Salt Lake City. June 18. 7:30 p.m. Standing in line outside the Motion City Soundtrack show:
“Municipal Waste is playing here on the 18th. What’s today?”
“How is that possible? I want to see Municipal Waste.”
“Shut up, Tori. We’re seeing Motion City Soundtrack.”
And with that we walked into Salt Lake City’s In the Venue, which was a much smaller room than I imagined a band like Motion City Soundtrack would be playing at this point in their career. Although I was a little sad at the thought of missing one of my favorite active metal bands, I was excited to see a band I loved in my early high school years that I had never gotten a chance to see. Just as we arrived, Bergen County, N.J.’s the Front Bottoms were taking the stage. These guys were great, their acoustic-based yet dancey punk rock, with half-spoken, half-sung vocals sounded a bit like a hybrid of Crime-era Against Me!, Andrew Jackson Jihad and newer Bomb the Music Industry! The group sounded much bigger than one would expect from a quick glance at their power trio setup, and they clearly had several fans in attendance, as proven by the number of stage-rushing singalongs seen throughout their short set. I was thoroughly impressed and made a mental note to check their music out after the show.
Once the Front Bottoms finished, my friends and I headed to the bar to grab a couple beers and escape the hot sweaty mess. The bar area was located in the middle of In the Venue, and the upstairs Club Sound, where the Municipal Waste show was taking place. It was fun to watch Municipal Waste fans interacting with Motion City Soundtrack fans. We headed upstairs for some fresh air, and managed to catch a few songs of Savannah, Ga.’s Black Tusk. The room they were playing to was much larger than the room Motion City Soundtrack was in, but the crowd was nearly non-existent. They played well however, and looked to be having a ton of fun. I kind of wanted to stay upstairs, but my friends dragged me back into the smaller room.
The Henry Clay People were finishing their set when we got back downstairs. Their brand of generic punk/pop rock didn’t leave me too impressed, especially coming after the spirited, energetic Front Bottoms set. Once they finished, I thought about running back upstairs to catch a bit of 3 Inches of Blood, but opted to stay put as the crowd was closing in, and there was no way I would be able to get anywhere close to back to my spot.
The buildup to Motion City Soundtrack was a more punk rock experience than I had anticipated, from the Menzingers and Alkaline Trio songs playing on the PA, to the sweaty bearded fellow in a Hot Water Music shirt standing next to me. The band took the stage to thunderous applause, but their choice of opening number (“Circuits and Wires” from the recently released Go) didn’t really get the crowd moving. Once they launched into “When You’re Around” however, the crowd exploded, myself included. I got a huge nostalgia rush, thought of all the good times I had in high school singing along to those first two albums, and headed straight for the pit, which was a little more intense than the music really called for, but tons of fun, nonetheless.
It seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the evening; the older the album, the bigger the crowd response. Songs from Go received polite applause, tracks from My Dinosaur Life and Even if it Kills Me saw some sing-alongs and dancing, but the tunes from Commit This to Memory, and especially I Am the Movie, threw the crowd into complete chaos.
The band sounded more or less just like they do on record, although the keyboards were mixed much lower, which was fine by me. Their keyboardist made up for it with tons of energy, even when he didn’t have anything to do. Too much energy perhaps, as it was kind of awkward to watch at points and he sort of reminded me of that guy from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones that just dances. Frontman Justin Pierre, decked out in a Sunny Day Real Estate t-shirt, was fun to watch, and I couldn’t help thinking the entire time that he looked like a live-action Milhouse Van Houten.
They ended up playing for about an hour, which was a shorter set than I expected, but I was satisfied. I found a new band that I really enjoyed, got to see a bit of a metal show and sang along to “The Future Freaks Me Out.” What more could I ask for? We walked out in time to hear Municipal Waste tearing it up, but I wasn’t as sad about missing them as I had been at the beginning of the evening.
Circuits and Wires
When You’re Around
Feel Like Rain
This is For Real
My Favorite Accident
The Worst is Yet to Come
A Lifeless Ordinary
Better Open the Door
Her Words Destroyed My Planet
Let’s Get Fucked Up and Die
Everything Is Alright
The Red Dress
The Future Freaks Me Out