Taking Back Sunday / The Starting Line/ The Reunion Show / Northstar - live in Washington, DC (Cover Artwork)

Taking Back Sunday / The Starting Line / The Reunion Show / Northstar

live in Washington, DC (2002)

live show

I was surprised when I found out that Taking Back Sunday was headlining a show at the cavernous 9:30 Club. Is TBS really that big already? Wasn't just a few months ago that they were the opening act on a tour that didn't even fill a third of the club? Well imagine my surprise when I called the club the day of the show about ticket availability, and was told that the show is going to sell out at the door. Amazing how quick bands can get huge these days.

The first band up was Northstar. These guys are from Alabama, as they kept reminding us of. These guys had a Movielife-style of pop-punk with hints of hardcore mixed in. Some good energy, but the songs weren't very catchy, and the crowd didn't get into it. They were satisfactory as an opening act, but absolutely unmemorable.

Next up was The Reunion Show. These guys seem to be following fellow Long Islanders Taking Back Sunday a lot (signing to Victory Records, replacing TBS on the Midtown tour, and now opening for them). These guys tore it up, rocking the 9:30 Club with their super-catchy power-pop. My only complaint would be that the guitarist/singer also plays the keyboard on the songs that require it, and since he can't do all three things at once, it takes some punch out of the songs. Aside from that, though, great, highly energetic performance.

Then came the Starting Line. First things first: The kids LOVE this band. When the TSL banner was unveiled, about 10 minutes before the start of their set, the cheering lasted practically until the band came onstage. And once they did, it was pandemonium. Highpoints of this set included "Saddest Girl Story" and their cover of "I'm Real," featuring guest vocals by the singers of Taking Back Sunday and the Sons Of Abraham. Musically, the band was tight and exciting. The singer, though, kind of brought the show down a bit. First of all, he can't hit those high notes live. Second, he has that goofy, "I'm just in a band to get chicks" stage presense. Third (this is relatively minor though), every time I've seen TSL live he's gone on and on about how this is the best show they've ever played. Newsflash, buddy: People who see you live more than once will begin to catch on to that. These few points aside, the Starting Line put on an energetic, fun, dare I say NFG-esque show.

We were then treated to a wonderful surprise. Expecting to see TBS walking onto the stage, we instead saw about 20 college-age males. It was Emo-Capella, a group from GWU, that sings a-capella covers of emo songs. They did their version of "Aside" by the Weakerthans and part of "Cute Without the E," before introducing the headliners.

And now it was time for Taking Back Sunday. They burst on stage with ferocity, and for the next 45 minutes it was emocore bliss for the crowd. By far, the biggest crowd reaction of the night was when we heard the opening chords of "Cute Without the E." Other highlights included "Great Romances of the 21st Century," "Timberwolves at NJ," and the encore performance of "There's No I In Team." These guys were pure energy from start to finish, and it was reflected in the manic crowd. This was my first time seeing TBS live, and from live videos I've seen, I was worried that the band goes so crazy live that it doesn't play the songs well. I'm glad to say I was proven wrong, as they managed to hit every chord, every note, every drumbeat, all while bouncing off the walls. Great show.

If you have any interest at all in Taking Back Sunday, do yourself a favor and get to one of their shows. You will not regret it. Just make sure you buy a ticket in advance though, or you'll be shit outa luck when it sells out.