Forever the Sickest Kids, Hit the Lights, Sing It Loud
Philadelphia, PA • October 16, 2008
When the three-day-old Sassy Back Tour hit Philadelphia, I had the unfortunate luck of being stuck at the very end of the line, next to anxious teenagers who were itching to get their spot up front. Walking into the venue was like entering a giant house party back in high school — kids were scattered everywhere, chatting and dancing, while music blasted from the speakers.
Sing It Loud was nearly done with their set, and I was only able to see them perform two tracks off their newly-released album, Come Around. Their mediocre pop rock had catchy choruses, but overall the material wasn’t powerful. To be fair, this was the band’s debut, and no band is perfect on their first run. With some time, this band could be big among the pop-rock crowd, but for now, they fell a bit short.
Hit the Lights was up next. Having seen the band with its previous line-up, it’s easy to say that this band has grown and been nurtured into a pop-rock, modern day, teenage favorite, equipped with synthesizers and an infectious set list that the audience can sing along to. While still playing tracks from their prior release (like their first single “Body Bag”), most of the set was dedicated to the latest album, Skip School, Start Fights. The new album showcases stronger melodies, but the lyrics could still use improvement. It’d be nice to see them showcase something a bit more serious and less tongue-in-cheek.
Texas-based band Forever the Sickest Kids followed suit. Having completed the summer Warped Tour stint with the headliners, the sextet is currently promoting their debut release, Underdog Alma Mater. Once they hit the stage with their opening track, a roll of toilet paper was thrown onto the stage, hitting vocalist Jonathan Cook. Not letting it ruin his game, Cook simply grabbed the roll of paper and threw it back playfully. When the band broke into their second song, “Whoa-Oh, Everyone vs. Me,” the crowd erupted. Finally, the kids seemed to wake up into moshing and crowdsurfing. Cook was all over the place. At one point, Cook cut his head on something, causing him to bleed a bit. However, he proceeded to carry on with their set, much to the crowd’s delight. Despite this being only the third date of the tour, FTSK proclaimed their love for Philadelphia, noting it to be the best city after their hometown of Dallas. Throughout the set, more rolls of toilet paper found their way from the audience to the stage. Having listened to their album and seeing them perform live, it’s understandable why Forever the Sickest Kids have caught some major attention recently. With catchy pop-rock hooks and playful, cheeky stage attitudes, Forever the Sickest Kids is simply infectious and hard to resist.
After a 30-minute wait, it was time to relieve the anxious hearts of the audience. Stepping onto the stage, Gabe Saporta, dressed in his signature trucker hat and hoodie, was welcomed with piercing shrieks. Cobra Starship broke into tracks off their sophomore release, Viva la Cobra. Now while some may dislike the band, the thing that you must recognize about the quintet is that they’re having one hell of a time while they’re on stage. Having seen them play different venues throughout Philly since they started, the band always gives 100 percent to the audience. Gabe eats up the attention, shaking his body to the beat and playfully interacting with both the audience and band.
Tonight was no exception. Playing tracks like “Church of Hot Addiction,” “The City is at War,” and “Damn You Look Good and I’m Drunk (Scandalous),” Cobra Starship had the whole venue (including the bar) on their feet, dancing along. And of course, the crowd waited for the notorious hit “Snakes on a Plane.” While it’s nice that they still play it, it’s hard to imagine that they will ever release another single that will top that song. But the band has no problem with it, or at least if they do, it doesn’t show. Gabe was all over the place, running from either side of the stage to the tops of the amps, playing to each portion of the crowd. He knows not only how to entertain, but how to keep the audience’s attention throughout.
The best part of the night was the encore of their current single, “Guilty Pleasure.” Fitting because that’s exactly what I’d call their music. All around me, the whole bar was doing the dance from the video, while the kids on the floor pumped their fists and danced to the music. The chorus of “Guilty Pleasure” was a perfect description of Cobra Starship’s performance: “I came here to make you dance tonight, I don’t care if I’m a guilty pleasure for you.”
Confetti rained from the ceiling, as the night came to an end. Water bottles, toilet paper and confetti lay on the ground — evidence that there was one hell of a party that night.
Cobra Starship: www.cobrastarship.com