‘The best concert I’ve ever been to!” exclaimed diehard fan and freshman Gaby Logrono as she headed out of the Palestra, which had floors still crowded by herds of students striving for fresh air post concert. She, along with many other fans, was on her feet for at over hours as she rocked out to two renowned bands: the headliner Motion City Soundtrack and a guest appearance by Phantom Planet.
Eager fans had lined up outside of the Palestra before its doors were finally opened to the public at 7 p.m. and the show commenced around an hour later on Friday, Sept. 26. It started right off the bat with Phantom Planet, a band originating in Southern California that many may recognize as a one-hit-wonder through their well-known song ‘California,” the theme song for the hit TV series ‘The OC.”
Phantom Planet kicked off their set with the song ‘All Over Again,” which is indeed a very fast and catchy tune. They ended their remarkable performance with a sweet and solemn goodbye by playing a smooth and moving rendition of ‘California,” with the audience vocally joining in.
Soon after what seemed to be the longest wait ever between bands, Motion City Soundtrack dashed into the spotlight. After seeing them live twice before, I wasn’t at all surprised by their eccentricities and quirks as a band. Lead singer Justin Pierre, who at one point had hair gelled in a way that looked like he had just been zapped by an electric current, was now very gorilla-like.
‘It’s strange how such a sweet and perfectly tuned voice would come out of such a grizzly man,” sophomore Juanita Vierra said. It was the essentially pop-sounding, unrugged and refined nature of Pierre’s voice that had vaulted the band into the pop-punk category, though some may arguably consider the band to not be categorized in any specific genre due to its diversity of musical influences. I believe the band has a sound of its own its own flavor.
The band started out its energizing, adrenaline-rushing act with the song ‘Better Open the Door.” Other notable songs the band performed throughout the night were classics such as ‘It Had to be You,” ‘Fell in Love with You,” ‘Time Turned Fragile” and, of course, their angry yet ironically uplifting tune, ‘L.G. Fuad.” Prior to performing each song, Pierre gave the same introduction: ‘This next song is about love.”
The band unsurprisingly ended its string of catchy tunes with one of its most famed and acclaimed hit songs, ‘Everything is All Right.” Though they said this was their last song, those who have attended concerts before understand the routine of sticking around and waiting for just one more song, the last piece to the puzzle. The band resurfaced and performed an encore with one of their greatest songs. It is a song with a title that hits close to home for the majority of college students, ‘The Future Freaks Me Out.”
The energy of the concert was uplifting and the music performed by both bands resonated with the fans, as many of them sang along to their favorite tunes word-for-word. Though some did not know the lyrics and music as well as others, it was evident that practically everyone had an exciting concert experience, complete with crowd-surfing and moshing.
The turnout wasn’t disappointing, though, as expected; most appeared to have purchased floor tickets. ‘Who the heck wouldn’t pay $2 more to be on the floor?” I heard another fan say in complete disbelief as he peered into the sparsely filled bleachers. The reasonable ticket price of $17 was indeed a bargain for floor tickets.
Another notable aspect that was worth the price was the band’s decision to take part in a tour of colleges across the country as part of the ‘Rock the Vote” campaign. ‘Rock the Vote” is an organization endorsing the importance of a student’s vote.
It was formed in 1990, when the music industry determined the importance of the youth vote, in time for the 1992 election, an election that resulted in an important shift in the regime. Since then, ‘Rock the Vote” has registered millions of American youth, thus stressing how important it is to get out and vote and noting that our voices, as youth, do matter.
During the show, both bands, represented mainly by the lead singers, interacted constantly with the audience. As sponsors of the campaign, they addressed the importance of voting in this year’s monumental election. Phantom Planet lead vocalist Alex Greenwald reminded us that the concert that night took place during the first presidential debate, which unfortunately prevented all of us there from watching it.
Though the lead vocalists of both bands, Pierre and Greenwald, endorsed the importance of voting in this year’s election from an unbiased standpoint, I noticed that eclectic keyboardist Jesse Johnson of Motion City Soundtrack had on a politically-charged shirt with presidential candidate Barack Obama’s face proudly displayed on it.
It wouldn’t be surprising if, like most rock stars and celebrities who generally sway with the democratic current, Motion City Soundtrack were indeed adamant for radical change. Who knows? Maybe the enjoyable efforts of this campaign will really serve to ‘Rock the Vote” in this year’s historic election!
Paauw is a member of the class of 2011.