Having not yet gotten to experience live the majority of Boys Night Out's rather well done effort of last year, Trainwreck, getting to see them on headline a show at the agreeably sized Crazy Donkey club in Farmingdale, NY was a good opportunity, especially as I hadn't bothered with the tours they've supported as of late (Fall Out Boy, Armor for Sleep).
We showed up fashionably late, but in time for upstate New York's Just Surrender. I was glad the venue had TVs scattered about, because "Godzilla" was far more interesting than a band seemingly weaned on old Taking Back Sunday and Matchbook Romance records. I'll give 'em a few bits of leeway: They're certainly better live than on record, and the guitars are pretty heavy for the style of iffy nü-emo/post-hardcore they're doing. Still, the young singer/guitarist had that whine/nasal/angst combo style down to a 'T,' and I remember immediately hearing some lyric about heartbreak and cringing.
Ever since I heard Shakedown Tonight I've regarded Anterrabae as one of the better metalcore acts going, and their set here mostly affirmed that. It's evident they actually put some thought into some of their songs even while seemingly typical tough bark-anchored metal/hardcore styles run amok in them. Their new singer (ex-Kid Gorgeous) has a solid stage presence and carries the same type of delivery as the vocalist he replaced, so no complaints can really be filed in that department. They played a few from their forthcoming full-length, And Our Heart Beat in Our Fingertips, Without Reason, one of which had a breakdown that seemed a liiiiiittle excessive, but it's one of my few grievances after watching them (that and a "huh?" break in a song for the vocalist to exclaim "Surf's up, faggots!"). Amongst the cuts in the set were "How Joey Got His Groove Back," "Stay Moist," "Engage Catch Phrase" and "Nevertheless, She Was a Mess." Pretty solid and enjoyable.
The first action Boys Night Out performs on stage invovles front-man Connor Lovat-Fraser holding a megaphone to the mic and shouting the opening of Stone Temple Pilots' "Dead and Bloated." STP being my favorite "alternative rock" or what have you band of 1990s, and Lovat-Fraser absolutely nailing the part, it was AWESOME. Flat out. Not only that, it segued perfectly into "It's Dylan, You Know the Drill." Things were looking very promising for a band who would often disappoint me with 8-song headlining sets and playing songs from 2003's Make Yourself Sick that sounded slow and tired compared to the studio versions. Surprisingly, the band has corrected both these flaws -- their set was 55 minutes long, and said MYS songs were played at the same pace when written.
The band had also promised a plethora of older material for long-time fans on this tour, and they delivered just that. With years of touring and songwriting experience now behind them, the versions they played of "Where We Breathe," "Sketch Artist Composite," and "A Torrid Love Affair" weren't just efficient -- they were improved, noticeably the last of those 3; in the bridge where the movie clip from "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" is used, the band didn't bother playing it, instead using a beautiful, carefully constructed section of ambience to provide a pretty interlude between the start and finish, drummer Brian Southall showing off some talented stickwork as well.
The Trainwreck songs in particular were played with near absolute precision. Lovat-Fraser's vocals were a bit inaudible during his quieter parts, but everyone in the band had sufficient energy and still managed to play their parts right on. While that album is indeed a conceptual one, the individual songs sounded good -- and playing "Dreaming" and "Waking" back-to-back helped solve any of those potential issues, at least at one point. The manic "Purging" in particular was certainly a highlight.
With the recent departure of keyboardist Kara Dupuy, the band could have sounded empty, severely falling subject to a missing element, but they didn't seem to miss a beat, with those keyboards not missed at all.
I think if I had only one negative thing to say about the set, it'd be that after someone in the crowd yelled "'Danyeurism!,'" they teased us with the bass riff and sudden drum flailing only to let up after a second or 2. Dang.
With songs played spot on and a healthy balance of material from their catalog as well as their middle era finally being played at the fast pop-punk tempos they were meant to be played at, I can't recommend this tour enough to current or even currently alienated fans of Boys Night Out.
Set list (by album):
Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses EP
Make Yourself Sick
- Where We Breathe [closer]
- Sketch Artist Composite
- A Torrid Love Affair
- I Got Punched in the Nose for Sticking My Face in Other People's Business
- The First Time It Shouldn't Taste Like Blood
- It's Dylan, You Know the Drill [opener]
- The Subtleties That Make Mass Murderers Out of Otherwise Decent Human Beings
- Healing [?]