Motion City Soundtrack

support Emery + Magentaline
author PP date 20/05/06 venue The Hifi Bar, Melbourne, AUS

Ahh, The Hi-Fi bar, one of the most perfectly shaped venues if you're looking for a place to just watch bands instead of moshing. The floor centre is lowered down a few steps leaving only a miniscule space for circle pits, while at the same time giving great opportunities to see the entire stage even if you stand on the 10th or 15th row. To my giant surprise Motion City Soundtrack couldn't sell out the venue tonight, even though their worry-free, ultra-happy keyboard induced pop punk fits the Australian culture perfectly. And if not that, with Emery supporting, this should be a must-attend gig to anyone who's ever set their foot into the realm of pop punk or emo/screamo genres.

The unknown Australian band Magentaline was to take the stage first. Their simple form of pop punk in the vein of Mxpx and Fall Out Boy had drawn some of their fans into attendance tonight, as the centre pit saw a handful of people dancing and singing along, giving big applauds song after song. Unfortunately, the rest of the crowd wasn't as friendly for the up-and-coming band. For even though they had a couple of killer hooks and memorable choruses, their stage show was appaling and apathetic to say the least. They resembled your usual pub cover band that just stands still on the stage by their mics not moving or engaging in their set in a meaningful, interesting manner. Aside from the couple of jumps back and forth on the stage, it seemed as if the quartet was nailed to the ground, and this alone made me wanna walk to the nearest bar and get trashed in order to get anything out of their set at all. They've definitely got potential in terms of song-writing, but when their liveshow is as boring as it was, people who are seeing them for the first time won't visit the merch stand to buy their cd or check them out once they reach their home computer later that night.

3

Emery, on the other hand, had improved vastly over their previous performance with Story Of The Year last week. Whether it was because the stage was ten times smaller and more intimate than last Saturday or that Motion City Soundtrack just brought on a better vibe to them, their stage show was some of the most amazing stuff I've witnessed in a long time. If it's possible to put 200% effort into your show, that's exactly what Emery were doing tonight. From the very moment they broke into their first song, guitars were flying everywhere, Toby inclined in odd dancing sequences, Josh was bashing the keyboard up and down and running around the stage like a madman, and the remainder of band were throwing their instruments back and forth, jumping up and down and bashing into each other mid song. To give a few examples of the lunacy on stage, I'll just name the fact that their keyboardist Josh attempted to smash his keyboard by waving it high in air, ran across the stage and took a jump from the bass-drum and landed on their guitarist Matt's head, about two metres above him! We would also witness him jumping a front-flip into the audience while screaming his parts in "Walls", being held up-right by members of the crowd, while still screaming upside down 4-5 metres away from the security barrier.

Other ridiculous stunts followed like Chopper jumping on Matts shoulders, playing bass for a few minutes while Matt was destroying through his guitar parts. But the strangest event of all was that Devin sung the first 5 or so songs, before finally taking the mic, pointing towards Toby and saying: "Now introducing Toby Morell, our lead singer". I don't know if they always do this, but at least on the album Toby sings 99% of the vocals as far as my ears can tell. However, it's amazing how similar Devin and Toby sound when it comes to singing live, albeit Toby is somewhat better at the clean passages. Regardless, the attention was constantly stolen by Josh's progressively more ridiculous stunts during the set. With regard to their setlist, they played pretty much everything you'd expect Emery to play ("Walls", "Fractions", "Studying Politics" among others), and curiously enough they played an HOUR long set. This has to be the first time i've seen the support band performing for this long. Their performance was so good and the crowd engaged themselves into their show so well, that I kept wondering if I had come to see an Emery headlining set and Motion City Soundtrack was to play somewhere else tonight.

Fortunately this wasn't the case, and it wasn't long before the opening notes of "Attractive Today" made their way through to the amps. Motion City Soundtrack treated us to a crystal-clear sound with easily-distinguishable vocals and ever-so-melodic keyboard passages we're used to from their two pop punk masterpieces. The band was also one of the most earnest bands I've ever seen. It was great to see the big smiles on Justin & co's faces during the songs, and their witty, joking commentary and discussion in between the songs.

Their set started in great pace with two of their best songs "Attractive Today" and "Better Open The Door". The crowd was moshing and singing along like there was no tomorrow. I had been previously tipped to keep a close eye of their keyboardist on the background, so I wisely followed the advice and didn't miss him standing on his hands on top of his keyboard early on during the set. I had secretly thought he'd keep doing that throughout the concert, but instead he just swinged his keyboard back and forth on the stand. The occasional outbursts of energy in songs like "My Favorite Accident", "Capital H" and "Everything Is Alright" were awesome and gave some contrast to Magentaline's mediocre performance earlier on. However, once we reached the slower songs like "Autographs & Apologies" I couldn't help but to feel a bit bored. Don't get me wrong, I love all of their songs to death, but after witnessing Emery shattering the stage apart on each and every song, the occasional slow-moments during Motion City's set just didn't do it for me.

Furthermore, their stage-lighting was one of the most annoying arrangements I've seen to date. Consisting 95% of red and only red, it made it impossible to take good quality photographs of the band, as everyone knows red light is the worst when it comes to taking pictures of moving objects. But aside from that, it took away the ultra-happy mood their songs otherwise possess. Had there been loads of green, yellow, bright-blue and bright-red colours combined, it would've been much more fitting for a band like them. Overall, their set would've felt a lot better if it wasn't for Emery playing only 5-10 minutes shorter than them, and being just several times more destructive on stage. There's no doubt about me buying a new ticket to see them live, as they were good, but just overshadowed by a better live band tonight.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Attractive Today
  • 2. Better Open The Door
  • 3. Capital H
  • 4. Boombox Generation
  • 5. Don't Call It A Comeback
  • 6. Make Out Kids
  • 7. Time Turn Fragile
  • 8. Autographs & Apologies
  • 9. My Favorite Accident
  • 10. Perfect Teeth
  • 11. Feel Like Rain
  • 12. Modern Chemistry
  • 13. Lgfuad
  • 14. Everything Is Alright
  • 15. Hold Me Down
  • ---Encore---
  • 16. The Future Freaks Me Out

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