Live: Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, And The Academy Is… Sweat It Out At Terminal 5


Cobra Starship w/ Gym Class Heroes, The Academy Is…, Versa Emerge and A Rocket To The Moon
Terminal 5
Friday, September 9

Better than: Facing the Fashion Week crowds.

Fueled By Ramen—the label that brought its particular brand of emo to the MTV mainstream in the mid-aughts thanks to the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco—closed out its two-night 15th-anniversary celebration with a nostalgia trip. Night one of the celebration played host to the megasuccessful Paramore; on night two, which had a bill that served as a testament to the label’s ability to birth both stars and cult heroes, only the main floor of Terminal 5 was open to attendees. The cavernous venue was transformed into something more intimate, a venue that might have hosted the label’s bands played during their earliest days. But the way the night played out made clear that Fueled By Ramen has come a long way since its dorm-room beginnings.

First up was The Academy Is…, which gave its set over to its 2005 scene staple Almost Here. Hailing from Chicagoland (like Fueled By Ramen wunderkinds Fall Out Boy), the band evokes high school at its hardest, plumbing the depths of the emotions in such a way that rescued “emo” from its three-letter-word status. Every bit of energy frontman William Beckett poured into the crowd was returned tenfold, even when he began to mumble forgotten lyrics. But it was OK; the diehards in the audience, many who had made a pilgrimage to New York, filled in the gaps, and some of them—content to leave the FBR machine solidly in 2005—left after the band’s last chord rang out.

This allowed a whole new crowd to file into the back for the hip-hop-tinged act Gym Class Heroes, whose tight set progressed from their scene tribute “Taxi Driver” to their breakthrough hit “Cupid’s Chokehold” before winding down with their recent chart-toppers “Billionaire” and “Stereo Hearts.”

They were followed by Cobra Starship, whose high-energy set got the crowd dancing and only briefly slowed down for “The World Has Its Shine,” a relatively downtempo track that starts off with the declamatory lyric “I’m not one for love songs.” Gabe Saporta is a natural frontman, but the whole band got in on the act, chatting up the crowd like they were old friends, saying they were playing songs from their first album “for the old-school fans” and thanking those in attendance profusely for their support—of their band adnd of FBR as a collective—over the years. There was an attempt to break a world record for the most sunglasses worn indoors, and it somehow came off sweet instead of hokey thanks to Saporta’s charm—and perhaps because there’s no way to prove whether or not the record was broken.

“Snakes On A Plane,” the gimmicky earworm pegged to the Samuel L. Jackson movie of the same name, was Cobra’s 2007 entrée into the world; it has cameos from Beckett and Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy, both of whom returned to the stage to fulfill their duties during the night’s finale. (The Sounds’ Maja Iverson, the track’s fourth vocalist, was sadly absent.) The three bands had last toured together during the 2008 Warped Tour, and the camaraderie displayed onstage was reminiscent of sweaty parking-lot shows. Only this time out, there was a little bit more class and maturity on display; instead of spitting water into the audience, the boys doused the crowd with champagne.

Critical bias: Still sad that Cobra has stopped playing “It’s Warmer In The Basement,” their creepy kidnap-obsession jam from their first album.

Overheard: “I thought they were playing ‘Womanizer!'” If only.

Random notebook dump: You know that the scene has finally grown up when you don’t see a single offensive haircut all night at a Fueled By Ramen event.

Set lists:
The Academy Is …
Slow Down
The Phrase That Pays
Black Mamba
Skeptics And True Believers
Down And Out
Almost Here
Big Mess

Gym Class Heroes
Live A Little
Peace Sign / Index Down
Taxi Driver
Cupid’s Chokehold
Queen And I
Viva La White Girl
Guilty As Charged
Cookie Jar
Stereo Hearts

Cobra Starship
The City Is At War
Nice Guys Finish Last
Hot Mess
Kiss My Sass
Church of Hot Addiction
Hey Mr. DJ
The World Has Its Shine
Don’t Blame The World It’s The DJs Fault
You Make Me Feel… (feat. Sabi)
Good Girls Go Bad

Pleasure Ryland
Guilty Pleasure
Snakes On A Plane (feat. Travis McCoy and William Beckett)