Two Real Friends Saw Real Friends at Toad’s Place


Amanda Geraci and Jennifer Moglia

Low lights, stuffy air, am I feeling my heartbeat or is it just the bass? There’s truly nothing like seeing a pop-punk show in an intimate venue. 

Knuckle Puck and Real Friends have teamed up for a co-headlining tour across the U.S., bringing Bearings along for the ride.

As someone who is still exploring the pop-punk scene, it was wonderful to have not only a close friend, but someone who is very immersed in the genre, join me for the show. Our overall takeaways from the night were similar, but it was interesting to see how we both perceived the experience, seeing our different levels of familiarity with the bands.

To warm up the crowd Bearings performed a half-hour set containing songs from both of their albums, while throwing in two new singles. The crowd seemed to be pretty low-key during the set, but hey, cute love songs will do that to you. 

I will say, the purple Teletubby moshing in the center of the pit really did pick up the energy.

After a 20-minute break we had the first headlining performance of the night, Knuckle Puck. The band played an hour-long set featuring classic songs played at every show, as well as a few tracks that are not heard on tour very often, even throwing in a new single. Overall there seemed to be a decent variety of songs from each album, which made the set enjoyable for everyone.

Or maybe not everyone … considering two men tried to start a fight in the middle of the pit about halfway through.

Anyways, Knuckle Puck is now signed to Pure Noise Records, and told the crowd to expect a new album very soon!

Now we reach the part of the night that I personally was looking forward to the most. Real Friends hopped on the stage and surprisingly opened with “I’ve Given Up On You” which is one of their saddest and slowest songs; definitely an emotional blow right off the bat. 

Though immediately after, the mood was lifted as they performed one of the hit tracks off of their new album, “There’s Nothing Worse Than Too Late” (which is amazing by the way, if you are reading this you should go listen to it right now).

For this set, we saw new and old songs mixed together (almost in a pattern of one new, one old, etc.) instead of being separated into blocks of time, which prevented the performance from feeling choppy.

During the performance of “Loose Ends”, a track not usually included in their tour sets, we got to see a little Knuckle Puck and Real Friends collab, as Knuckle Puck vocalist Joe Taylor came out on stage to help perform the song.

It is lovely to see two bands like Knuckle Puck and Real Friends who came up in Chicago around the same time frame, finally doing a proper tour together. Talk about being real friends (pun intended).

As the night came to an end and Real Friends bassist Kyle Fasel gave a few last high fives to the audience, we took a moment to reflect on the night, while watching those who were line dancing to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” as it was blasting through the venue’s speakers.

A venue as small and intimate as Toad’s Place was the perfect place for this show, especially if you are someone who likes to mosh (shout out to the Teletubby). Even though we resided in the back of the pit for most of the night, we still had an amazing view of the stage, there is truly not a bad spot in the house.

Overall, this was the perfect way to kick off spring break, and if I could relive this night, I would in a heartbeat.

Three bands, two friends, one memorable night.