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Punk rock retirement: MxPx packs Wasted Space for drummer sendoff

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MxPx performs at Wasted Space on Sunday, July 18, 2010
Photo: April Corbin

It's only minutes before MxPx takes the stage at Wasted Space, but the crowd at this sold-out show is beyond restless. Fans in the front row are trying to interpret the initials at the end of the setlist — obviously, the songs to be played during the encore.

MxPx at Wasted Space

"P.R.S. is obviously 'Punk Rock Show.' They always end with that," says one fan, who's stuck on S.W. A nearby fan pulls out his smart phone and Googles a list of song titles. "Are you cheating?" someone asks him. "Yes," he replies without shame. Knowing beforehand is just that important.

Tonight is not about surprises. Indeed, it seems the majority of attendees have seen the 18-year-old pop-punk band multiple times — some dozen of times. Many have flown or driven to Vegas from other states and countries just to be a part of this memorable affair. It's the last concert for drummer Yuri Ruley, who has decided after 18 years to retire from touring and get a steady job so he can spend more time with his family.

To commemorate the evening, MxPx performs Life in General in its entirety — something they've never done before. It's a nod to the album that brought them most of their fans, one appreciated by the packed house, whose excitement is nearly palpable and ready to explode. Lead singer Mike Herrera references local venue Huntridge Theatre, noting nostalgically, "That place had no rules," before cautioning the excited fans at Wasted Space to behave and not get escorted out the show.

A lot has changed since the rowdiness of that now-defunct all-ages venue. During "Responsibility," the now 33-year-old Herrera concedes, "I'm not sure how much longer I can sing this line: [I'm still young, and I'd like to stay that way.]"

Still, the passion is evident, and the group's as polished as a punk band can be. Though this is farewell, it isn't a funeral. Herrera and guitarist Tom Wisniewski will continue the band with another drummer, and Ruley is always welcome back. "We'll be back for a reunion tour, like The Who, when we're forty," Herrera jokes with the crowd.

"There is no such thing as retirement from punk rock."

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