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The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day

by KC Orcutt on June 15, 2011

Northern Lights, June 7

With more than 15 years spent on stage and on the road, Saves the Day and the Get Up Kids are pivotal emo-era bands who helped form (and then later tried to dissociate from) the genre. Last Tuesday, the then-alternative-pop-punk, now-veteran-mainstream-radio rockers played prompt, professional sets to a mixed crowd of cell-phone-happy tweens and young adults, who came out on a worknight to relive the soundtracks to their adolescent make-out sessions, as well as one notable mother, who carried her elementary-age daughter on her back, right up to the front rail—winning the cool, hip mom award.

The Get Up Kids started off with no hesitation or greeting prior to strumming their first power chords. Those in attendance happily got what they came for, singing along to familiar-sounding choruses, regardless of whether they knew all the words. Since forming in 1995, the Get Up Kids have toured the Capital Region a few times, most notably in 2001 with Weezer. This year’s return came off the momentum of a breakup in 2005, a reunion tour in 2009 and a new album, These Are Rules.

No two Get Up Kids albums follow the same compositional formula, so they played a balanced set of songs scattered throughout their discography, alternating quieter, heartfelt anthems (such as “Overdue”) with classic pop-punk songs, featuring heavier guitar parts and quick choruses (“No Love” and “Holy Roman”). Throughout the performance, their sound became more experimental when they played newer tunes like “Shatter Your Lungs” and “Automatic,” slower, spacey, synth-fueled jams with fast snares and distorted guitars. Following an acoustic serenade from guitarist Jim Suptic, the band returned to cover Blur’s dancey “Girls and Boys” and ended with “Beer for Breakfast,” much to the delight of fans.

No one seemed to mind when the Get Up Kids played songs off of their latest album, as opposed to the mixed reaction that Saves the Day received when they presented more new material than old. Some responded by throwing miscellaneous items toward the stage, yelling at frontman Chris Conley to play older songs, while others simply accepted the unfamiliar and crept closer to the front. Conley addressed the crowd in defense: “Well, when you’ve got 100 songs, it’s hard to choose.”

Following soft-voiced Conley’s lead, the band’s most recent songs seemed to play it safe, with “1984,” “Living Without Love” and “Deranged and Desperate” closely following their old framework and restricting them to their signature genre. The crowd noticeably woke up at older songs, such as “Firefly,” “Cars & Calories,” and “Nightingdale” off of the 2001 hit release Stay What You Are, as well as “Anywhere With You,” off of 2003’s In Reverie. The crowd was drowned out by lengthy feedback as the band exited the stage, and it took only 30 seconds of chanting to bring them back for more. Thankfully, the band folded at this point to the pressure to deliver their staple tune, “At Your Funeral,” and Conley was barely audible over the overwhelming volume of the crowd belting along.

“It’s like I just saw my favorite bands, but . . . I don’t know how I feel about it,” said one friend I ran into afterward. It was a good show, but couldn’t compare to seeing them play live during the height of their careers. Oh well, for a couple hours we got as close as we could to reliving those glorious, awkward, angsty days of our youth—and can now move on.