It blows my mind to think that at 24 I am over the hill. But, going to a show like Taking Back Sunday on Long Island proved it. From what I could tell, the average age of the crowd was lurking around 14 years old. 14! The only fact that brought me some solace was that my date was two years older than me, so imagine how she felt …
It is a phenomenon that I can't quite explain. The recent wave of emocore, post hardcore, mallcore, whatever you call it, has seemed to have only grasped the attention of the emotional adolescents. It is a shame, because the concepts that run throughout the music – heartbreak, self-confidence and having fun – should appeal to most people under 40 … ok, maybe 30.
Unfortunately, unlike most the kids, us old folks were uncomfortable in the oppressive heat of the venue. Despite sub-zero temperatures outside, the exhibition hall at SportsPlus became a sauna as the night went on. For those who have never heard of SportsPlus, it is a multifunction amusement center with an ice rink, bowling alley, game room, bar and exhibition hall. To keep costs down in the building, the owners used aluminum siding as the major component of the walls. Aluminum is not a good thing for a venue that hosts big shows. Not only does it trap the heat generated by the hundreds of kids, it also does terrible things with the sound. Every band that graced the stage this evening unfortunately fell prey to it.
Opener Three Years Older played a short set of just-out-of-the-basement emocore that was killed by the acoustics. The lead singer, whose name I did not catch, was a big boy that lost his wind quickly and sweated like a virgin on his first date. The most enjoyable thing about their set was when the portly fellow stopped to move the mic “so you can see me better”.
With expectations for the following bands totally trashed, I was blown away by the next band, Dearly Departed. A post-grunge rock group, DD played a really good set, with quality vocals and a tight sound. While the songs were a bit formulaic, the band grasped the crowd well, and quickly sold out of their debut cd.
Riding the high from the pleasant surprise, I tried not to let the next two bands bring me down too much. The Goodwill came on immediately after DD and proved to be a poor copy of New Found Glory. Breaking Pangaea were the last member of the evening's under card. The trio played a tiring, too-long set of straight up emo rock that did nothing for me. Some of the kids seemed to dig it, but whatever – they should just pick up some old Weezer.
Before Taking Back Sunday took the stage some kid took to the stage to plead for his anti-corporate cause. While this would normally only bring me minor angst, he had the nerve to say it was 'punk' for these kids to stand up for his tree-hugging, anti-big business rhetoric. Neither he, nor any of the children present, have any idea of what punk was, and for them to think that by being part of this causehead nonsense was being punk is an insult to those who defined it in the '70s and early '80s. The same kids that yelled to agree with him were also all wearing the same t-shirts of other bands-of-the-moment brought to their attention by corporate America like Thursday, Midtown, Movielife and Starting Line. Enough of that, so my mood was soured faster than a bowl of milk in the heat and humidity that filled the place.
Thankfully, Taking Back Sunday quickly took the stage and ripped into their song library. Playing their first show on Long Island since the summer, the native sons faithfully recreated every song off of their debut Tell All Your Friends. Just like many bands in emo, TBS's music lends well to sing-alongs and that is just what the crowd did, belting out the songs along with the band. After ripping into a bootlegger, TBS played some of their earlier stuff that made their demo but were not included on TAYF. With a two-song encore of “The Blue Channel” and “Cute Without The E“, TBS wrapped up a warm evening in the midst of a freezing Long Island winter.
Please excuse me now while I go take a nap. All of this writing has tired out my old bones.