Live: The Get Up Kids

WAREHOUSE LIVE — 1/21/11: My best friend and I arrived anxious and late at Warehouse Live for The Get Up Kids show, right before the band released its new album, There Are Rules, which came out January 25. The band hails from Kansas City, Missouri, where they made music from 1997 through 2005 before taking a tragic hiatus that saddened fans around the world. But now they’ve returned, so fans everywhere can rejoice.

Steel Train, a New Jersey-based band with three albums released, led the way (after openers River City Extension, who we missed) with their somewhat muddled brand of energetic indie-rock. The multiple layers of vocals took precedence over the music, yet the band kept the crowd going with their upbeat feel. The members shared mics at times and made a stage performance that was clearly a joint effort. They worked together to hold everyone’s attention. Still, you could tell the audience, me included, was eager for the headlining band as Steel Train’s set continued, because the chatter rose with each song.

The Get Up Kids began their set without announcement and didn’t actually bother to introduce themselves until about five songs into their set. This lack of communication continued throughout the night, and we hardly heard a peep from anyone besides the rare comment from Matt Pryor or Jim Suptic when he played his solo song “Campfire Kansas,” the only honestly good song from On a Wire and which received a warm applause from the crowd.

Looking around, you could see fewer thick-glasses-plaid-shirt-clad teenagers in the audience than back in the day, since the band’s fans have grown up with them. The members of the band now sport wives and children, and the teenage angst of yesteryear cannot be recreated in their songwriting. The new material lacks the romantic sentiment and heartbreaking, memorable one-liners of the past. No more “I don’t want you to love me anymore” or “No need for reminding / You’re still all that matters to me” appear on this new album.

The tracks feel bass-heavy and less story-oriented, apologetic, and bitter. Suptic also sings lead more than usual, a welcome surprise. They’ve reverted to a more upbeat, punk-er sound with faster guitars but also make better use of the synthesizer than on the last few albums of the 2000s. In short, the Kids have grown into men who are less apt to complain about difficult girlfriends and more likely thankful to have made it thus far.

I give props to The Get Up Kids for knowing how to play a mixed set. It reeks of commercialism to me when a band remains so concerned with promoting a new album that they refuse to play the old tracks they know the fans want to hear. For this particular show, The Get Up Kids basically created a set list in which every other song they played was an old one, so the new ones were woven into the favorites, making it less awkward to incorporate their new sound.

Pryor’s passion emanated from within in the songs from Four Minute Mile, their first and most wrenching album. Songs like “Don’t Hate Me” and “Shorty” ripped up the stage and the floor, with everyone screaming along. All the diehard fans that have been there since the beginning anxiously awaited their opportunity to hear and be involved in the live recreation of these songs. It wasn’t as frightening and cult-like as a Dashboard Confessional show, but newer or less loyal fans definitely stuck out.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this band perform, know that Pryor’s voice sounds exactly the same from those speakers as it does from your car. His voice hasn’t been tinkered with in the studio to create such a yearning sound, and for the most part, he sings the words note-for-note how they are on the albums, something that remains my favorite part about the show. He stole the stage with his raw energy and emotion embedded in those songs, despite not moving around all that much. All the members stayed relatively still, but the music moved on its own.

I felt that it was fate for me to never see The Get Up Kids live, due to my past experiences when they’ve come to Houston, but I was lucky enough to experience their reunion show for the ten-year anniversary of Something to Write Home About in October of 2009. The show blew me away, so I looked forward to this one just as much, if not more.

I do prefer the acoustics at House of Blues over that of Warehouse Live, but they still put on a good show for what they had at their disposal. The venue likes to put on a light show behind whomever plays, but it can be so blinding and flashing at times that you almost don’t want to look at the stage; an unfortunate consequence for the bands up there. People nearby me both times I’ve gone to Warehouse Live have cracked jokes and squinted, so I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.

The Get Up Kids played a solid two hours. After cutting off their set at an hour and forty-five minutes, they returned to the stage with a four-song encore, with screams at Pryor’s statement that “We’re going to play some fast and angry songs.” At the end of the night, my stomach muscles hurt from singing so loudly over the music, a point I haven’t reached since choir camp in 8th grade. To anyone who still has that emo sweater hidden in the back of their closet, I’d wholeheartedly recommend seeing the band perform. END

Live review by . Live review posted Wednesday, February 9th, 2011. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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One Response to “Live: The Get Up Kids”

  1. Hope Eakes on July 8th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    How much would you charge for webdesign (not professional)?

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