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Better Than: Being upset that your Thanksgiving break is already over.
Every time Taking Back Sunday lead singer Adam Lazzara swung the microphone cord around his neck or climbed the balconies of Terminal 5 Saturday, I felt a pang of anxiety shoot up my spine. Between his stage antics and the thrash-dance heavy mosh pits forming across the main floor, the recklessness served as a reminder of what their breakthrough album Tell All Your Friends meant to suburban kids who were angry for no reason, or every reason, upon its release 10 years ago.
Recklessness not only defined parts of Lazzara’s performance, but it was a helpful theme of the album his band is celebrating the anniversary of with a tour entirely devoted to playing all its tracks. The night felt like a fitting tribute with every rage-filled chord and guttural scream being a perfect reproduction. The songs, like “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team),” are the types you have to scream along with, word-by-word, with a finger waving and pointing at nothing in the air but the mirror image of your life you’ve placed in every lyric, which is exactly what the crowd did. It’s a long-ride-to-the-mall type of album from start to finish for teenagers, and while we were seeing the band in the middle of a city where public transportation is king, it felt like the entire audience was reliving that type of memory together.
The scene Taking Back Sunday had been a part of has been continuously falling apart and building itself up again, and the band’s own ever-changing lineup over the last few years provides a reflection of that. While the band and its music meant something to angsty kids 10 years ago, it’s easy to believe this sentiment could’ve disintegrated and made their lyrics from “You’re So Last Summer” (“boys like you are a dime a dozen”) be the alt-rock version of life imitating art. Yes, those kids have grown up and gained a new set of problems, but oddly enough, they were standing by the sides of a new set of kids with the same problems they had 10 years ago like a cyclical, ageless Breakfast Club of sorts.
An encore wasn’t needed, albeit a bit missed by the attendees, at the end of the night. TBS had one purpose, and it was to relive those glory days of rowdy, emotion-driven suburban alt-rock that made Tell All Your Friends such an early-millennium success. Before charging into that bit of nostalgia, they began with what could have become an encore–a set of hits and fan favorites spanning their discography, including renditions of “MakeDamnSure” and “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” that turned into a messy chorus of fans screaming along. “El Paso” elicited a particularly aggressive pit, made even more intense by the flashing red light furiously flickering above the crowd.
With the original members who put together the Album of Honor a decade ago all brought together along with a guest appearance by Michelle DaRosa, formerly of Straylight Run and original background vocalist on some of the songs from Tell All Your Friends, doubts of their music’s relevance today were shed, but maybe that’s “only wishful thinkin’.”
Critical Bias: I had a mad case of suburban-kid-with-angst-for-no-reason syndrome back in the day.
Overheard: “LET’S GET WEIRD! LET’S GET WEIRD!” – an unprovoked but not totally unwelcome chant begun by the audience early on in the set.
Random Notebook Dump: I’m not sure why the majority of people I saw in the audience were wearing red flannel, but I’m a bit upset I hadn’t been a part of their super comfy group fashion statement.