Here's a DVD of the Epitaph Tour of 2005, or as I like to refer to it, the “Take One for the Team Tour.” See, what this tour does is gathers together four bands that I’d never want to see touring with bands I like, so rather than them being scattered and interfering with other tours, they decided to just all go together -- Matchbook Romance, From First to Last, Scatter the Ashes, and Motion City Soundtrack .
Each band has four songs to show their stuff, all filmed on one stop at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. Scatter the Ashes was first up, and being that I had never heard the band before, they really did not make a terrific impression. The music is relatively forgettable, and the band’s stage presence leaves a lot to be desired. The singer never strays far from the mic stand, and the guitarists stays essentially stationary in each of their songs. The songs themselves aren’t bad, actually pretty varied, but being that this is a live DVD it’s the stage presence that’s most important, and there’s virtually none to speak of.
From First to Last follows, and what they make up for in stage presence is lost in song structure and haircuts. I’m surprised their parents let them out of the house looking like they do, to be honest. All four of their songs sound relatively similar, and they’re derivative enough of other music as it is, without actually ripping themselves off.
Motion City Soundtrack is this DVD’s one bright spot, as not only do they play their older material, but they play it with more energy than anyone else on this DVD. Their catchy brand of music translates well to the stage, even if the moog player does go a little more overboard than a moog player should as far as thrashing wildly about. Throughout their set, they play “Don’t Call It a Comeback,” “Modern Chemistry,” and “Boombox Generation” all with reckless abandon, and the singer sounds surprisingly solid in the live setting.
Unfortunately, this momentum is not kept up by Matchbook Romance. Another band with plenty of energy, and no decent tunes to fuel it. The songs don’t stray far from the recorded sound, but the problem is they were bad songs on record too, and playing live isn’t going to improve that any.
To make matters better, there’s a decent amount of bonus material included here. Some music videos, interviews, and an extra live song performance from every band, but again, you’d have to really be into these bands to care enough to watch their videos or watch them being interviews.
The only scenario worthy of picking this DVD up is being a fan of all four bands, if not, you’ll want to stay away.