In the seedy underbelly of the East Village, tickets always claim 6:45 doors; and shows never start before 9:00. We're one with it. So needless to say, mid-town traditions smacked us awares. Color us surprised. At Roseland Ballroom on 52nd Street, shows begin promptly.
Thus we missed Anberlin entirely.
I dig Anberlin. Such was the bummer.
First-string opener Mae took the stage just as we rolled into the venue. As they cranked through their set consisting of basically one very lengthy song, I got to thinking. I got to thinking that Mae's songsmithing beautifully fits into perfect musical singularity: that grand sausage of unidentifiable bands remembered as long as your average inner-ear infection.
Motion City Soundtrack exploded onto the stage. Lights, noise, flinging hair. The stage show kept your brain busy with snap crackle and pop, plus offered up a phantasmagoric backdrop for the bandmembers. Who vaguely reminded me of guys performing in front of their bedroom mirrors, making up banter on the fly and worrying not so much if actually made any sense. Desperately hoping their sister wouldn't fling open the door and find them in a compromising guitar hero pose which would be used for dastardly blackmail purposes until middle-age.
I give the show a rating of "entertaining," especially special because the boys were juiced to headline their biggest show to date. But here's the clutch thing. Although recognizable in a mix with other bands, MCS's formulaic songwriting overfloweth when played back-to-back.
Luckily, auxiliary action abounded when things dulled on stage. I enjoyed the chick fights, bald-headed bouncer heads popping up to knock moshpit crowd surfers off the stage, and the flailing skinny white shirtless dude getting locked down and dragged out by security.