Smoking Popes have been making gentle, sweet, punk-influenced pop since the early 1990s. Composed at the core of brothers Matt, Josh and Eli Caterer, Smoking Popes momentarily broke up in 1999 when Josh formed Christian-rock band Duvall, but they reunited in 2005 and have since been playing through the Popes' old catalog at a string of shows in their hometown of Chicago.
Now, they're finally ready to hit the pavement and take their old favorites and new album, This Is Only a Test, on the road. And they won't be skipping Kansas City this time around -- they're bringing their Blink 182-meets-Sinatra sound to the Riot Room in Westport this Saturday.
With the reunion of the brothers Caterer and the addition of new drummer, Neil Hennessy, the Popes had to figure out how to craft a new sound that evoked early Popes-era punk but incorporated the band's new direction. The result is a concept album that focuses on teen love and life through the eyes of a high school boy. It may sound cheesy, but the Popes manage to present the story from a safe distance, focusing the lyrics on the bigger picture of life and love (and even suicide) and keeping the music tight and driven.
Catch the Smoking Popes with Action Figure and Brainbow this Saturday, April 2, at the Riot Room. The show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $10-$12. You can find more ticket information here.