TVD Live: The Young Rapscallions at The High Watt, 1/9

Guess who’s back? Fresh off my five-month vacation in the Big Apple, I’m back in Music City, USA, and man does it feel good. If there’s one thing I can count on Nashville to give as a homecoming gift, it’s a damn good rock ‘n’ roll show in a hole-in-the-wall venue on a warm Wednesday night in January.

I’m talking about none other than the Californian natives The Young Rapscallions‘ gig at The High Watt in downtown Nashville as part of their Over the Hills 2013 Tour currently sweeping the East Coast.

Judging from the crowd gradually flooding into the venue throughout the night, it’s safe to say that everyone knows at least two things about the four raucous Rapscallions: 1. Yes, that is the infamous funnyman Chris Mintz-Plasse (immortalized from his roles in Superbad, Role Models, Movie 43, etc.) with the drumsticks in his hand, and 2. They shred really, really hard. Flourishing acting careers aside, The Young Raps seem to be getting bigger and better since their 2007 inception and 2010 full-length album Everything Vibrates.

They have previously been described as “Californian Garage Rock,” but I find the whole “Garage Rock Revival” sub-genre to be vague and antiquated. The best way to describe The Young Rapscallion sound is “Chili-Peppers-meets-JEFF-the-Brotherhood-jam-session-rock.” So, essentially great throwback grunge rock with a twist of reggae riffs every so often.



This sound was defined and solidified for their 2012 EP it is what it is., which boosted the Rapscallions into the limelight, thus giving them the credibility they had worked so hard to gain over the five-year period. The EP holds five tracks of higher quality production and a sense of identity in their sound that had previously been foreshadowed in 2010’s Everything Vibrates. Whatever happened over the two years was a definite leap forward for the band and only increased the anticipation about what’s next.


As if the music alone wasn’t enough, the live performance was even better than I could have expected. Every second of each song was performed with such energy and raw enthusiasm that it took the audience goers a few minutes to realize what had just hit them. Vocalist Jonathan Sanders delivered song after song by crying his words out over the sounds of Taylor Messersmith’s guttural bass riffs, all the while jumping and falling around the stage, not missing a single beat.

There’s something to be said about Chris Mintz-Plasse’s drumming skills as well in that he’s ridiculously talented, and even though he could care less about proving himself to anyone, he did it anyway. Guitarist Nick Chamain deserves all the the praise, however, for his shredding solos that kept the energy of the room alive and the heads heads bobbing and thrashing around for the entirety of the set.

Playing new and old songs alike, the set didn’t dare slow down for a single second, keeping the electric vibes going throughout the entire show. At one point in the night, vocalist Sanders leaned over to me and asked, “Is it normal to have this kind of music in this city?” Just for the record Rapscallions, the answer is “yes,” but you almost took us for surprise for a little while.


In short, the four Californian babes of The Young Rapscallions really know how to put on a great live show and know a thing or two about playing great music. One thing is for sure: this band can only get better from here, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the near future. Do yourself a favor and pick up their records and see a show when they hit your town. You won’t regret it.

Photos: Michelle Sorrell

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