Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects Co-Headlining Tour
Emo’s in Austin, TX on October 5th, 2012
When I found out Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects were playing together, I knew that would make for a rockin’ night of pop tunes. Realizing it was a co-headlining tour, I was even more amped to hit up the venue. Also, the show marked my first show since heading down to Austin for school, so I was all the more excited to experience this.
Due to public transportation times and all that jazz, I missed most of The Ready Set’s set, save for “Love Like Woo.” Vocalist Jordan Witzigreuter raced the stage with high energy throughout the hit, with the crowd belting out the chorus at the top of its lungs. Although I’m not too familiar with The Ready Set’s music, I knew this single, so catching it was a blast.
Now, I had not seen The All-American Rejects play since their 2009 stint on the Blink-182 reunion tour. Being so long ago, I couldn’t exactly remember how their live show was. Well, after seeing them on Friday, it’s safe to say Tyson Ritter is the best front man I’ve ever seen. I mean seriously, he’s a freaking maniac. Flailing around stage, falling to his knees, yelling and swearing at the crowd while swinging the mic around and around – he’s insane. Ritter absolutely commanded the stage and crowd, with his stage persona being the highlight of the evening.
The Rejects kicked off the set with the massive “Dirty Little Secret” as Ritter danced around the mic. Following this, they played a very fair share of material from all of their records. “My Paper Heart” and “Swing, Swing” were absolute crowd favorites, as expected, which was aided by Ritter reminiscing back ten years ago when they were in Austin on a tiny tour playing the material. His stories added to the nostalgic nature of those songs for both the crowd and the band.
Still, I’d have to say the highlight of the set was the performance of “Walk Over Me.” When I first heard Kids In The Street earlier this year, this was the song that I knew would be colossal live. Sure enough, Ritter dominated the mic, while Nick Wheeler and Mike Kennerty set the mood with their rowdy guitar strumming to make the performance all I’d hoped for. In fact, all of the material from Kids was flawless live. During “Kids In The Street,” the band switched to glow in the dark instruments, and when Ritter swung around a glowing mic, the crowd went mad.
While “Move Along” was of course another the crowd favorite, I’d have to say “Heartbeat Slowing Down” and “It Ends Tonight” were the most intimate minutes of the set, as expected. On the former, Ritter explained that the song is the most important thing in his life right now, and you could truly feel this throughout the song, with the high notes of the chorus resonating with passion.
The Rejects closed the set out with “Gives You Hell” which was as exciting live as I’d hoped. Ending with this one really exemplified Ritter’s devil may care persona, as he dedicated the “fuck you” anthem to the parents in the back in their “golf shirts” just waiting for him to finish.
Following The All-American Rejects killer performance, Boys Like Girls had some pretty big shoes to fill. However, due to their well-selected set list, I’d say they did just fine.
They wasted no time throwing out the hits, kicking off the set with “The Great Escape” and “Hero/Heroine.” Martin Johnson said throughout the set that they want to stick to old cuts and be back in 2006. It was an odd statement, as they are releasing a new record come December that is monumentally different from their self-titled pop record, but it was just fine for all of us there that still know all the words to those songs.
The most entertaining aspect of their set was the way they remixed songs while on stage. Johnson started singing “Go” before transitioning into “Thunder.” Yet then during the song, they went into the “oh-ohs” of “Some Nights.” Moments like this made the show more than just a girly pop concert, as they gave the set some unexpected twists and turns. The beginning of “Chemicals Collide” – “I got a couple addictions..” – played perfectly into “Me, You, And My Medication” near the end of the set, further heightening the impact of their on stage remixing by allowing us to get a little taste of all their songs in a new form.
All three of the songs from the Crazy World EP were very well-received by the crowd, with “Life of the Party” and “First Time” having the whole crowd singing. In this way, the set list was perfect; it was a little something from everything, yet with more emphasis on their earlier material. With that said, I’m pretty certain everyone in the crowd knew all the words to “Five Minutes To Midnight” and “Heels Over Head.”
From the intricate nature of “Two Is Better Than One” mid-set through the ending of the show with “Love Drunk” transitioned into “Hey Jude,” Boys Like Girls put on a genuinely fun and memorable pop show. Past hit singles still remained winners throughout the show, while new cuts echoed the more country-tinged feel of Crazy World.
Clearly, if you’re looking for a night of pop music, hit up this show. The All-American Rejects live show is unmatched due to Ritter’s captivating stage presence, while Boys Like Girls addictive choruses ringing throughout the crowd are a blast from the past.
After only a couple listens thus far, I'm incredibly impressed with The All-American Rejects' upcoming record, Kids in the Street. It really demonstrates Tyson's skill as a pop-rock front-man more-so than any of their other releases. At this point, I'm calling it the best pop-rock album of the year thus far - and it will probably keep that title very well.
Look for my review near the release date, March 26th.