Concert Review: MxPx on pace with emerging protégés

Pop punk pioneers MxPx made a stop in the stateline area Tuesday, Aug. 15, when they headlined a show at Forest Hills Lodge in Loves Park.

Since forming in 1992, the Bremerton, Wash., trio has had long-lasting impacts on the punk and Christian genres. Having come into the mainstream spotlight almost simultaneously with bands such as Green Day and The Offspring in the mid-1990s, their musical contributions would serve as a springboard for bands such as Blink 182 and Good Charlotte years later.

When MxPx came into prominence, the concept of pop punk was still considered an oxymoron, and Christianity in popular music was all but nonexistent. But in the 14 years since their formation, subtle messages, easy-to-remember lyrics and sing-along-worthy choruses have become standard in both genres.

Once radio and MTV darlings, MxPx is no longer among the most visible bands—unless, of course, you include the countless bands they inspired. However, they’ve continued to regularly release new music, including last year’s Panic, which was well received by fans and critics alike.

When their bus pulled into the virtually empty parking lot last week, the band could’ve easily cut their set short or cancelled outright. Instead, they wowed the crowd of less than 200 with a full hour-and-a-half set, a great deal of which consisted of the band taking audience requests. Though small, the crowd was teeming with excitement, singing along to nearly every song, and moshing in dizzying circle pits.

The band, well known for its friendly and accessible nature, told stories and asked questions of the audience, making the atmosphere both appealing and refreshing. The band was never once negative about the small turnout, and seemed genuinely appreciative of those who showed.

Though the nearly dozen requests were certainly crowd-pleasing, the band’s most raucous response came during their last song, 1995’s hit “Punk Rawk Show.” Like it or not, the bulk of the audience quickly became part of the mosh pit. Imagine a pinball machine with about 150 balls inside bouncing around simultaneously, and you’ll have an idea of what it was like.

If this performance was any indication, MxPx has not lost a step to their continually emerging protégés. And while imitators will likely spawn for years to come, it seems that, despite the occasionally small crowd, the band can sleep well at night knowing that without their music, bands such as current darlings Relient K would not exist.

Still recovering from a summer-long tour with Reel Big Fish, MxPx will continue playing sporadic shows throughout August and September before likely settling down to record another album toward the end of the year. For more information, visit

From the Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2006, issue

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