Patrick Stump at Great Scott in Allston, MA - April 5, 2011
I hadn't been out since December. Thesis and responsibilities and life. So when they released more tickets for Patrick Stump's show, I was honestly torn. I'd have to cancel my office hour, I'd lose precious hours when I could be working, and I'd have to drive to Allston, which honestly induces more anxiety in me than anything else I can think of, including needles and public speaking, but maybe not bees.
But then I hit purchase and had to go.
The opener was Mystery Roar, and... well... I did not like it. Combine some disco, too much synth, and vocals from the villain from a public high school theater production and you're just about there. Add lots of hip thrusting to complete.
After their set and some stage setting up, the side door to the venue opened and a bunch of dudes carrying instruments walked in through the crowd.
Matt Rubano is a tiny dude.
The set up on stage and Rubano ended up being about four feet in front of me. The girls behind me were chattering about how he looked like a Pete Wentz body double.
"That's Matt Rubano," I turned and mentioned.
"Who?" one of the girls asked.
"Matt Rubano, of Taking Back Sunday."
"Oh," she said with a shake of her head, "I've never heard of them."
I think my jaw just about hit the floor. What rock have you been under? Regardless, he chatted with us for a bit about how they had gotten to Boston hours ago but couldn't get to the venue because everywhere is one way streets and no left turns and their GPS doesn't talk. This is why I hate Allston shows! They tuned their instruments and then things got a bit awkward. Rubano looked at the rest of the band members and asked if they knew where Patrick was. They didn't. He tried to subtly ask the sound dude, who wasn't getting it, so he asked right into the mic if he knew where Patrick was. The sound dude was not happy that he had just announced that to the crowd, but a few minutes later Stump made his entrance to an already rocking band.
Dressed in a suit and moon boots, I'm not sure I've seen anyone bounce so much on stage. That was one happy, excited dude. He started off with a small chunk of "Spotlight" before launching into "Porcelain" and it's a good sign when the crowd doesn't know many of the words but they're dancing along anyways. The energy was infectious, and his between song jokes and chatter were actually really funny. The thing about a venue that small, and a crowd that calm, is that you can literally just talk to the band between songs. People were asking questions, there was a small "that's what she said" break, and Patrick kept saying over and over how happy he was that we were there, how thankful he was that we were supporting his own music. It's a little R&B, a little funk, but mostly just him pouring himself out through held notes and crazy guitars, drums and keys and dancing. He literally put everything he has into this music and it's like his heart is flooding out over the edges of the stage.
Also, a sidenote about his absolutely gorgeous guitar. A white Gretsch with small silver stripes and details, and "Stumpomatic" printed on the head. As soon as it was put down on stage I wanted it. I love just about every Gretsch I've seen and this might even top Michael Guy Chislett's silver glitter Gretsch. They're just gorgeous.
He played a couple of covers too, including "Cupid's Chokehold" and "Kiss my Sass." The second, obviously, put a huge smile on my face, as I haven't been to a Cobra show in almost a year. The funny thing is that I have some sort of Pavlovian response to that song live: when the chorus of "Ohs" hits, everyone at a Cobra show throws an arm in the air and bounces it along with the beat. So the "Oh's" hit and the girl next to me and I threw our arms up before realizing that there were maybe only five people in the crowd grooving along with us.
He also did a cover of "Nothing Compares to You" which held the most uncomfortable crowd interaction I've felt in a long time. With just a piano and his voice, everyone was super quiet to politely listen along. Except for one girl, who was literally screaming at another girl in the crowd so hard that she was louder than the sound coming out of the speakers. Grow up.
More new music and an encore later, we were told to sing along to "Spotlight." The crowd knew the words, the bands was smiling and dancing and bouncing, and it was pretty fantastic.
"They might try to tell you how you can live your life, but don't forget it's your right to do whatever you like, 'cause you could be your own spotlight."
After months, my body wanted louder bass lines and rushing crowds and harder guitars. It wasn't the show I was craving, but it was good and fun and reminded me why I used to go out all the time, why I used to never hesitate over buying tickets or venturing out, and why even when the rest of the world's getting me down, there's a reason to just remember and believe in who I am.