Live Report – Where’s The Band? Tour

1-22-09
Michigan State University Union Ballroom
East Lansing, MI
www.fusionshows.com

It’s rare that my musical dreams come true. You know the ones where you sit around with friends and make up epic concerts you wish you had a chance to see? Well my friends, keep dreaming, because you never know what just might come true one day. Last week I was granted access to the first ever, “Where’s The Band? Tour,” which featured acoustic performances from the lead singers of Thrice, The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, and Bayside. A Musical eargasm was had by and by the end of the night, not one person wasn’t moved by the sheer power of music.

The night began with a 5 song set from site favorite Anthony Raneri of Bayside fame. His set had 4 covers and 4 classic bayside tracks. Nothing came from the band’s most recent release, Shudder, but that mattered very little as what was played was fantastic. The highlight would definitely be an unforseen cover of, “Just To See You Smile,” by Tim McGraw which Raneri’s near apathetic vocal style did great justice. Think Alkaline Trio gone country. It was something you just had to see.

The true standout of the night came second with Chris of Saves The Day fame. An entire setlist based around audience wishes is something I never expected to come across. Having been putting out album for 12 years now, Chris still remembered chords to some of the even more rare STD tracks. Even the self-inclusion of a song from the band’s 97 demo was given out amidst a blistering 15 song set. Most records were touched on once and it all seemed done with the most honest desire to simply entertain and he accomplished it ten fold.

Both Anthony and Chris were so open and polite with the audience that I felt it was becoming a theme for the night. However, The Get Up Kid’s Matt Pryor was not of the same vein. TGUK arguably released one of the most influential albums on the current scene ten years ago [Something To Write Home About]. With that being said, a desire from most in attendance to hear songs from this or other TGUK albums would seem highly expected and the calls from the crowd proved that, but Pryor chose to stick mainly to his own solo album. There is something to be said for integrity and desire to play new songs, but on a tour built on the famous bands these people come from, a little throwback here and there seems appropriate. Maybe he’s just not the approachable type of Conley or Raneria, but either way, what was played was still solid.

The night finally closed with another 15 song set, but this time is was Thrice mastermind Dustin Kensrue behind the microphone. Three covers, a healthy dose of solo tracks, and a sprinkling of Thrice staples made up the most passionate set of the night. Kensrue has the aura of a young Bob Dylan and the feelings he is able to evoke in two and a half minutes only go to further that idea. Those who had talked for the previous sets were silent and the ones who’d grown tired of standing for 3 hours could no longer say a negative thought. For nearly an hour the world seemed at peace while Kensrue lead the crowd on tales of morality and mortality with obvious Biblical references here and there.

Overall, “Wheres The Band?” has struck gold in its initial run. In fact, it’s already setting the bar pretty high for best tour of the year. I can’t think of the last time a true tour of this design has been attempted, but let’s hope it comes back around this summer or fall. I am a believer that true skill shows up when you take away the fancy studio wizardry and these 4 guys proved they have more talent than anyone ever imagined on stage that night. See this tour, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

*Written By: James Shotwell*

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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