Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Ears STILL hurt

I really missed rock music.

After picking up a friend, I drove down to Providence last night to see the All American Rejects / Shiny Toy Guns show at Lupo's. It began on an interesting note, as we needed someplace to park. There is a "parkade" next to Lupo's, and though I had parked there before, a sign informed me that it was for monthly customers only. I pulled in anyways, and went to talk to the man at the desk.

"Seriously?" he asked. "You come in here, you don't read the sign, you interrupt my dance moves, and you still want me to park you?" We smiled at him prettily. "Alright," he said. "But you gotta bust a move!" After a few seconds of car dancing, we paid ten bucks and got our tokens ("Remember to bang on the box if it doesn't take your token!"), parked, and headed to Lupo's. We didn't really feel like standing in the crush of people right against the stage, so we stood one step up from the floor, holding onto the metal bar to hold our spot. It was perfect - we could see over everyone's heads giving us a great view of the stage, and a tight hold on the bar kept the crowd from tossing us around.

The first band up was Vedera. Fronted by a tiny girl with an awesome voice, it was a truly great opener. They combined the normal rock guitars with some piano and really pretty vocals for a sound that was both bubbly and rocky. "Loving Ghosts" was a personal favorite, and was even on the free CD they gave out.

The second band was Ace Enders and A Million Different People. Not quite as good as Vedera, but much more typical rock music. Loud and full of energy, the crowd was stoked. It's not often that I've seen an audience get that excited over one of the openers. However, it was a pretty awesome crowd overall - excited and happy and low on the pushing and shoving. I only saw one scene-kid-hair-pulling fight, and there was no crazy pushing and shoving towards the stage. It was great. Anyways, Ace Enders (with an extra guitarist that spent half the set standing glumly on the side of the stage) really rocked and made great music. Rock music with a purpose and a melody and love. It made me smile.

Next up was Shiny Toy Guns. They recently (within the last year) replaced their female singer. I was apprehensive, but I shouldn't have been, because the new Sisely Treasure was still great, rocking out through the whole set. The male vocalist (Chad Petree) was also spectacular, with a voice that reaches up into notes so high you can't believe they're coming from his body (though I could have done without the light blue eye shadow. I'm all about boys in eyeliner, but this just looked silly). Sisely and Jeremy Dawson (who had an awesome haircut and a slightly accented voice) switched off keys and guitars and basses through some of the songs . "Le Disko" was good, though my personal favorite was "Ghost Town." Both songs had amazing energy, but "Ghost Town" made me want to go out and cause trouble.

Finally, the All American Rejects. Now, AAR has a special place in my heart. Way back in 2003, "Swing, Swing" was the first song I had ever downloaded from the internet. As such, it has been placed on every mp3 player I've ever owned, as well as quite a few CDs. I've never actually bought anything by AAR (oops) and have never downloaded anything else by them, but I felt that their singles and aura of general awesomeness were enough to warrant a show. Also, they've done a few music video with the amazing Marc Webb ("Gives You Hell" and "Move Along" most notably, the latter of which received all sorts of awards and praise).

They were good. They were loud. They put on a show. But the lead singer was most certainly messed up. It was awesome to watch him prance around the stage, arms flailing wildly and microphone cord spiraling around his body, but also sort of creepy. Unshaven and with wild eyes, Tyson Ritter was the crazy guy that you meet, when half of you wants to lick him and the other half wants get as far away as possible. "Hi, hey, come here, I'd like to talk to you, can I take you home, who are you, where are my pants, have you heard my song, wait, no come back!" It was, strange. At one point he pulled a random girl from the crowd and started dancing with her on stage. At another point he kind of writhed around on the floor. One of the guitarists (Nick Wheeler) on the other hand, looked like he was having SO MUCH FUN. All caps. He was smiling and being a rockstar and loving every second of it. It makes me super happy when bands actually enjoy playing.

In between Tyson rambling around the stage and making obscene comments, they played some songs. They were very pop rock and perfect. Tyson doesn't sound the same live as he does recorded, though I feel like that may have been due to his state of mind rather than his general singing ability. They played through their singles and hits, backed by flashing lights and adoring fans. Were they the most amazing music I'd ever seen? No. But they were fun and loud and put on a great show.

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