Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taking Back Sunday & All-American Rejects with Special Guests Anberlin

Taking Back Sunday & All-American Rejects
with Special Guests Anberlin

November 16, 2009
Patriot Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

This was a strange show - it's hard to figure out who is going to headline when the All-American Rejects are hypothetically the bigger band. (Why, I'll never know.) Once inside, Anberlin's banner hangs as the stage backdrop. Fine, we knew Anberlin would be first. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), we can see the blue-and-red backdrop that Taking Back Sunday are using on this tour hanging behind it.

We're barricade - we're not worried about whether we're going to have to fight our way up before TBS, or wait until after the kidlets there to see AAR leave and make a break for the gate. Whatever.

Anberlin! Man, I kind of love Anberlin. Please note that their drummer has total Flock of Seagulls hair and that is kind of excellent. Their singer, Stephen Christian, is the silly kind of boy who comes out on stage in a coat. A cute coat, though, I kind of wanted it for myself. (This says nothing for Christian's style, I suppose.)

Last time I saw Anberlin, it was at The Worst Venue Ever, and the sound was shitty. They were good that night, but hearing them with decent sound was even better. I wish more people had been into them, because they're a great band and they deserve to have people into them. Also, they're wholesome. According to M, who was my partner-in-crime that evening, they were like fluffy bunnies. Why is this important?

Because the All-American Rejects are exactly the opposite.

They have stuff. All of us were laboring under the delusion that TBS would be playing second, and that we wouldn't have to stick it out in the pit for AAR. Then they started scattering these light rigs all over the stage. Don't get me wrong, the light rigs were cool, but TBS are an awesome band, and I knew then that they were NOT to be the next band on stage because they don't need light rigs to be awesome.

The All-American Rejects need the light rigs to make their glitter sparkle. Oh yes. Tyson Ritter, bassist and mouthpiece, comes out on stage, shirtless, tiny jeans, his upper body and face covered in silver glitter. He is a horrifying crotch grabbing, foul-mouthed heathen. I swear to everything that AAR were not like this when I saw them before (nearly four years ago).

It was not pleasant. I enjoy their music in a vague way where I don't change the station if I hear it, and where I bought Move Along when it first came out... whenever that was, back in 2005, perhaps (I saw them in March 06, and I feel like I had the album then, and I am too lazy to actually research that because it's a complete digression and I don't care).

So there were two great things about AAR, in all the yelling about sausage parties and the parts between ones legs and the cursing and generally being an egotistical dickbag (wow, I'm not angry about it at all).

I had already figured out that TBS were not about to play when they started lowering the Anberlin-and-TBS banners to reveal the little AAR light thing. The group of TBS-Bros behind me (you know, TBS-Bros - the bros that show up in their popped collar shirts and are gay for Taking Back Sunday - you will see them at every single TBS show you ever go to, and they're kind of great) catch sight of this and yell a chorus of "NOOO!" and "SHIT!" They are as unenthusiastic about AAR as I was. (At one point, there was a crotch-grab-pelvic-thrust combination from Mr. Ritter, inducing the one directly behind me to yell 'OH GOD I'M GAY NOW' - they were hilarious.)

The other thing was Tyson Ritter invading the seats. He tried valiantly to get the mom section to stand up. The moms were not having it. Ritter proceeded to take matters into his own hands, making his way over and taking a seat, sending hoardes of little girls scrambling to be close to him.

(He came back, walked the barricade, and the girl behind me was trying to touch him. She couldn't. I could. I stuck two fingers out, swiped, and rubbed FILTHY DISGUSTING GLITTER ALL OVER EVERYONE AROUND ME. Then I went for an STD panel in the morning.)

A similar situation occurred once Taking Back Sunday finally took the stage, with Preacher Adam (TM - SHAI) threatening to invade the same section of bleachers. The difference is that they took Preacher Adam more seriously than they did Ritter. Maybe it's because he doesn't look like Skeletor? Wasn't covered in glitter? Stomped his foot as he said it?

Anyway, Taking Back Sunday were in fine form when they finally took the stage. Or at least, Preacher Adam was, because poor Matt Fazzi is still in a walking boot and Eddie Reyes had Twittered (@EddieBackSunday) about a chest cold. But Preacher Adam? Swinging his microphone like his life depended on it. Maybe not his best plan ever, since he dropped it (!) and maybe, possibly, hit himself in the face with it (maybe twice - according to M).

If you've never seen Taking Back Sunday, it's hard to explain the experience. Because no, maybe Preacher Adam doesn't sound that great in person (he's like an acquired taste, seriously), but he struts around like he owns the place, slings his microphone everywhere, and is generally pretty fucking awesome to watch.

Now, can anyone explain to me why Anberlin and TBS have lowered themselves to tour with AAR? It was like a poop sandwich - really awesome bread, but crap in the middle.

Yeah, I said it. Anberlin were awesome. TBS were awesome. I'm almost glad I'm not going to the two Oklahoma shows because I doubt that I could handle two doses of Tyson Ritter back to back.

The only complaint I have that isn't regarding AAR? TBS played a fairly short set. For them, I mean. It was more like the set you can hear on the Bamboozle 2009 CD rather than a real TBS headlining set. Memorably, they started with "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)," and didn't play "Catholic Knees" or "New Again." Sadly, they also didn't play "Everything Must Go," but they switched it up and played "My Blue Heaven" instead - which was funny, because Preacher Adam said they didn't play the song - I've seen them play it before. You're not fooling me, Preacher Adam. It was nice, though.

So, could've been longer, could've not had AAR, or TBS could've played second so I wouldn't've had to have been made so uncomfortable by Tyson Ritter... But a good show.

A word of advice, though: watch Nick Wheeler or Mike Kennerty (both on guitar) during AAR's if you're going to any of these shows. They're inoffensive and you won't see their buttcracks.