The Get Up Kids - Live At The Granada Theater (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Get Up Kids

Live At The Granada Theater (2005)


With four full-lengths, a healthy handful of EPs and 7 inches and a compilation of such under their belts -- as well as a few side projects resulting in a whole proverbial mess of albums -- there's so much that can be said about Kansas City, MO's Get Up Kids, and yet, upon the release of their curtain call album, very little comes to mind except the clichés deserving of any great band. Yes, they put out a promising debut that likely remains the favorite for many followers. Yes, they released what's widely considered one of -- if not the -- best albums of their time and genre. Yes, they went through the requisite "fan alienation" period. Yes, they reigned in a likely majority of those fans with a "return to form." So what to do now that the cycle has come full circle, essentially? Why, break up, of course. But before the history of the Get Up Kids can officially be laid to rest, we're given their first live album, a career-spanning collection of songs recorded early this year at a "tenth anniversary" party of sorts in Lawrence, KS.

Unsurprisingly, the set leans most heavily on the band's signature full-length, 1999's Something To Write Home About. The lame duck here is On A Wire, with even less contributions (2) than the Red Letter Day / Woodson combo album (3). With this sort of assumingly fan-pleasing approach, it also results in a fluid set -- there's seemingly cause for little complaint regarding set omissions and its like. Personally, the only songs I would've liked included are "Valentine," "Overdue," "Walking On A Wire," and maybe "Man Of Conviction." Otherwise, it seems like all the band's hits and cult favorites are thrown in, and are all achieved near-flawlessly, with the band pulling off enough change-ups -- random keyboard licks from James DeWees in "Woodson" and "Ten Minutes," f.e. -- throughout to let the listener know they're hearing a bit more than a remastered anthology.

Despite the perfect flow of the set, there's very little stage banter during the course of the disc; the only time we really hear anyone address the crowd -- save for a few brief song title introductions and several "thanks" -- is when Pryor jokes about "Woodson" not having a real song title as well as being the first song ever written by man. Though this should bode well to the "shut up and play!" crowd, for myself, I'm not expecting/desiring political tirades and dead baby jokes from the GUK, but to hear a few words every now and then may have increased the human quailty of the record.

It should be noted here that the band's older material seems to have new life breathed into them by their respective performances. Granted this is a likely case scenario when you figure the years of experience passed, but it's still a pleasure to hear the flawlessly epic execution of "Woodson," as well as Pryor's matured voice gracing the initial lines ("I found my place in the sun / lied my way there") of set opener "Coming Clean." The anthemic quailty of "No Love" is as strong as ever as well, and the emotional harmonies of "Shorty" are on par.

Both the choice and execution of "Is There A Way Out?" as a set, album, and ultimately, likely on-disc career closer, merits both praise and panning. Pryor sings the entire duration of the song under a level of distortion, his voice seeming awkwardly disconnected from the rest of the band. It's sort of fitting and yet even more depressing knowing the official status of the group, with Pryor potentially hinting at something greater as he sing's the title's words. Something like "Walking On A Wire" may not have provided for as much anaylsis, but would've given the somber mood more of a "beautifully depressive" connotation than its "ugly pessimism" feel here.

Regardless, Live At The Granada Theater is an apt summation of the relative diversity and mostly distinct style the band has developed over the course of a decade. It's the type of farewell that elicits all sorts of "RIPs" and "you'll be misseds," and all appropriate just the same.

Ten Minutes