For a band that hasn't released any good new material since I was in high school, The Ataris still pull off a fun live show. Early in the show, I found myself wondering if the band hadn't been out of practice for some songs, because although the songs sounded alright, in a genre like Pop Punk it's completely reasonable to expect the band to be perfectly, tight...the material is not hard.
It's not that every song was off or anything of that great of magnitude, but a few of the intros were a little disjoint (once the band synched they executed pretty flawlessly), but those little details were enough to introduce doubt in my mind early on as to how good the band was going to perform.
For a good portion of the show I was further towards the back as I'd arrived just as they were starting, and I suppose I've never been one at the back of the venue before, and so I've been a little blind to how little people in the back care about who's playing. No one's singing along, dancing, and most of them are talking to their friends, not listening to the music. I enjoyed the show much more when I moved closer to the stage.
The set list was everything it could ever want to be, all fan favorites/popular songs, and nothing obscure, which was perfect crowd targeting by the band...people were there for free, not everyone was a devoted fan. It's a little depressing that their most popular song is a Don Henley cover, and not even one of their originals, but when they played it people sure did get excited for the band. The most excited the crowd ever got until the last song in fact.
The encore for the band was quite interesting and a little unexpected from a Pop Punk band. The first two songs they played were a Misfits cover (song name eludes me currently) and Rise Above (Black Flag cover). While I am aware that many Pop Punk bands took influences from Hardcore Punk bands, the last thing I expect to see at The Ataris' show is Hardcore covers. Kris is also no Henry Rollins, so needless to say the songs weren't their best performances, but they were certainly interesting to see.
Last song of the show was San Dimas High School Football Rules, and for this, the band did several interesting things. Firstly, Kris gave up his guitar in order to sing right with the crowd at the barrier. Then he asked if anyone in the audience knew how to play the song. Then the next thing you know a kid named Logan is on stage with The Ataris playing their song (like I said, the songs are not hard, but this is still quite cool). Then the crowd goes nuts once the song starts and there's crowd surfing, moshing, jumping, the works. Quite a blowout finish to the set and the evening.