With Maxeen recently hopping from the tour's billing to start preparations on their next full-length, the crowd at Motion City Soundtrack's latest headlining tour was forced to suffer a small wave of relative crap opening. Driveby was terrible rock-tinged pop-punk who I'd seen only months prior, and the band apparently still can't finish a song. Each cut from their set just seemed to "end" with no regard for sensible structure, and it was the same here. Yet another with the ethos of "we're a shitty local act, embrace us!," the band tormented for us for twenty minutes before departing from the stage.
The Academy Is... then set themselves up for a performance of somewhat bland, mid-paced emo pop. Though the band seems to have finally grown out of their Taking Back Sunday phase, the lead singer's feminine actions carry Lazzara-like familiarity, and the grown accessibility of the songs really don't equate great improvement. They've taken small steps since the self-titled EP, but it's nothing to swoon over. The band's set list consisted of all songs but one from their forthcoming Fueled By Ramen debut, Almost Here, including "Checkmarks." "The Author" was the sole represenative from the EP played.
Limbeck, who'd just spent two and a half hours in the pouring rain on a backed up interstate and had made their entrance in the middle of the The Academy Is's set, then picked up the atmosphere a little. While nothing overwhelming, the band's alt-country power-pop rock-solos were a fairly entertaining half hour for the crowd...for some of them, anyway. I'm still convinced the right-stage guitarist is Jack Black's long-lost twin, or just likes to drink. I'm sure it's a little from Column A, a little from Column B. Anyway, the band mostly played tracks from Hi, Everything's Great, including in no particular order, "Silver Things," "The Sun Woke The Whole State," "Brand New Orange" [opener], their cozy take on MCS's "Perfect Teeth," "In Ohio On Some Steps" (where Jay from Tsunami Bomb came out to play some harmonica), and closed with "Honk And Wave," ending with a killer jam-out session that had not one, but two fake stoppages. Quite the rock.
I've never been much more than a casual appreciatator of Tsunami Bomb. This was my second time seeing them and I was still only familiar with maybe two songs, which, thinking about it off-handedly, were probably both from Warped Tour compilations of some sort. Regardless, the band puts on a pretty fun and energetic set. I couldn't for the life of me name every song played, but I know for sure "20 Going On...," "Roundabout," and "My Machete." The real treat of the night was several minutes away, though.
Though seemingly more subdued than past sets, Motion City Soundtrack still owned the night like slave traders. The slightly more laid-back outfit started out with Justin walking onto stage to play the first verse of "Back to the Beat," with the rest of the band coming on stage to finish it, and then go right into "Capital H." The band, as per the usual, played just about every song from I Am The Movie, including - but not limited to - in a very rough order, "Indoor Living," "Don't Call It A Comeback," "Boombox Generation," "Mary Without Sound," "Red Dress," "Perfect Teeth," "The Future Freaks Me Out," "A-OK," "Shiver," and fake closed with "My Favorite Accident." One new song they played, which I didn't catch the title of, was a fast, upbeat number á la "Don't Call It A Comeback," but with some crazy drum fills. Good stuff. They also threw in the full-band version of "When You're Around," the original of which appears on the split with Matchbook Romance (and will be on the upcoming album), and their cover of Limbeck's "The Sun Woke The Whole State" (its promise of being played preceded by enthusiastic "NOOOOOO!"s). The band is slowly starting to realize where their popularity has traveled, as Josh had to politely insist upon not crowd surfing, and Justin, upon seeing a trio of girls fighting over a sweaty towel Jesse had thrown into the crowd, chuckled, waving his hand gently for them to stop. Once he realized they wouldn't cease, he pointed to them during certain lyrics to one song; "Throwdown" if I'm not mistaken, the official closer in which Justin nodded towards the group with his foot and sang "they're all the same!"
So although MCS may have appeared a bit more domesticated than usual (though in their defense, they were halfway through the tour), if the new song is any indication, the band should receive a boost of corporate-energy drink-like vigor in the near future.