The Get Up Kids
with Jebediah, Koufax, and the Anniversary
The Palladium, Worcester, MA • October 7, 2000
In front of a sold-out crowd, Big Wheel Records rolled out their “Battle of the Rock Heroes and Villains Tour 2000,” and after all was said and done, the only villain to be seen was a rather sketchy security guard who tried hitting on a few fifteen year olds. Yet, heroes prevailed: the girls avoided him and rock n’ roll lived.
The evening kicked off with Australia’s latest and finest export, Jebediah, who blare some of the catchiest rocking pop in any hemisphere. The four-piece — two guitarists, a drummer, and a bassist who gave the crowd a set-long look at her back — were on target for every song in their disappointingly short setlist, rocking at the delicate balance between tempered and too-much. Guitarist/singer Kevin Mitchell, whose nasal-yet-commanding voice makes Jebediah what they are, played out his rock n’ roll dreams by running back and forth across the stage and jumping at every available pause. Between their fantastic albums and energetic live show, there’s a reason this band has been the lovechild of Australia for so long. Now they’ve come to conquer America, and indicated by the cheers between each song, they won’t find much resistance.
Next was Koufax, who looked like a bunch of guys that have been playing for so long that their original schtick is now popular because it’s retro. Like one big smile back to the ’80s, Koufax was defined by their synthesizer and sounded like they were constantly going to bust into “Take On Me.” Still, even with a sound guy that made them a garbled mess, they managed to be enjoyable in a novelty kind of way.
The Anniversary followed up with an introduction of epic proportions, entering the stage to a boisterous recording of the intimidating operatic “Carmina Burana,” followed by a confetti explosion. While the group also includes keyboards in their mix, their result is far more rock n’ roll and lively; they use the cute synthesized beeps to add texture rather than melody. Their male/female vocal harmonizing and trade-offs worked surprisingly well and the whole group seemed to bubble with energy. While the majority of the assembled mass was completely unfamiliar with the Anniversary, everyone stayed relatively interested during what seemed to be an abnormally long opening set.
With a roar of appreciation, emo torchbearers the Get Up Kids finally showed themselves, told the crowd to “take care of each other,” and launched into “Holiday.” It didn’t take long to see why the Kids have become so revered — their singers talk with high-pitched voices, they thank the crowd profusely, and once said the show was “more than we could have ever hoped for,” and they put on a powerfully loud and vivacious show. The first few notes of each song were drowned out by a high-pitched screech from girls who’ve probably attached personal meaning to the song — with the Get Up Kids’ unabashedly personal lyrics, its sometimes hard not to — and the crowd chanted along every word. With a few hundred-person singalong, lead singer Matt Pryor, who recently dropped the pretty-boy look, hardly needed to be there.
The set covered all bases: “Red Letter Day,” “Mass Pike,” “Valentine,” and so on. Members from the opening bands came and went to accompany the Kids in vocals or rump shaking, and the Kids rocked with a passion. After they wrapped their last song up, the Anniversary’s keyboard player taunted the crowd for being quieter than New York, and the masses reacted with a howl and scattered chants of “Yankees suck!” Soon thereafter, the Kids came back for a few more, said that the show was the largest they had ever played, and continued to rock until their final song, “I’ll Catch You.” As Matt sang, “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you / Don’t ever worry,” the crowd swayed, lighters were raised high and it was loudly clear why all this rock n’ roll is called “emo.”