I Ordered French Fries, and Enjoyed My Onion Rings
Taking Back Sunday just kicked off a tour criss-crossing the nation, playing to sold-out crowds in city after city, and the response they are getting makes it feel like it’s 2004 again.
The first half of this tour features Jersey outfit Modern Chemistry, coming fresh off the drop of their first album Everything in Gold. Sunday’s own Lazzara produced their last E.P. and the match is a good one- the band sounds like the quieter moments of TBS’s early days, but they know how to go hard, and the crowd (who wanted it hard) needed no time to warm up to them. There were a number of people who were already familiar with the burgeoning band, and lead singer Zorzi’s extended family was even in attendance. The most striking thing about their performance was how they didn’t seem to be in it for the show. Playing music is something they seem to do for themselves -band members singing despite having no microphone, and taking the time to come together to just jam through a section of the song- and that was something refreshing to see on stage.
Special guest Every Time I Die graced the stage next, and if you’ve ever been to one of their shows you will understand when I say I was too busy trying to stay alive to pay proper attention and take notes. At the onset of the opening screams and guitar riffs, the majority of the crowd immediately turned into a giant pit and crowd surfers materialized out of thin air. I am positive I saved the life of the guy standing next to me (watch out for shoes at hardcore shows and for the love of god don’t flip the crowd surfers over when you’re pushing them to the front!). The metalcore stronghold kept the energy high and possibly drew just as many attendees as the headliner, never once faltering even as they stopped to praise the concert-goers and the other bands (giving a special shout-out to the Atlanta band scene). I wish I could say more about what they did on stage, but what I can say is that if given the opportunity you should definitely go- written word will never be able to convey the magic of the onion ring.
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As the second act left the stage, and staff cleared away the equipment making way for the headliner, the wait music piping through the venue speakers (Michael Jackson) taunted the crowd with refrains of they don’t really care about us and it felt true as they took forever to set everything in order. The crowd was already amped up, and they grew testier as our wait time stretched- I saw more than one fight break out, and this was after Every Time I Die was over. Finally, the torture ended and the band opened up with the title track of last year’s release Tidal Wave. Those in attendance seemed to split evenly between old fans and new fans and all around fans. While the energy didn’t quite reach the peak set by the previous act, there was plenty of dancing and surfing and gate rushing. The setlist spanned the ages of the seven(!) album life the band has so far enjoyed, and Lazzara himself was astonished at the reception, conveying his amazement that we still wanted to hear him sing. His signature microphone acrobatics were in top form, and despite a brief moment of technical difficulty where we lost all sound (which the band gleefully proclaimed was “not their department”) the set went off without a hitch. The banter was right, the lighting was right, and the band was synchronous in their performance. They were delightfully self-aware and tongue in cheek when discussing the notion of an encore (which we got) and their set ended the same way it began- a giant confetti cannon blast showering the crowd with blue and white. When the dust cleared, they were gone and we were left with just ourselves and the ringing in our ears.