Reviewed by: Clay Conger
Who Are They?
Interstate Rivals are a 3 piece punk/ska band from the DMV area that help to keep the mosh pit/bar scene alive and rocking. They originated in Beltsville, Maryland, where they, according the lead vocalist/bassist Jesse Hightower, “were formed from the dying embers of crappy bands…. messing around with chords and song fragments while chugging Molsons.” Originally dubbed “No Dice” and contain a horn section, the band members came and went until the finished product was the Interstate Rivals: Kevin Simonds on drums, Adam Weintrop on guitar, and the aforementioned Hightower on vocals and bass. A classic origin story for a fresh punk rock band.
Why Should They Be On Your Radar?
What makes Interstate Rivals unique is the sheer amount of sound they can muster with only three musicians. Most punk bands outfit themselves with at least four members (Nofx, Bad Religion, Rancid), while more ska groups have five or more to boost the horn section (Less Than Jake, Streetlight Manifesto). Yet even without horns, Interstate Rivals can boast all the aggression and catchiness you would need-and more. The instrumentation is tight, the energy consistent, and they also make creative use of the occasional cover song. Seeing them at Joe Squared in Baltimore, while drinking a Magic Hat #9 and listening to a ska version of “Twist and Shout”, was enough to exceed the expectations of any normal weeknight.
I’m Sold-Where Can I Catch Them Next?
Interstate Rivals are playing live venues, both in concert space and bars, and you’re mostly likely to catch them in Maryland and DC. Make sure to catch the arrival of their self released LP coming out this summer. In the meantime, you can listen to and buy their latest release, Elephant in the Room, along with finding out more information about upcoming shows at their official website.