Jelly Boyz and Open Letters
By Joe DeBonis
The littlest shows sometimes are the ones that last the longest in memories. When there is a personal connection with a band, especially a band that you love, seeing them play your anthems in front of you and for you in a small space can just be an extraordinary experience. Open Letters was that show for me.
Punk shows will forever be my favorite kinds of shows to go to, especially if I do not know any of the bands playing. When I can actually sing along with the bands though, then there is not a question in my mind where I would rather be. When I heard that Open Letters was coming all the way from Vancouver, Canada I was practically speechless. I didn’t even realize there was a chance for them to be touring the United States let alone making it all the way to New Mexico. In fact, the night of the show I wasn’t even sure it was going to happen. The show was publicized so poorly it almost felt like it wasn’t going to go down. Happen it did though, and me and Patch were there and stuck it through the one opening band from Albuquerque quite happily, just pleased that the show was actually going to happen.
The second band we saw was called Jelly Boyz, another group from Canada. There was just something about them from the instant they picked up their instruments that set them apart from the first band. Patch and me couldn’t figure it out, but they had some intangible that made them so much more talented and enjoyable to listen to. I personally believe the simple fact they were willing to drive all the way to New Mexico is what made them just have a different kind of energy than a couple of college kids strumming their guitars in Blink- 182 shirts (which is what the first band was). Jelly Boyz’s music was tight, great, fast paced punk songs that were easy to head bang to. Watching them play in front of less than 20 people with an energy that normally seems to be reserved for a crowd of at least 200 made me appreciate their music all the more. I respected the fact that they had a love of music so powerful, that no matter who was watching they still put on a good show. Patch and me talked to them after their performance and they said they were just impressed with the Gasworks in general. There was nothing like this in Vancouver they said, a nice little spot for under aged shows. They mentioned Breaking Bad of course when we asked what they thought of Albuquerque but really they just seemed like people I could see myself hanging out with and that made seeing them live so much cooler. Knowing there are people in Canada that seem so similar to me is just something I have ever experienced before.
Then Open Letters was up. I found myself extremely antsy at this point and couldn’t stand still at all. What I then experienced was easily the most intimate, emotional show I had been to in a long time. There was a grand total of me, my brother and one other guy there that were not in the traveling entourage of the bands but we all went as crazy as three guys can for the 30 minute set. It helped having the Jelly Boyz there to mosh around with us and lead us in the singing along with the lyrics, but even if it was just me and Open Letters I feel like they could have still put on an amazing show. Open Letters were just simply on another level than really any punk band I had seen at the Gasworks. It helped obviously that I knew all the choruses and was able to sing along, but Open Letters in my opinion is going to be the next big thing. They have the raw emotion, the musicianship and the energy to wow lots of people if only given the chance. I imagine seeing them live in Canada would be incredible, but just seeing them at the Gasworks was amazing for me. Simply, it just felt good to scream my head off with the people that made one of my favorite releases of 2013. It all happened so fast that just fathoming that I saw this band I only knew from bandcamp at the Gasworks made everything seem amplified. My personal connections with the album in the end were what made the show so fun, but the other factors from the high energy, tight sound and close atmosphere just combined together to be a memorable night.
I can’t wait until they come back to New Mexico, both Jelly Boyz and Open Letters, and I just wish them the best of luck in all their endeavors. I try my hardest to show bands they have love all over, especially in Albuquerque and whenever a band returns that I have seen, I feel like it was partly because of the love I showed. So I can only pray that they do come back, because I tried my hardest to show my love.