Stephanie Richards ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Stepping into Paradise Rock Club was like stepping into 2005; Yellowcard was blaring over the speakers and every song played between artists had total strangers singing and miming out lyrics together like they were best friends: Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness,” the All-American Rejects’ “Dirty Little Secret,” My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” Like middle school all over again. And yet, none of those were enough to prepare me for the total onslaught of nostalgia that would hit when Motion City Soundtrack finally took the stage.
Motion City opened up with their top hit from Commit This To Memory, “Everything Is Alright,” with lucky VIP Laura Matthew—how many fans wished to be her up on the stage? From the way the crowed surged forward in the impossible attempt to all be in the front row, it would be correct assume every single one of us. This was a show that everyone sang—or ‘sang’—along to. Favorites like “Capital H,” and “My Favourite Accident” got some special attention to the moog synth bits, “Broken Heart” on the guitar solo, and even “Anything At All” got a good dose of audience backing vocals. Don’t recognize this song? That’s because it’s not out yet; lead vocalist Justin Pierre hinted at the release of an album later this year to the hysterical screams of the crowd.
In all honesty, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this concert as much as I did if I hadn’t known the words, or at least choruses, to most of the songs. Like going to see Rocky Horror Picture Show and not understanding the recurring gags, except a rock concert, so there’s a lot more sweat and shoving. People are animals. I had my knee between some guy’s legs while this chick with The Boniest Hips Ever tried to meld her body into mine as wave after wave of crowd surfers flailed overhead—but, hey, it’s part of the fun.
Justin connected with his fans between songs with some lovely back-and-forth banter—with guitarist Joshua Cain’s intermittent quips—that even included a quick lesson in Japanese: arigato gozaimashita, watashi wa Justin (thank you very much, I am Justin). He, with his trademark rectangular-framed glasses and spectacular bedhead, was a sight for sore eyes. Don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s like he’s permanently plugged into a Van de Graaff generator. BAM. Iconic hairstyle. And while we’re on the topic of hair, drummer Claudio Rivera had his in a ponytail blown up by a high-powered fan located somewhere near his feet. Paired with the pink and orange lighting, he looked like a majestic flame princess. Absolutely stunning.
Energy was high the entire show—almost the total opposite from the lacklustre reception of the two groups invited to play with Motion City: Better Left Unsaid, hailing from California, and Vinnie Caruana from Long Island. These were some great artists—Vinnie really had some great vocals going!—but they just weren’t who we came to see. Motion City’s Jesse Johnson, Moog synthesiser and keyboardist, on the other hand, really got the crowd all riled up with some hilarious pantomiming, vigorous dancing, and generally rocking the f&@% out nonstop. I was so sure he was going to end up hurling himself over his keyboard set up and into the crowd. Alas, no such luck.
Paradise Rock Club sure knows how to pick ‘em. Not only is Motion City Soundtrack great on record, but their live experience is something else entirely. They’ve got stage presence that adds another depth to their music and is absolutely worth the price of admission and the t-shirt that you quickly realise you need. Motion City left the crowd totally amped up, on fire, and ready to bust a move. Catch them the next time they’re in Boston!