Smoking Popes @ SLO Downtown Brew ~ March 24, 2011

It's all in the voice.

Thursday night I made the trek up to San Luis Obispo from Santa Barbara to check out a pop punk band I had never heard because a friend of mine thought it would be a good present. It was.

The Smoking Popes, a pop punk band from Chicago that features crooner-styled vocals that rival that of Morrissey, played at SLO’s Downtown Brew to an intimate group of fans. The music itself was characteristic of any pop punk band, with an upbeat tempo and fast hard drum beats, but they got you at the heart strings with the vocal delivery and poignant lyrics.

Composed of three brothers and a side kick, the Popes lead the crowd through many sing-a-longs from albums new and old, and made certain to throw in the more upbeat tracks from their latest "This Is Only A Test". Brother Josh rejoiced at the crowd’s participation, noting how “Destination Failure” seemed to be this crowd’s album of choice (based on the shouted requests), then proceeded to sing through “Megan”, “Paul”, and “Pure Imagination” without pause. It was the right combination of new and nostalgic songs.

Sentimental, yet rocking out, the Smoking Popes closed it down with “Pretty Pathetic” and left us glad that they were not.