Let me preface this by saying never again will I ever take this long of a road trip for a band. I live roughly 6 hours from Ann Arbor, MI, but some of my Chicagoan friends were interested in attending this show, and who am I to turn down an invitation to rock? Little did I know that I would essentially be driving or riding in a car from 1:45-10:15pm Tuesday night, then midnight-9am Wednesday morning. Things that factored into this incredibly long trip included being stuck in Chicago's rush hour [both evening *and* morning], incredibly terrible weather leaving town [including tornado warnings pretty much surrounding us], and our driver having outstanding speeding tickets in both Illinois and Indiana, thereby putting the kibosh on speeding until we got to the Michigan border.
Anyway, we finally arrived at the Blind Pig to hear applause coming from inside. Yep, after all of that driving, we missed opening band [and personal favs] Motion City Soundtrack. Luckily, a fellow pn.o user, Anthony Ciatti [known as CaptainCrunch here on the site] was in attendance, and sent the following report in about their performance:
"Motion City soundtrack took the stage and got the party started in the most powerful way. For those who don't know about Motion City Soundtrack, they are an up-beat rock band that fuses moog power with fast-paced guitar and great vocal stylings. When they are on stage you get the feeling that they really enjoy being up there, all five guys are totally into the music and the crowd feeds off of it. Bottom line, it's a dance party. They played a good portion of "I Am the Movie" and 'new' songs "Capital H" and "Autographs and Apologies" off the upcoming re-release of the album on Epitaph. They closed with "Cambridge" and everyone was rocking out to a great half-hour of music. I felt like I got my 10 bucks worth and the evening had barely even begun. Actually, seeing MCS live is worth a lot more than 10 measly dollars, they rock a lot more than 10 dollars should buy, even for an abbreviated set.
I had the chance to speak with guitarist Josh Cain before the show, and he was both excited and little nervous over the upcoming re-release of "I Am The Movie" on Epitaph. Before, the band had been selling CD's at shows and through mail order out of his apartment. Now they are on a solid label in Epitaph. He said he actually enjoys playing the same songs over and over every night, and doesn't dread touring off of basically the same album that they have been touring off of for almost a year already. When asked about the possible success that having the album on Epitaph will bring, Cain said "I'm not even thinking about it" and added that he would rather build a fanbase gradually rather than have a sudden smash-hit that would propel them into fame the same way that recent tourmates The All-American Rejects are experiencing. Speaking of the re-release, it will feature all of the songs from the original sans "1000 Paper Cranes", plus 3 new songs and "Capital H" from the split with Schatzi and will come out June 24th."
Okay, now back to me. I [and my three beautiful female companions - it's a perk of the job] settled in to watch Jonah and his Onelinedrawing perform for the audience. Now I had never actually heard or seen OLD before, but I am familiar with Jonah's other two bands, Far and New End Original. So I was pleasantly surprised to see him do covers of songs by both bands ["Mother Mary" and "Lukewarm," respectively]. Jonah also performed OLD stuff by himself as well as with a full band. His humor and witty way of stopping midsong to explain lyrics was full on tonight, and I really enjoyed his 45-minute set, which seemed to just fly by. Jonah further blew the minds of the audience by covering the Deftones classic "Be Quiet and Drive." It was good. I came away from his set saying to myself that I really need to see this guy again [and pick up some of his CDs, too].
And now, onto the main event. The Weakerthans took the small stage to virtually no fanfare and launched right into "Pamphleteer" which garnered many a cheer from the audience before kicking it into high gear with "Aside." From that point on, I was swept into a brilliant dance with John K. Samson that lasted for over an hour. I, like probably every other person in attendance, felt like I was the only one watching, seeing this amazing band play these wonderfully crafted songs strictly for my private enjoyment. The Weakerthans have that affect on people, I suppose.
The band's set, while covering plenty of tracks off "Left and Leaving" and even a few off "Fallow," contained a good handful of tracks off their upcoming album "Reconstruction Site." Tracks I remember them announcing include "Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call," "Plea From A Cat Named Virtue," "Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961)," and "Prescience Of Dawn" [which was billed as their "metal" song]. Overall, most of the newer stuff seems to have a much poppier slant and much of it was more upbeat, especially the single ["Our Retired Explorer"], but they all still contain Samson's eloquent lyricism, especially the song about the cat.
So overall, was it worth sitting seeing both the sunset and the subsequent sunrise to go to this show? Well, I dunno. Maybe had I gotten to see Motion City Soundtrack. As it stands right now, no more road trips to Ann Arbor, ever.
But the Weakerthans weren't playing anywhere closer, so you gotta do what you gotta do.
[this is out of order and incomplete - it's as best as I can remember 2 days later]
Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call [new song]
This Is A Fire Door Never Leave Open
Plea From A Cat Named Virtue [new song]
Left and Leaving
Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961) [new song]
None Of The Above
Prescience Of Dawn [new song]
Without Mythologies [end of set]
My Favorite Chords [encore]