Unwritten Law has had an interesting career. Lineup changes are to be expected with any band that's been around for over 20 years, but most frontmen don't have "physical arguments" with (soon-to-be-former) bandmates.
That leaves Scott Russo, the only original member of Unwritten Law. Fronting a four-piece band, he continues to create new material. Did you know Unwritten Law released two full-length albums after 2002's Elva? Yeah, I forgot, too. After a brief tango with mainstream success (thanks to songs like "Up All Night" and "Seein' Red,") the band kind of fell off the radar.
Unwritten Law played Marquee Theatre last year, bur Russo seemed more at home in The Roxy, with its full bar and stripper poles, which may have inspired some of the audience flashing. Looks like he's still got his charm.
There were plenty of fans who got really into the music by singing along and jumping to hits like "Save Me" and "Cailin." The band played quite a few tracks from its latest effort, Swan, which captures the group's signature upbeat pop-punk sound.
The band played five Elva songs early on, and stayed away from the album until later on, when Russo picked up an acoustic guitar for "The Rest of my Life" . A couple songs from the self-titled record found their way on the set, which was nice. The band could have dove a little deeper into their back catalog, songs like "C.P.K." would have been great.
In spite of a lineup changes, Unwritten Law's live performance really hasn't changed much over the past few years. It's still a high-energy sing-along that's best enjoyed in a small venue.
Before the show started, I overheard someone say, "For 10 bucks on a Thursday, why not?" I'm guessing it came from one of the guys who looked really bored throughout the evening. These folks made up about half of the crowd. The show was a lot of fun up through "Mean Girl," but a band obviously can't play old songs all night if they want to sell some records. Russo encouraged the crowd to buy a copy of Swan so they can "do cocaine and shit off it; it's good."
Los Angeles reggae rockers Zen Robbi opened the show and played what can be best described as what it would sound like if Incubus' Brandon Boyd fronted 311. The songs were catchy and probably a match made in heaven for Southern California marijuana enthusiasts.
Unwritten Law Setlist: Starships and Apocalypse Teenage Suicide Rescue Me Blame It On Me Up All Night Seein' Red Mean Girl The Celebration Song Shoulda Known Better Superbad Nevermind Cailin Underground Dark Days Rest of my Life She Says Save Me
Encore: More Than You Are
Last Night: Unwritten Law at Roxy Lounge.
Personal Bias: Elva and Bad Religion's Process of Belief were my soundtracks of 2002.
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The Crowd: Scottsdale girls and bros wearing t-shirts and backwards hats.
Overheard in the Crowd: "THIS IS MY SONG!" -The drunk girl who flashed Russo felt compelled to tell everyone around her how much she loves "Save Me."
Random Notebook Dump: I wonder if The Roxy in LA is this small?