popes

Fury Things, The Bigger Empty

Fri. March 24, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

$12 ADV // $15 DOS

This event is 18 and over

+$3 under 21 surcharge collected at the door (waived with valid student ID)

Smoking Popes
Smoking Popes
“Ever wonder what a traditional lounge singer would sound like backed up by a punk band? The Smoking Popes take that concept one step further: They’ve created a unique kind of music that some listeners are describing as ‘hyperkinetic tear-jerkers’.” Los Angeles Times

Smoking Popes built a relationship with their legion of fans and fellow musicians by melding raw songs about bittersweet heartache with soaring melodies, power chords and punk spirit. Wielding such musical influence is remarkable, and their latest album This is Only a Test is perfect proof that their sparkling lyricism and ineffable charm is still intact. This is Only a Test is the Smoking Pope’s first ever concept album, exploring the life of a fictional high schooler. The album hits the street on March 15th, sparking a spring tour to celebrate, beginning at SXSW in Austin.

This is Only a Test’s songs explore themes of identity, musical aspirations, love and teen suicide.” Singer/Guitarist Songwriter Josh Caterer explains, “When I first got the idea to write from a teenage perspective, the individual songs came really quickly. I wrote a song a day for five days. That’s half the album in less than a week. I never write that fast! Each song stands alone as a snapshot from this kid’s life. The story doesn’t unfold like a narrative. It’s more like a collage.” Recorded at Chicago’s Atlas Sound in 2010, the album was produced by Mat Allison (Alkaline Trio, Lawrence Arms, and The Menzingers).

Some may assume that This is Only a Test is autobiographical but Caterer lays that notion to rest, saying, “The main character on this album is definitely a creation. He’s not me. Well…he’s similar to me, but he’s not limited by the realities of my own experience. I created a character that basically has the same view of the world that I had when I was in high school, but he’s his own person and he does some things that I never did.”

Smoking Popes first burst onto the scene in 1991 and released several albums on various local labels. They signed to Capitol Records in 1995 and re-released Born to Quit¸ one of Smoking Popes landmark albums, to an even larger fan base gained by touring with bands like Jawbreaker and Jimmy Eat World. Praise from SPIN, Alternative Press, Rolling Stone and Billboard arrived with the re-release and later that year, “Need You Around” was also featured in the hit movie Clueless. Musical icon Morrissey raved: “Did you ever hear Born to Quit? It’s by the Smoking Popes. I thought that album was extraordinary, the most lovable thing I’d heard in years”.

In 1997, the Smoking Popes released Destination Failure. The album challenged the idea of what a pop punk band could do, with lyrics that told tales of love and longing with heartbreaking details. To the shock of many, Smoking Popes decided to throw in the towel in 1998. In 2005, rumors started flying that the band would perform again. Their sold out reunion show at Chicago’s Metro on November 11th sparked a resurgence of Smoking Popes fans, leaving the crowd yearning for new material. The band was re-energized and reformed for good, releasing Stay Down in 2008 and in 2010, Its Been a Long Day, a compilation of songs released on rare vinyl singles. Their most recent full-length album, This Is Only A Test, is available on Asian Man Records.
Fury Things
Fury Things
FURY THINGS are three quiet dudes playing loud music. In three prolific years, they've released three EPs, two singles and a brand new LP, all while gradually becoming mainstays in the Twin Cities music community. With no image, ego or gimmick, they let their melodic hooks and electric stage presence speak for them. Drenched in sweat and left with ears ringing after every show, their on-stage aggression is balanced with a friendliness and persevering attitude that has netted them fans locally and internationally.

In December of 2015, FURY THINGS released their debut full-length, VHS, to critical acclaim from the Twin Cities and elsewhere. It's been called "one of the best records of the year" by Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune, who also wrote, "Nearly all of the songs on this Twin Cities power trio's full-length debut start in one of two ways: with a furious, call-to-arms pounding of snare drum and cymbals, or with a heavy, call-to-earplugs roar of guitar. Either way, consider yourselves forewarned." Jon Hunt of L'étoile Magazine said of the album, "There is always a place in the world for albums that sound like GIGANTIC FUCKING JETS TAKING OFF. That's a thing. In the 60s it was the Byrds, in the 70s it was Blue Öyster Cult, now it's Fury Things basically duplicating the effect of a jet cruising down the runway and directly into your brain. It's awesome. In fact, it's totally necessary."

Perhaps the band's biggest praise has come from Erik Thompson, writing for 89.3 The Current, who penned an opinion piece called "Fury Things are the best rock band in the Twin Cities." He wrote:

"Fury Things are not revivalists. Sure, the Minneapolis rock trio are carrying on the loud and proud indie tradition of the Twin Cities' illustrious musical past – even being personally selected by Bob Mould himself to open for his band at his old stomping grounds, the 7th St. Entry. Fury Things are taking that untamed, raucous sound in a thoroughly modern direction — and they are doing it better than any other local rock band at the moment.

"The title of their debut LP, VHS, may evoke a simpler, analog time long before Netflix and smartphones, but the nine fitful songs on the record sound thoroughly of the moment. There are just enough underlying echoes of power-pop's past to reveal the band's myriad influences, but they've added their own roiling twist on the past three decades of garage rock and made a combustible yet utterly catchy sound that is entirely their own."

Set aside the shows, praise and ambition and you're left with one truth: FURY THINGS are here to stay, so bring your earplugs.
The Bigger Empty
The Bigger Empty
The Bigger Empty is a four-piece rock band from Chicago,IL. Its members include: Mike Felumlee (ex Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes) on guitar/vocals, and Jim Steinkraus, Reuben Baird, and Kevin Baschen from the Chicago band Sketch Middle. This foursome has been playing together for several years as Mike's solo act. During rehearsals for their upcoming album, the guys discovered they were sounding more like a band than a solo project, and so The Bigger Empty was born.

With a shared passion for straightforward, hard hitting pop-rock, The Bigger Empty are diving into the recording of their debut full-length album. The album is currently being tracked at Reuben's studio Chicago Sound Lab with Reuben manning the console. The guys are very excited to share their musical vision with the world. Rock music just as it should be: pure, simple, and catchy. No skinny jeans, loafers, or neon shirts required.
Venue Information:
The Frequency
121 W. Main Street
Madison, WI, 53703