I was really looking forward to this show. I've been a fan of Yellowcard since PunkRocks.net turned me on to them last year, Allister is a long-standing hometown favorite, and HomeGrown is one of my favorite pop-punk bands.
Thanks to the wonderful Saturday night traffic on the north side of Chicago, we missed local pop-punkers Logans Loss who opened up the show. But, we made it just in time to see Yellowcard take the stage. They opened up with their rendition of the Star Wars theme music and then busted straight into some tracks off of their most recent album, One For the Kids (which I highly recommend for any pop-punk fans out there). These guys know how to entertain. You would have thought that their pants were on fire the way they were all jumping around on the stage. The crowd was even treated to a couple of back flips care of the violinist Sean. They sounded awesome, and the energy level was off the scale. What more could you ask for in a live performance? Periodically during the set, Yellowcard was joined by members of Allister and HomeGrown to help sing along. The new stuff they played sounded pretty good as well. No wonder why Capitol Records picked these guys up.
Next up was local heroes Allister. They immediately started to rock the place, charging right into a speedy version of Jimmy's Dreamgirl. They then continued on to play both new and older material. Unfortunately, I was distracted from the show when a fight broke out in front of me. This one asshole was standing on the edge of the pit, pushing and punching people in the pit as they would go by (don't you hate pricks like this?). I guess he pushed the wrong person. Both parties were kicked out of the show, but I hope that Mr. Pushy continued to get his ass beat outside. Anyways, I've seen Allister play 2 or 3 times in the past, but I never remember seeing them play with this much energy. All in all it was a pretty good set. They closed with a new song… didn't get the title, but the chorus went something like "We like the radio playing all night long, because the radio is playing all our favorite songs". Allister was pretty stoked, because they were receiving a ton of requests to play this song, yet they have never recorded it. It was a very good song, and it was so catchy that I am SURE that the song will get airplay when it is finally recorded, at least here in Chicago. If this is any indication of what their new album is going to sound like, then I am definitely going to pick it up. Again, members of the other bands came out and joined Allister during this song, which generated an awesome feeling that the crowd ate up.
Finally, HomeGrown took the stage. I must say that I was really disappointed. Granted I haven't seen them live in around 4 years, but in my opinion they sounded like shit. Maybe it was because their guitarist was hammered…I don't know. But, it just didn't sound like the HomeGrown I remembered. The sound was way too distorted, and they were playing very sloppy. Even the songs off of Act Your Age (which is one of my favorite pop-punk albums) sounded bad. Since they now only have one guitarist, he was trying to play both the lead guitar parts and the rhythm guitar parts of the older songs, which simply did not work. In my opinion, they need to find a new guitarist… fast. They also sort of reminded me of the old Blink. In other words, they spent half of their set time telling shitty jokes, a quarter of their set time fucking off, and the other quarter actually playing something. They did play some stuff off of the upcoming album. I wasn't too impressed. I'll probably download it (they were actually telling us that it was on the net now and that we should download it) before buying it… just to be safe. I actually felt like leaving half way through the set I was so disappointed…. but I stuck it out hoping it would get better. I also noticed that the crowd had drastically shrunk since Allister's set. I should have just left with the rest of them.
All in all, it was a fairly decent show. The great performances put on by Yellowcard and Allister greatly outweighed the disappointment of HomeGrown. However, the one thing that I really liked about this show was the camaraderie between bands. During each bands set, members from the other bands would come out and sing along. I feel that this really helped the crowd get into the show.