Motion City Soundtrack/All-American Rejects/Northstar - live in Rockford (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Motion City Soundtrack / All-American Rejects / Northstar

live in Rockford (2002)

live show


I'm not quite sure how to get this through people's skulls, so I figure yelling is as good as anything.

So this tour was supposed to include the Reunion Show, but since they got added to a handful of Avail/Hey Mercedes dates, they had to change dates with this tour, playing instead in Rockford on the 20th. I was really worried, as TRS is really big here in Rockford [they've played here I think 4 times in the past 15 months], and none of the other three bands had ever even been inside Rockford's city limits. To make matters worse, the Ten Foot Pole/Bowling For Soup tour was stopping at the PIT Skatepark across town, and our scene is definitely not strong enough to support two shows. So who got the crowd?

This show did, by far.

The Divine Cup is a little coffee shop located in downtown Rockford, and it's main room for shows is very, very tiny and very, very poorly ventilated. When you pack in about 200 people plus 4 bands in there, the temperature rises to, oh, about 95 or so degrees. How would the bands handle it?

The first band were locals Cusack. Their sound is that emotional punk rock style that is all the rage these days - think Taking Back Sunday, the Ghost, and earlier Saves the Day. Unfortunately their set was plagued by false starts, broken strings, and a general lack of preparedness. They have huge potential, though, and don't be surprised if this band goes "straight to the top."

Next up are Triple Crown Records' newest signees, Northstar. They looked like fresh-faced young kids seeing the road for the first time, and it reflected in their sound. They were pretty nervous, but still put together a solid set of emotional pop-punk [think Brand New, Hot Rod Circuit, and Taking Back Sunday]. Their drummer and singer, their biggest faults on recording, both sounded exponentially better in a live setting. I listen to their debut album with even more disdain now, because I *know* the band can sound better. Alas.

Moving on, Dreamworks-via-Doghouse band the All-American Rejects took the "stage" next [I use that term loosely, as the band was pretty much wedged in between the back wall and the front of the crowd on some carpet]. They were the antithesis of Northstar's stage presence - cocky yet graceful, rockstarish yet humble, this band came to "rock Rockford" [good god, as if a band had never said *that* before in Rockford...]. They played a quick eight-song set, all off their debut album, and the crowd was rabid for more. This band had their shit down tight, playing with both a drum machine and a live drummer. Their brand of infectious pop-rock is going to, bluntly, blow the fuck up.

And now, the main event - Motion City Soundtrack. In case you forgot: MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK IS THE BEST UNSIGNED BAND IN AMERICA.

I just wanted to remind you. Anyway, this Minnesota 5-piece began their set with singer Justin's rendition "Back to the Beat," and the band never looked back for the next 45 minutes. Rocking through such oldies as "Capital H" [which, apparently, is being re-recorded for a split CD with Schatzi] as well as tons of stuff off their first proper full length, "I Am The Movie," MCS had the ever-growing crowd in the palm of their hands. As the temperature rose in the room, the band's energy increased with numbers like "Shiver," "Boombox Generation," and "Don't Call It A Comeback," and had the crowd in a complete singalong with "The Future Freaks Me Out." I don't know where all those people in the crowd came from [I know most of them weren't from Rockford], but their energy was incredible.

The band wrapped up their highly sweaty set with "Throwdown," an oldie that hadn't been played in a while. It sounded better than it does on recording, and my jaw dropped once more as the band took it even faster than usual, just blowing me away with their incredibly tight sound.

In a world where Weezer can have *two* tribute albums, a band as good as Motion City Soundtrack should have a record deal. Jump on their bandwagon now, kids, because it will happen sooner or later.