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ISSUE 120 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/6/2006

Fall concert delivers pop-punk fun

By Chase Donaldson
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 6, 2006

On Saturday night about 1,000 students, both Oles and high schoolers, descended upon Skoglund for a night of pop-punk fun. A large portion of the crowd was female, as can be expected of a show featuring stylish and attractive young men rocking out and singing emo.

The first band, hailing from Apple Valley, Minn., was The Drive Back, featuring Craig Casey on lead vocals and guitar, Grady Kenevan on drums, Jon Evans on lead guitar and vocals and Troy Pinard on bass.

Though most of The Drive Back’s members are only 20 years old, they showed great maturity in songwriting, and each band member was clearly accomplished on his instrument.

Their songs, despite a more complicated architecture than normal in the emo genre, were very tight in the live setting. The Drive Back’s performance demonstrated that they may become a force to be reckoned with in the future – "in the future" being the key phrase, because the band’s repertoire, which relied on slow guitar riffs and vocal harmonies, could not seem to get the crowd moving.

The expressions on most faces

indicated that the audience did enjoy the songs, but the crowd was there to dance and move. There were small sparks of energy during the set, most notably during the band’s last song, "The Taste," which featured a unique ambient guitar sound reminiscent of the band Angels and Airwaves. However, their style did not mesh with what the audience wanted to hear, and their lack of stage presence only further contributed to a poor connection between the band and the concert-goers.

After a 15-minute break, Victory Record’s up-and-coming band, The Junior Varsity, took the stage. Unlike The Drive Back, The Junior Varsity embodied showmanship, and their quirky singer gave the crowd a good laugh between songs. The band, made up of Andy Wildrick on lead guitar, Asa Dawson on bass and vocals, Sergio Coronado on rhythm guitar, Chris Birch on percussion and Nick Dodson on keyboard, opened their set with their hit single "Get Comfortable" and immediately went into one of their other popular songs, “Mad For Medusa.”

The band was loud and rocked hard. Toward the end of their set they played some of their heavier songs. Some in the audience remarked that these numbers were a little too heavy for their palates, while others believed that they were only time-fillers after the band had played their singles. Regardless, The Junior Varsity managed to successfully answer the question that plagues all bands with a keyboardist: Just what do you do with the keyboardist when he isn’t playing? Answer: Have him rock out harder than everyone there, which Dodson did with intense and humorous headbanging. His was not the only head moving – The Junior Varsity managed to get the audience into their set and relieve some of the vestigal restlessness from The Drive Back’s performance.

After The Junior Varsity, it became clear which band people were there to see. Chants and clapping arose numerous times during the break until Motion City Soundtrack appeared. Comprised of singer/guitarist Justin Pierre, guitarist Joshua Cain, bassist Matthew Taylor, moogist Jesse Johnson and drummer Tony Thaxton, Motion City Soundtrack is a popular Minneapolis band. Their unique brand of synthesizer keyboard, catchy lyrics, simple though movement-provoking beats and an intentionally-awkward lead singer were a hit with the audience. Jumping, dancing and crowd surfing ensued. “The crowd was crazy,” Amanda Hanych `09 said.

The show went on without a hitch until the middle of the set when Pierre, who presumably had asthma, asked if anyone else had asthma, to which the crowd responded with cheers and applause. He then asked if anyone had an inhaler, and he got more cheering. The singer was serious in his inquiries, and looked like he was hurting on stage. After realizing that the crowd would be of no help to him, he took a small break until his manager brought out his inhaler – which was, of course, empty – from his dressing room.

Looking a little nervous, Pierre continued the show with no further problems. The band played their hit single "Everything is Alright," and as an encore played their other hit, "The Future Freaks Me Out."

Upon walking out of Skoglund auditorium, smiles were plastered on everyone’s faces, and many continued dancing long after the music had stopped. It was

disappointing, however, to see that many of the students who attended were from surrounding high schools. Too-cool Oles, “TCOs” as one Pause street team member put it, must have been too busy watching Grey’s Anatomy to come to Fall Concert. However, the concert was a success, if not in attendance, then in a night full of fun, dancing and solid entertainment.

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