Heading into the venue for this show, I noticed something strange. The show wasn't sold out. Last time TBS played this venue, it sold out. And since then, they've gotten onto MTV and the radio, so I figured this show would be a sure sellout. Oh well, it's still cool, I only payed one dollar extra for my advance ticket (thank god the 9:30 Club works with Tickets.com instead of Ticketmaster).
So Breaking Pangaea was the first band on. I'd seen them play before, on my college campus, and they were decent but not great. This time, they WERE great. The drummer rocked the shit out of the kit, and the bassist and guitarist jumped around like they were being attacked by tigers, but still played everything with precision and accuracy. Maybe they were just on tonight, but BP seems like the kind of band that's just better in a large club venue, with acoustics that match up with their sound and room onstage to rock out. Anyway, Breaking Pangaea has a new EP coming out in May, but they're currently selling it on tour, so if you see a show with them be sure to grab it. They played 2 songs from the EP, it was typical energetic BP style. Overall, great set.
Recover was up next. I'd heard great things about their live show. Unfortunately though, they just didn't do it for me. They opened up with "Bad Timing" which was a good choice. But right as that ended, they went into a kind of droning sound, with 3 or 4 songs in a row that all just sounded like one continuous boring song. They began to pick it up at the end though, and (despite my screams for "Sympathetic Sickness") rocked out with "My Only Cure" as a finisher. Overall, it wasn't a very good set, but I'm willing to give them another chance to impress me.
Following Recover was Long Island's own From Autumn To Ashes. Before they even started playing, these guys just looked mega-impressive. They had a big-ass black and red banner hanging behind them. All the bandmembers were in black long-sleeve silk buttondowns, except the drummer in a white tshirt and baseball cap. They coordinated the black and white guitars really well, plus the lead singer just naturally looks REALLY FUCKING SINISTER, and all in all the visual effect was really foreboding and sinister, as if Satan himself decided to play some whiny hardcore music for us. As far as the performance, FATA played all the favorites ("Reflections," "Cherry Kiss," etc) with the usual energy and screaming. The crowd responded really well, considering FATA had never played DC before. The show almost slid to a halt, though, when they did "Chloroform Perfume," which the crowd did not respond to at all. The end of their set was cut short, as the show was running a little late (more on this later). The venue was first telling FATA not to play the last song at all, but finally they agreed to let them play the first half of "Short Stories with Tragic Endings" (up to where the music dies down and the girl starts singing). Overall, really good performance from FATA, as usual.
Between sets, two interesting things happened. First of all, there was a fight in the crowd, with led to 5 or 6 people being thrown out. Dumbasses. Second of all, I had a nice little conversation with Christian McKnight, the man who basically runs the scene back on Long Island. He admitted to me that he's extorting Sportsplus (a new venue on LI) by threatening to blackball them if they put on shows for any promoters other than his company. I was going to debate him on it, but he ran back into the venue and pretended to be doing something. Final score: Elliot 1, Christian McKnight 0.
So finally Taking Back Sunday took the stage. They had some weird Chinese theme, with weird lamps and Chinese symbols hanging up. They came on and launched right into "Bike Scene" and then "Timberwolves at New Jersey" and the crowd went crazy. For those of you who haven't seen TBS live, what you get mostly is the guitarists jumping in place, the bassist just standing there, and the singer doing all sorts of mic-tossing and general theatrics. They basically played every song you'd expect them to play, and more (see set list below). At one point, they brought out a birthday cake, to celebrate the fact that it was the one-year anniversary of their album being released. Overall, they played about as well as you'd expect: If you went to the show liking TBS you would have liked them more after it, and if you went in hating TBS you would have hated them more after it.
Those of you who've been to Washington DC know that the Metro closes at midnight on weeknights. The 9:30 Club has almost always been perfect with ending shows in time to catch the last train. However, TBS just kept playing and playing, well past the scheduled end time of 11:35. Finally I decided I had to leave and miss (assuming they played it) my favorite TBS song, "You Know How I Do." Thankfully I thought to leave early, but most other kids were not so lucky, and 800 or so kids were stranded outside the Cardozo Metro stop looking for a cab or some alternate way to get home. I don't know if the blame for that belongs with the bands or the club, but someone fucked up.
Overall, good show. Breaking Pangaea and From Autumn To Ashes were awesome and I would recommend doing anything you can to see either of them live. Taking Back Sunday was rather good as well, and while Recover wasn't impressive tonight I would give them another chance.
TBS set list:
Timberwolves At New Jersey
Ballad Of Sal Villaneuva
(New Song #1)
There's No I In Team
Great Romances Of The 21st Century
(New Song #2)
You're So Last Summer
(New Song #3)
Ghost Man On Third
Your Own Disaster
(After this, they probably played "You Know How I Do" then finished with "Cute Without the E")