The Get Up Kids, The Hotelier, The Josh Berwanger Band
September 15, 2015
Personal Bias: I want you to really think about this for a moment: What does your favorite album mean to you?
I ask because I have to admit up front that The Get Up Kids’ Something to Write Home About is my favorite album, and that fact will color every last word of this review. For me that album is music at its most perfect. It’s alchemical; it’s atomic. Those songs hold a place in my heart that few else do.
And because of this fact, I’ve seen this band over and over again. I’ve seen them put on shows that were the literal definition of the word sublime, and I’ve seen shows teeter on the edge of disaster. I flew to Chicago a year ago to hear them play Something live because I was tired of never getting to hear “The Company Dime” in person.
This kind of thing breeds a familiarity, and whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you.
Can you see a band too many times? Or, perhaps more important, what motivates us as music fans to go see certain acts multiple times? I’m not talking about bands that happen to keep getting booked at festivals you go to. I’m talking the bands you pay your hard-earned money to see, the bands you go out to see on a weeknight because you just can’t miss them.
With so much art in the world to experience and the law of diminishing returns being a thing, is it folly to go see a band five, six, seven times?
Of course not.
Your mileage may vary on The Get Up Kids, of course, but we all likely have a few bands that we bend over backwards to see, even if "bend over backwards" means staying out past 11 p.m., then going home to write a review before you go to bed knowing you have to be up in the morning, because these tweets aren’t going to tweet themselves.
Your definition of “bend over backwards” may vary too, of course.
It would make sense for familiarity to hurt the live-music experience worse – again with the diminishing returns – but there are some things that are just great to relive as often as you can. Singing the lyrics to “Holiday” out loud with a bunch of strangers is incredibly gratifying. Watching Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic needle each other the entire set is a delight as long as they don’t actually get into a fistfight (which is something I thought might happen at House of Blues a few years back). Hearing those James Dewees keyboard melodies big and loud in person is just magic.
And of course, things do change. Old songs you haven’t heard in a while come back. You get a little older and you appreciate certain songs a little more than you used to. Maybe you finally have someone to kind-of slow dance with to “I’ll Catch You.”
Chasing a nostalgia high can often be folly, but right now The Get Up Kids are pretty much exactly what someone who fell in love with ‘90s emo could want.
But consider who is writing this. No lie, I paid Matt Pryor to write a song for my girlfriend, thus setting a bar for gifts that is so impossibly high I’ll never reach it again.
I’m just a little biased, you see.
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So, How Was the Opener?: I probably would have loved The Hotelier if they were around 15 years ago.
The Crowd: The band said it best: like the ’90s, but with more alcohol and beards. Also, there were at least a few people I’ve run into at Saves the Tuesday.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Well, I had fun hanging out not really talking to you!”
Random Notebook Dump: Reggie and The Full Effect > The Get Up Kids