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Motion City Soundtrack / Set Your Goals: live in New Yorklive in New York (2010)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)
If you somehow experience the miracle of managing to avoid even the most minor of traffic delays and find an immediate parking spot in Manhattan on even a Wednesday night, it's still going to take you a minimum of 70 minutes to drive from central Long Island to said NYC borough. So when work locked .
If you somehow experience the miracle of managing to avoid even the most minor of traffic delays and find an immediate parking spot in Manhattan on even a Wednesday night, it's still going to take you a minimum of 70 minutes to drive from central Long Island to said NYC borough. So when work locked me up until 5:45 on Wednesday, I'd lost all hope in seeing the Swellers play at this show: They were scheduled for a piss-takingly early 6:30 slot. I then made the drive in with my sister and was miraculously graced with the aforementioned lack of traffic and parking difficulties (this is an incredible rarity); but we still walked into Irving Plaza 7:00 on the dot, and the band was already breaking down their equipment. They'd later tell me they played one of their best sets ever. Thanks, guys.
When I'd seen the band last, Wilson's voice--a common crutch for critics of the band--was too often piercing and out of key, but it seemed smoother and more deliberate here, thankfully. It was a punchy,
For those numerous guest vocalist spots on last year's This Will Be the Death of Us, guitarist Audelio Flores, Jr. filled the role of former Turmoil singer Jon Gula for heavy opener "Gaia Bleeds (Make Way for Man)"--dude sounded practically identical. Brooklyn resident and I Am the Avalanche frontman Vinnie Caruana provided his grit for the title track (though it would have been way more awesome for the band to reprise their Bamboozle Movielife set, even if just "I Hope You Die Soon").
Altogether, it made for a pretty punchy and very enjoyable set despite half the crowd parking in front whether they had any interest in the band or not. (I would have taken "Work in Progress" over most of the set too, granted.) It's been interesting watching SYG go from headlining a half-filled basement in Miller Place, Long Island for local hardcore kids to commanding a sizable Warped Tour-esque crowd--even in a direct support slot--in a 1000-cap venue in NYC five years later. All the while, they remain pretty grounded; I was exhausted just from watching Jordan calmly and amicably field conversation and autograph requests from a queue of fans at the band's merch table five minutes after the set ended.
Set list (8:00-8:34):
I still haven't heard the new one, My Dinosaur Life, but many of its songs played during this set admittedly sound promising (and reviews are singing its praises significantly). They're big, but not overdone; they're sincere, but not awkwardly. That sort of sounds like a fair sum-up of their discography, but it's still true.
And no matter what the band did play, they pretty much had the audience locked in. There was a steady wave of finger-points and an occasional crowd-surfer, and said audience seemed to pay attention to all that happened despite a rather straightforward set brushed up with little but between-song in-jokes--a lyrically improvised birthday song to a Josh Terry broke out just before "Pulp Fiction"--and cute in-band banter. Before the show began a box of kazoos sat by the stairs, with a piece of paper Scotch-taped to the side with a message encouraging everyone to pick them up. The band then called for the audience to use them during "Her Words Destroyed My Planet," although from where I was standing I didn't hear much.
MCS also seemed significantly toned down compared to those earlier days, at least in terms of energy and recklessness; the fact they didn't play "Don't Call It a Comeback" is probably testament to that. But I won't blame synth op Jesse Johnson for not jumping off his keyboard too often, if at all; his setup is probably a little more expensive than it was in 2003.
They certainly sedated I Am the Movie fans--like myself--early by throwing in two songs from that album almost immediately, although the only other song that would make the 18-song set would be "Perfect Teeth," which naturally got the quietest reception of the three. The head-bobbing, Moog-heavy "tell me that you're alright" closed the encore and easily had the biggest reaction.
That encore, by the way, began with a collegiate a capella group, Williams Octet (who reminded me of an awful lot of Emocapella, walking out on stage to perform "Fell in Love Without You." MCS vocalist/guitarist Justin Pierre joined the ensemble for the last vocal line or so, and then sung their praises, telling the audience the story of how the band discovered them and decided to bring them out. The performance mostly received cheers, but some jeers too--a fellow near me loudly informed them they were merely stand-ins for a certain hygienic cleansing product. MCS humbly followed them with two quick jams and the night was over before it was even a quarter after 10.
Set list (9:01-9:58):
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