Chin Up Chin Up and the Appleseed Cast probably don't know what any of their audience members look like. Members of both bands kept their eyes shut for the majority of both sets, although the final effects were starkly contrasting.
Chin Up Chin Up's singer Jeremy Bolan looked awkward, and Greg Sharp was the only member to attempt banter with the audience, safely seated behind the keyboard. Surrogate bassist Marc Young (borrowed from the Appleseed Cast) hung towards the back. Guitarist Nathan Snydacker appeared to enjoy "Falcons And Vulcans," but the majority of Chin Up Chin Up's set seemed to be spent in awkward darkness. Perhaps the venue's setting was cause to the band's distress. Lovely Recordings sponsored the show for a release of a new issue of 20/20 Proof, a local Pittsburgh zine, and the show therefore had more of a gala vibe then anonymous concert. Many people were there to be seen, not necessarily for the bands.
Regardless, the Appleseed Cast handled their set with finesse and dexterity.
More importantly, the Appleseed Cast is the new Taking Back Sunday.
Wait. Remember being a cheesy teenager, standing at your favorite post-hardcore show, absolutely positive that Band X knew your most intimate moments, including your every heartbreak as well as your every triumph? And they were singing about it. To you. That's what the Appleseed Cast does now that you've outgrown your jelly bracelets and black hair dye.
At the risk of being cliché, their set emitted more emotion than LiveJournal. Christopher Crisci wailed the vocals, revealing maturity veiled on their albums. In fact, with their closed eyes, it was impossible to tell if, perhaps, they had become lost within their own music. But during "Innocent Vigilant Ordinary," bassist Marc Young (now playing his second consecutive set of the night) cracked a smile as spotlights were raised on the band. He knew that we knew what they meant.
They also revealed some of their newer material, to be released on their future album, which will hopefully be completed early in 2006. The new song had a spacier feel, although with slightly whinier vocals and a dangerous attraction to the generic alternative-rock pole. However, drummer Josh Baruth kept the sound leveled with an intense massacre on a drum kit numbering 10+ pieces, including a tambourine permanently affixed to the high-hat.
Vocally, they ended with Two Conversation's "Fight Song," but they concluded their set with a new, all-instrumental track, which they described as "crazy." Both Crisci and Aaron Pillar attached slides onto their guitars for this simply constructed orchestration including a fierce breakdown from Baruth. Although the sentiment and tone undoubtedly paid some homage to Explosions In The Sky, it was the most appropriate and effective way to end the powerfully cathartic set. No encore was played, and it was better kept that way as they left the audience feeling…that right feeling.
Although I've finally resolved that they aren't actually reading my journal, and that yes, my heartbreak is just like every other Myspacer's heartbreak, it's also viable that the Appleseed Cast has been there too. And they're singing about it to you, with or without words.