Too many people think "growing up" is the worst thing that could happen to them. But they forget that it's a process rendered through time and place, not an end result. And when a band comes along and reminds you of how you got where you are—of every great show you've seen, every drunken parking lot gathering, every illicit roadtrip, all in the span of 20 minutes—well, that's great pop punk, friends.
King Elephant is that band. It takes the 4/4, fast-as-hell formula, adds overdriven guitar and still leaves room for Joey Running Crane's ragged voice. The Missoula group's first album, Exhaust, recorded two years ago, shows a little anger and a subtle sadness, especially in the slow build of "Getaway Driver." They can be goofy too, like the "Keep Missoula Weird" chorus on the track of the same name.
But Exhaust isn't exactly indicative of the King Elephant of today. With the addition of Ethan J. Uhl on guitar and a national tour under its belt, there is more to the band than just a series of ripping chords and punchy bass. On their 7-inch split with Oregon band Shitty Weekend, and especially live, they've become a more cohesive party—grown up in the most fun way possible.
King Elephant plays Thu., Feb 21, and Thu., Feb. 28, at the VFW at 10 PM each night. $2.