21 August 2009
Taking Back Sunday/Kinch/Raining and OK at Wells Fargo Arena 8/21/2009
Oh dear, in all of my time spent at metal and other more niche-market shows lately, I've forgotten what it's like to be at a show featuring a popular band, that normal people enjoy. Specifically, I forgot that the average, annoying normal person actually goes to concerts. Then of course it was at ASU to boot. Crowd aside though...
Raining and OK were the opener and the first of two local bands for the evening. Initially, I was writing this review in my head and it was quite negative. There was so much looping and electronic modification of the sound I was a bit upset this was supposed to be a rock band, rather than an electronic band. The latter half of the set, however, shifted to something a bit more standard, and being the judgmental person I am, I graded them down for sounding generic initially. Then I remembered they were local, and realized that considering that they weren't another terrible indie rock band, and in fact were a pretty average opener on say a national tour, I felt these guys weren't actually half bad. In fact I'd see them again, and given that they are local, I probably will.
Next the comedian Baron Vaughn came up between bands and his first set was not that good, really. I mean, I have a poor sense of humor, but only a few chuckles here and there out of the quite large crowd, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought so. Thankfully, his second set was much better (probably because he stopped playing safe and went for edgy...we're in college after all). Not the best comedian, but I'd see his latter set at a club.
Kinch was local band number two for the evening, and despite their popularity in the local scene, I'd never seen them before. Good choice on my part, as it turned out. This band is just plain not good. Someone needs to hit the whole of the Phoenix local music scene over the head (or maybe stop doing so, I'm not sure). The highlight of their set was the people dancing in the back, a group which eventually grew to probably over 100 people between the two sites...oh sheeple.
Taking Back Sunday was the headliner and the reason I bothered to go, but in hindsight I didn't think about that too carefully. Granted, it was a free show, so no complaints about wasted money, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea to realize that I only own two of this band's CDs and there is a reason for that. To be fair, there were one or two songs I wasn't intimately familiar with that they played and I liked a fair bit but given their preference in the set list to CDs I don't own, nor do I particularly like, I was a bit disappointed. The Tell All Your Friends and Louder Now songs were all good choices, though Tell All Your Friends could have been represented 100% more and I don't think anyone would have complained...even if I prefer the original vocals for those songs. Speaking of band members, I also feel obliged to point out that this band has three guitarists. Now, I'm not totally opposed to the idea of three guitarists...some bands can pull it off; for example, Iron Maiden. When you have rhythm and dueling soloists, or three-part harmonized guitar riffs, I can see the appeal in the third guitar played, but for a pop punk band? Overkill. Really. There's no way to really justify the use of three guitarists in any pop punk band, and the performance did nothing to argue against that point so I stick to it. Up until the title track from Tell All Your Friends was played, I was ready to walk away from the concert quite disappointed, but thanks to two dancing and energetic girls behind me, when that song came on the energy was infectious and kept with me the rest of the show, bringing up the overall quality tremendously. Taking Back Sunday live: saved by a couple of ebullient ladies.