Words by Emilia D’Albero | Photos by Joe Papeo
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked through Times Square to Best Buy Theater on March 18th. I had been excited about this show since it was announced, but the more I thought about it, the more I was like “Wow, this is a fucking strange lineup.” And I was right; letlive., The Menzingers, and Taking Back Sunday is a weird combination of genres and energy that somehow just…worked. Probably because they are all bands that use music to say “I AM VERY UPSET ABOUT SOME THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN MY LIFE” in different ways. Wait, doesn’t literally every band do that? Whatever. Moving on.
letlive. is a powerful band. From the pounding drums to the heavy guitars to the intense vocals, they are certainly never boring. Frontman Jason Butler never slows down and never stays still. He’s like that one commercial for the deodorant; look at Jason on stage, now look down at your beer, look back at Jason, now he’s on top of a speaker. Look down at your phone, and what the hell, how did he get so far into the crowd so quickly??
Opening with “The Dope Beat” off of 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful, letlive. blazed through an eight song set full of fan favorites, such as “Banshee (Ghost Fame),” and “Muther,” from Fake History. Jason also did his usual bit about overcoming adversity and becoming a better person, and I think I saw the person in front of me shed a single tear.
Next up was The Menzingers, a four piece punk band and the only good thing to ever come out of Pennsylvania, I’m pretty sure. Greg Barnett’s and Tom May’s voices are like milk and honey or some other weird expression about things that go well together, and it’s impossible not to sing along. They opened with “Rodent,” off of their latest album Rented World, and their set spanned most of their discography, including fan favorite “I Was Born” from Chamberlain Waits.
Whether it’s an older classic or a new favorite song, Menzingers fanbros literally never get tired. They will mosh until the sun comes up, and I’ll be right there with them. The band closed with “In Remission,” one of the strongest tracks on Rented World, and the crowd went wild, screaming the lyrics and jumping on top of each other.
Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for. Taking Back Sunday took the stage and proceeded to play through an impressive setlist full of their most loved songs as well as newer tracks like “Flicker, Fade” and “Stood A Chance” off of their latest release, Happiness Is. It was like a trip down memory lane, watching one of your favorite childhood bands play “Timberwolves at New Jersey” and “You’re So Last Summer” and trying to remember who you thought about when you listened to them in high school.
Singer Adam Lazzara paces the stage, swinging the microphone around and constantly interacting with fans in the front few rows, while drummer Mark O’Connell smashes out rhythms you can’t help but bang your head to. They closed with their two most popular tracks, “Cute Without the E” and “MakeDamnSure” and it was definitely a cathartic experience for all the former (or current) emo kids in the audience to scream out “I JUST WANNA BREAK YOU DOWN SO BADLY” in a crowd full of people who also wanted to break you down, so badly.
Taking Back Sunday provided New York City with a great blast from the past, and there’s no doubt that everyone went home happy with their experience that night. Except that one asshole who goes to shows and always has some negative comment because he thinks it makes him special to hate things. There’s always one.
TheWaster.com | NYC