Motion City Soundtrack’s Farewell Tour Visits Capital Region
By Jaran D’Elia-Chance
A recurring theme of break-up tours, anniversary tours, and reunion tours has emerged in the culture of modern touring artists. With the internet in a constant buzz on the potential of a My Chemical Romance reunion and Brand New’s stability in a constant state of uncertainty, a new player stepped up to the plate.
Just over three months ago Motion City Soundtrack revealed that they were going to tour one final time before parting ways. MCS’s So Long, Farewell tour started in early May and will continue on until mid-September, passing through Hawaii, the UK, Australia, and Japan. This Tuesday the tour passed through The Capital District’s very own Upstate Concert Hall. Accompanied by Rozwell Kid, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, and a surprise opener called “Sports.” not to be confused with Brooklyn’s SPORTS (who recently toured with Pinegrove) or Sports. (Naked All The Time LP).
The first act Sports. began playing promptly after the venue’s doors opened at 6:30 p.m. with absolutely no warning. Their name was not on the bill so after the expected gushing about playing with their heroes they thanked anyone who came out early to see all the openers. Showing up early is actually a lot to ask on a break-up tour of this scale, as most attendees are coming solely to see the headliner and show up just before the final set to save themselves the standing and waiting. The frontman, dressed in a short-sleeved pineapple button up, then proceeded to lead the trip through a moderately sized chunk of energetic, emo-revival-esque, late teen angst. The musical style strongly resembled that of their peers in Tiny Moving Parts with a frontman/lead guitarist combo letting out heartfelt yelps of emotion all while playing complex technical guitar parts. The band closed with a song about Magic the Gathering and later the frontman could be seen bouncing around and singing along to all three other bands.
After quickly setting up, the next band, Rozwell Kid, swiftly took the stage. Right away the band’s goofy demeanor was apparent. The frontman’s anti-jokes and sarcastic humor proved very enjoyable, keeping the crowd in a constant state of chuckles between songs. Despite their silliness and sarcasm once Rozwell Kid began playing it was plain to see that they take their music very seriously. With precisely synchronized guitar parts and intricate drumming, their style of distorted pop rock becomes very hard to resist. The wall of sound the two guitarists create resonates throughout the room creating a truly unique live experience unlike any recording. The easiest way to describe their sound would be a heavily distorted Weezer, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s something more than that, worth experiencing to understand.
The next band, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, were down two members and did not appear to be fully committed to the performance. The band’s lead guitarist is currently on tour with his solo project and the bassist was not present. The two remaining members and the two replacement members proceeded to play with little stage banter, chugging out song after song with minimal excitement. The sharp contrast in energy between the two bands was striking but the casual-fun lyrics and music remained the same. It would have been nice to see the band having more fun on stage but they nonetheless performed excellently.
Fourth and finally were Motion City Soundtrack, who before taking the stage dimmed the lights and blasted an entire Beastie Boys song. Upon the song’s conclusion frontman Justin Pierre took the stage alone amid Upstate Concert Hall’s excellent mood-setting lights, bursting out into song and quickly being joined by the rest of the band upon the song’s climax. As with any farewell or reunion tour, fans of all ages and walks of life were present including a toddler with custom headphones and a pregnant woman. Though unlike most other farewell tours this was not a sad goodbye, there were no sobbing fans, everyone in the room was happy. In fact it was pretty clear that everyone in the room, including those on stage, loved the music that was being played. All around the room people were singing along and smiling. The band took the stage around 9:00 p.m. and played for well over an hour, even returning for an encore to the crowd’s enthused chants of “USA!”
Although MCS’s departure wasn’t a shocking surprise, it was still a bummer. Fans came out for one final hurrah and seemed to have a great time. This tour drew both new and old fans, as MCS kindly provided exposure for some young up-and-coming acts. In the kindest way possible, here’s to not hearing from MCS for a good long while. Let them spend some time at home with friends and family and give this generation a break from the tired breakup/reunion cycle.