Review Summary: "I ain't no preacher for I'm full of blasphemy."
For the longest time, shows to me were routine. I would see from a promoter or a venue’s website that a band I liked was coming to town. From there, I would go purchase tickets at a box office, wait patiently (more like impatiently) for the date, head to the place, then wait in line to be admitted. That all changed with Mischief Brew. I remember my much more punk-oriented friend telling me about this band that was playing at a venue unknown to Google, in a less-than-desirable part of town. Much to my dismay, the venue was not even one. I was treated to a dilapidated funeral home-turned venue, complete with a makeshift stage and old, torn apart easy chairs for those who didn’t feel like standing the whole time. There was a table with ragged youth sharing anarchist literature and pamphlets, and another table to pay for admittance if you felt like it. There, I was introduced to Mischief Brew.
This EP contains early material from the folk-punk band. Right from the start the listener is treated to catchy, upbeat acoustic guitars and pounding drums for a backbone to the music. “Devil of a Time” is a great introduction to the band and EP. Featuring frontman Erik Peterson’s coarse singing and howling, clashing cymbals, clicking sticks, and strumming, the track demonstrates what the band is best at. The drumming is nice, especially in a genre where it is mostly used to keep time. In ‘The Drunk of Three Nights”, the drums help build the song and end it with a bang. “Rambler’s Ghost” breaks character and introduces electric guitars, which interestingly enough creates an even folk-ier feeling than the previous song. Fan-favorite “Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell” features only Peterson on acoustic guitar and his gruff vocal work. The song is catchy and has great lyrics to shout along to:
“At the border of utopia I’ll toast to anarchy, because fire and rock – I’m coming home to you, I’m picking the bones out of my dinner stew. Open up the gates of Hell and roll me through.”
There aren’t any drawbacks to this EP save for not featuring horns and wind instruments that were later to come. Expect a more stripped down, folk punk sound and basic song structure. With its short length, folk-influenced punk sound, and catchy instrumental work, “Bakenal” is a great introduction to Mischief Brew. Fans of the genre will love its playability and newcomers will find the guitar work and other instruments easy to embrace.