Get Down With the Get Up Kids
The Kids Provide a Performance to Truly ‘Write Home About’By Phuong Nguyen and Xian Ke
The Get Up Kids
With Rocky Votolato and Recover
March 12, 6 p.m.
T he Get Up Kids performed a sold-out show at Axis, with Rocky Votolato and Recover as the opening acts, creating an eclectic sound ranging from heart-breaking acoustic to brain-numbing noise.
Rocky Votolato opened the show with an acoustic set of earnest, heart-tugging songs from his latest release, “Suicide Medicine.” For relatively unknown acts, it is both a blessing and a curse to be compared to existing popular acts. Votolato’s uncanny resemblance in both appearance and style to Chris Carraba of Dashboard Confessional will either haunt him or propel him to popularity. At one point, a member of the audience yelled “Dashboard,” to which Votolato replied, “Fuck you. ... Check the date on the albums, asshole.” Whatever the comparisons, Votolato’s emotional lyrics delivered in his slightly raspy voice gained him new fans that night.
When the four guys of Recover appeared on stage, it was as if the cast of “That 70s Show” had become rock musicians. The results probably would have been similarly grating on the ears. In contrast to the pop-folk style of Votolato, Recover had a metal-punk sound that at times was almost indiscernible from loud noise. The audience responded slightly more positively and even humored the lead singer when he propelled himself onto the crowd during one song. It’s likely though that at least some in the crowd were still recovering from blasted eardrums days after the show.
The Get Up Kids, five guys from Kansas City, MO, turned up on stage with beers in hand ready to rock and have a fun time. Getting the crowd going, they opened with “Coming Clean” and “Holiday,” tracks off of their first two albums. They then launched into “Man of Conviction,” off of their latest album, “Guilt Show.” Overall, the set was evenly split between the handful of albums that have been released, pleasing old and new fans alike. The pace of the show was also well-balanced. Ear-busting, throbbing songs were played whenever the crowd became too mellow from the more mid-tempo songs.
Contrary to their monicker, the Kids are actually all grown up, with most of the members in their late 20s. In the past few years, they have also matured musically. Straying from the high energy pop-punk sound of their youth as a band with the emo classic “Something To Write Home About,” they experimented with new styles emphasizing song-writing instead of guitar-rock, much to the dismay of older fans. At one point during the concert, guitarist/vocalist Jim Suptic mocked people’s unwillingness to change, proclaiming their out-of-tune guitars as providing a “punk” sound. Their progression in music style was evident in the set, a refreshing contrast to the monotony of the opening acts.
Surprisingly, songs from their new release were well received, but old songs were still the highlights of the night. “I’m a Loner Dottie, A Rebel” and a request from the audience, “Mass Pike,” were crowd pleasers. Legions of adolescent and college-age boys sang their hearts out and bounced along to lyrics with themes reminiscent of an age when love, loss, break-ups, and music were everything.
The Get Up Kids saved their more experimental songs to wind down the set, playing “Is There A Way Out,” a song about guilt and betrayal, which had an excessively long and mellow instrumental section. After putting the audience into a lull, the Kids rewarded and reenergized the crowd with their encore. They played the often-requested “Ten Minutes” last leaving the crowd buzzing and satisfied, while they left thinking “last night on the Mass Pike, I fell in love” with the Get Up Kids.