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The Ataris

The Ataris: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2009)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: Matt_WhelihanMatt Whelihan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Ataris were one of those bands in heavy rotation during my high school years. Their first three albums regularly tested the limits of the speakers in my mom's station wagon, and one of their songs always managed to make it on my mixes right between Millencolin and the Bouncing Souls. Despite my .


The Ataris were one of those bands in heavy rotation during my high school years. Their first three albums regularly tested the limits of the speakers in my mom's station wagon, and one of their songs always managed to make it on my mixes right between Millencolin and the Bouncing Souls. Despite my (dare I say it?) rabid fandom, however, I never managed to see the band live in my teenage days, and by the time So Long, Astoria dropped I was too busy cultivating my indie-rock-snob swagger to even care. So when I saw the Ataris would be playing at a bar as small as the place your friend's band plays once a month, I figured I'd see just how the aging pop-punkers were holding up. And, if the room packed full of 20-somethings was any indicator, I wasn't alone on my nostalgia trip.

The band opened with "Summer Wind Was Always Our Song" and "1*15*96" and if it wasn't for the beer in my hand and Kris Roe's growing bald spot, I would have sworn I was back in high school. The energy levels were high and Roe's voice was dead on. The only sign that the band's last release, 2007's over-indulgent, seven-piece-backed mess, Welcome the Night, was ever even produced was Roe's use of an atmosphere-adding delay pedal. In fact, no songs from the band's most-recent album, or their upcoming one, surfaced over the course of the set. Instead, the short performance consisted almost exclusively of cuts from Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits, and the band's shark-jumping, major-label debut, So Long, Astoria. It was the end of the show that yielded the most surprising set choices though.

After working their way through songs like "So Long Astoria," "Unopened Letter to the World," "In This Diary," "The Boys of Summer," "Your Boyfriend Sucks" and obligatory closer "San Dimas High School Football Rules," Kris Roe put down his guitar and put on his best Danzig as the group soldiered through four Misfits covers. Yes, you read that right. Roe informed the audience the band wanted to "practice" part of their upcoming Hoodwink Festival cover set, so we were treated to slightly-sloppy versions of "20 Eyes," "Skulls," "I Turned Into a Martian" and "Last Caress." Interesting? Yes. Show-closing material? Not really. To make things even more surreal, the lone hardcore kid in the crowd busted out some kung-fu moves in the pit. Kung-fu moves...in the pit...at an Ataris show... Wow.

Despite the strange ending, and the predominance of material from So Long, Astoria, my high school self was certainly fulfilled. Nostalgia does not always pay off (my encounter with a four-piece Saves the Day touring in support of In Reverie serves as a reminder), but the Ataris succeeded by keeping things simple and fan favorite-oriented.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
pinkpenguin (May 7, 2009)

i saw the ataris a few months ago and they closed with a cover of rise above, that was weird...

Cos (May 6, 2009)

Much as I didn't like The Ataris "mature" sound, I sympathize with bands in their predicament (Face to Face immediately comes to mind) who got tired of playing fast and simple song, only to have it all blow up in their face.

I'm still not sure which is worse. Seeing a band half-heartedly play songs you love, or never seeing that band again. But both is pretty damn sad.

Cos (May 6, 2009)

Chad-
My old roommate saw AFI do "I Wanna Mohawk" (it might have been "HS Football Hero") at the record release for "Black Sails". Davey told they crowd they never play that song--I'd be surprised if they've played it much since.

jeffrichey (May 6, 2009)

i don't care who's playing at the khyber. i'll hang out there any time.

ExtraCheesePizza (May 6, 2009)

A lot of shit talking about younger kids being there for a 21 show.

conduit (May 5, 2009)

People paying..to see The Ataris..in 2009...wow.

danpib08 (May 5, 2009)

Loads and loads of 15 year old kids were pumped

scorpiondeathlock (May 5, 2009)

it should be the law that they have to open AND close every show with "boys of summer" to symbolize their career.

Chadreligion (May 5, 2009)

I have never been an AFI fan, but I remember Davey Havok mentioning that they could never play songs like "Cereal Wars" and "I wanna be a highschool football hero" again, just out of sheer dignity.
I'm not saying that The Ataris old stuff is bad(the Blue skies record is solid, as is End Is Forever), but this is somewhere around his 30's and should not be singing about San Dimas and how much some chicks dude sucks.... especially if you have a bald spot, and none of the jailbait at the show your playing wants to fuck you.

SloaneDaley (May 5, 2009)

I saw them play Long Island late last year for a similar nostalgia trip and it was just bizarre. It was a super last-minute booking, so 90% of the draw (50 paid maybe?) were 13-16-year-olds that were friends of the crappy local openers. The pre-Astoria songs were barely recognized and the band covered "Rise Above" and "Hybrid Moments" to absolute zero response. Crowd was completely clueless. It was so weird. Some rando came up on Kris's offering and nailed the guitar parts for "San Dimas," though; that was cool.

wow that is exactly like what happened here too, it was me and handful of other 20 somethings and then all youngsters that were friends of the crappy opening bands.

Also Welcome The Night is a greatpop record.

ExtraCheesePizza (May 5, 2009)

I was at this, didn't recognize anything besides San Dimas and the Misfits covers but had a good time anyway.

miniblindbandit (May 5, 2009)

i'll be at one of their shows in three weeks...not to see them but i'll be there nonetheless.

inagreendase (May 5, 2009)

I saw them play Long Island late last year for a similar nostalgia trip and it was just bizarre. It was a super last-minute booking, so 90% of the draw (50 paid maybe?) were 13-16-year-olds that were friends of the crappy local openers. The pre-Astoria songs were barely recognized and the band covered "Rise Above" and "Hybrid Moments" to absolute zero response. Crowd was completely clueless. It was so weird. Some rando came up on Kris's offering and nailed the guitar parts for "San Dimas," though; that was cool.

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