Thursday, July 17, 2014

Concert Review

New Politics, Paramore, & Fall Out Boy

In the past year, I've gone to more concerts than my entire life previously. But none have been as eventful, exciting, or heartfelt as Monumentour. If there's still a chance to go, get on it. You won't regret it. Read on for the review I gave it the next morning!

That was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Not that any of the others were insignificant in any way, because they were all part of the chain of concerts that got me to this point. But this one combined my recent love for New Politics with my old love for Paramore with my everlasting love and rekindling appreciation for the timeless beauty and grace that is Fall Out Boy.

Let’s start with New Politics. They opened for two of the most influential punk rock bands in history, but they did it so well. The guitarist threw his instrument into the air, the drummer absolutely killed it, and the singer somehow managed to embody the impressive and yet quirky art of New York street break dancing.

And he’s from Denmark.

But the best part? In the middle of the set, he got so pumped up by the amazing crowd that he ran off the stage, high fived people in our row, and then jumped up onto the chairs a row in front of us.

Like. What even.

So I not only touched the non-mic hand of the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, but I got to see him sing literally two feet in front of me. That was wild and amazing and a memory I will have for the rest of my life.

But it only gets better from there, if possible.

Paramore took the stage with a neon-clad and turquoise-haired Hayley Williams, a backup band, and a beautiful light bulb backdrop. Although I’d lost a little respect for them since they lost the Farro brothers, they gained most of it back tonight. They played almost half of Riot!, which equaled about half of their insanely long set. They played old songs, the really good songs that got everyone interested in their band, and that made me so happy. They didn’t compromise their set list with new songs that most old fans consider pop songs—they played the good stuff that all of the wayward souls in that audience needed. And they did it well. 

Although I still have some sour feelings about where the band is going and how almost sickly sweet Hayley was about following your dreams during her talking breaks, I do appreciate Paramore and all they’ve done for me and my own wayward soul. I realized during the opening strings of Misery Business that Paramore will forever be a part of shaping my childhood, and that I’m always going to be excited to hear them, no matter how many pop songs they write.

And then Fall Out Boy stormed the stage and changed my life all over again.

Similar to feelings about Paramore, recently I’ve felt as though Fall Out Boy changed when they came back from hiatus. But as they stood on stage and tore their instruments to shreds with talent and passion, I realized that they are the same punk rock kids from Chicago who played shows in basements and drew tattoos on with permanent marker. Pete said as much during his own incredibly sincere talking breaks. They are just four punk rock kids who chased a dream, and they are still doing a damn good job of playing punk rock music—no matter what it sounds like on a recorded track. And song by song, I fell in love with those four punk rock kids of Fall Out Boy all over again. They’re fantastic.

I think that’s the thing that hit me the most about tonight: no matter how much a track or a record might embody ‘pop music’ or a ‘sellout’, when it’s played live, everything becomes real again. Quite literally. A'int it Fun might top the whole of iTunes because it appeals to all sorts of music fans, and The Mighty Fall might feature a rap artist, but so what? Why is it a bad thing that these bands are attempting to expand their horizons and bring together different genres of music all in one gesture? Since when have I become that pretentious about my music taste that I would forgo a concert or album simply because I thought it was beneath me to like something so ‘mainstream’? As an anthropologist, I should know that such terms are relative.

All in all, I just want to come away from this review driving home one point: tonight, these bands reassured me that punk rock still exists. It’s still alive and well, despite an absence on the radio. It’s still in the hearts of fans and musicians alike, despite what might be playing on their iPods, favorite radio stations, or on their tracks. Talent is what makes a good song a good song, and I saw enough of that tonight to last me for the rest of my life. Tonight, my faith in music was restored.

Because as long as bands like Paramore and Fall Out Boy are touring with bands like New Politics and performing for crowds like the one I was standing in, punk rock will never die and music on a whole will be okay.

So thank you, New Politics, Paramore, and Fall Out Boy, for giving me not only that concert, but a little bit of peace of mind. Together, we can save Rock and Roll.

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