The Get Up Kids - Live in Denver (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Get Up Kids

Live in Denver (2018)

live show

I’ve seen The Get Up Kids a lot of times, dating back to my high school days when my friends had just gotten me into them. Every time I see them these days, I snicker to think that I was there to see their “farewell tour” in 2005 at the Worcester Palladium in Massachusetts, and that I’ve seen them twice more since. Not so much of a “farewell” after all. Over the multiple times I’ve seen them, I’ve found that they’re always a consistently great live band. When sober. When drunk, all bets are off. But on this particular occasion, The Get Up Kids seemed to be fully in control of their faculties, and the only one who got a little too drunk was me.

After two utterly unremarkable openers (sorry to fans of The Casket Lottery), The Get Up Kids settled into a standard set of their old hits, completely ignoring the songs from the ever controversial There are Rules. The band shows their age, and they look nothing like the band I first saw at Lupos Heartbreak Hotel back in 10th grade, but that’s not a bad thing. Their maturity shows through in their look and their sound. Except James Dewees, of course, who always looks like he’s supposed to be playing in a hip-hop group in the next club over and accidentally wandered into the wrong band.

The set list was pretty standard: all the old hits with the four new tracks off of the new EP, Kicker, thrown in as well. Nothing deep from the vault was unearthed, none of the rarities from Eudora and certainly none of the covers. In all the times I have seen The Get Up Kids live, I have never once seen Matt Pryor make it through “Out of Reach” without screwing up the lyrics, and this time was no exception. He blamed it on a guy in the front row who he referred to as “Drunk guy at The Get Up Kids show,” referencing the title of a song by Dewees’s side project, Reggie and the Full Effect, and said that he was glad the guy was having a good time, but that he was singing loudly and out of key and throwing Pryor off.

Perhaps the Get Up Kids magic would still be there to someone who had not seen them half a dozen times before and venues all over the country. But what the whole set felt like to me was just standard. The standard songs played the standard way and producing standard results. Even their perennial tear jerker, “I’ll Catch You,” failed to even leave my eyes watering. Maybe they’re not in a rut as much as I am having seen them so many times, but this show didn’t evoke the joy of my first few times seeing them in high school, oh so long ago, and that was a huge disappointment to me.