Aftermath: A Lesson In Emotional Violence With Taking Back Sunday at House of Blues

"It's going to be so different without Fred," that's all he kept saying as we entered downtown. "Who?" was the response he got in return. "Fred...I can't pronounce his last name, but he was the lead guitarist, you can totally tell which songs he wrote in comparison to the others, they're more poppy."

From there he just went on, teaching a class to a formally interested student, emo 101 was the class. The lesson at hand, the art of Taking Back Sunday. With the touch of the play button on his iPod, class was called to session.

So, there was a beautiful girl that could make you so dizzy, it felt like you've been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. Classic tale, boy meets girl, loves her, happily ever after commences... right? According to the last five studio releases from Taking Back Sunday, this is a dream only meant for television and Twilight-obsessed teens' wet dreams. In the real world, she breaks your heart; you start a band, sell a couple thousand copies, and play to packed crowds that share your pain.

Starting out with old favorite "Cute Without the 'E'," the crowd at the House of Blues quickly got into the groove lead singer Adam Lazzara was trying to set. Waltzing around that stage with more swagger than one would have thought an emo singer could possess, Lazzara proved that to be an absolutely entertaining front man.

This band has seen its fair share of grievances through the years, airing their dirty laundry in the most white-trash of fashions - out on the lawn for all the neighbors to see and speculate. They still hold close to their alternative-rock roots; the backing music from Matthew Fazzi, guitarist Eddie Reyes, drummer Mark O'Connell and bassist/backup vocalist Matt Rubano is the best response to Lazzara's emotionally charged vocals. Multiple times during "What's It Feel Like to be a Ghost?" they would come to the front of the stage and play directly to the fans, keeping the energy up on their own.

Sticking closely to fan favorites with "You're So Last Summer" and "Set Phasers to Stun" and even new hits from their largely successful Louder Now such as "Make Damn Sure" and "Liar (It Takes One To Know One)," they played a show for the people that got them to their current Hot Topic superhero status. Not leaving out their newer friends, they included "Sink Into Me" and "Lonely Lonely," from their latest release New Again, the band's first album since the departure of guitarist Fred Mascherino.

These two singles highlight the inconsistency that fans have grown accustomed to over time. No TBS album sounds the same as the last, something that has worked to their advantage as every album has brought in a different group of fans.

Taking note of this, during "A Decade Under the Influence" it seemed most fans were so transfixed by the emotionally violent lyrics coming out of Lazzara's mouth they refused to keep their feet on the ground and took to the air. Jumping, crowd surfing, even a semi-decent attempt at moshing that looked closer to the real thing than just a shoving match at recess; whatever would get them that much closer to Lazzara.

At the end of the night, the only thing that could be said was "I can't believe they played 'My Blue Heaven' - that just made my week." "I know, I know," was all he could say, as they drove away and his student quickly became the teacher for the long car ride home.

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Kim Douglass
Contact: Kim Douglass