The Get Up Kids reunion tour has been co-billed as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of their best-known CD, "Something To Write Home About." Recently, home is a place they've been familiar with.
Friday night they opened a two-month, 42-show tour at the VooDoo Lounge in Harrah's casino. It was the third show in their hometown in 10 months. In November they played to a full house at the Record Bar -- their first live show since July 2005; and in March they sold out Liberty Hall in Lawrence.
Both of those shows were all-ages shows. Friday's show at the VooDoo was not; liquor laws prohibit anyone younger than 21 from entering the club. The Kids are no longer a teen-band -- "we have a drinking crowd now," Matt Pryor told The Star recently -- but no doubt they have many under-age fans who are still very interested in seeing them live, even for the third time in a year. All of the above probably contirbuted to the size of the crowd, which looked like about 400, give or take a dozen or few.
The Kids just returned from a 17-day tour of Europe, where they played 14 shows, many of them to sold-out clubs and theaters. The road work put some muscle and shine into their sound (though the mix was a little too high-end all night). The harmonies among Pryor, James Dewees and Jim Suptic were clean and mostly spot on all night.
They opened with two from the "Home" album: "Holiday" and then "I'm a Loner, Dottie, A Rebel." Then Matt Pryor called an audible, and the band went back to "Coming Clean," off their first recording, "Four Minute Mile," which aptly describes the pace of this show: brisk. The Kids music is all about energy and emotion and they sustained a lot of both.
The set list visted all four of their recordings and included a couple of down-tempo numbers, like "Campfire Kansas," featuring Suptic on lead vocals. It also included a new song, "Keith Case," which sounded both akin to the old stuff but evolved from it, too. And they opened their encore with a cover of the Cure's "Close to Me," which quickly sounded like another Get Up Kids song.
They ended with three of their own, including the emo-love ballad "I'll Catch You" and the raucous and frenzied "10 Minutes," another "Home" track. Down on the floor, by the stage, the crowd stirred up some frenzy of its own, like it was revisiting a familiar and favorite place.
The ACBs: They opened the evening with a 30-minute set that showcased their instant appeal. Their music is a blend of sweetness and crunch -- melodies, harmonies but with some muscle and sharp elbows. Not the Pixies really, but their best songs evoke the same kind of response: catchiness in a world of punk and disorder. Word is they're about to go on hiatus. Catch them while you can. In a local scene crowded with good bands, they're one of our better ones.
| Timothy Finn, The Star
Get Up Kids setlist: Holiday; I’m a Loner, Dottie, A Rebel; Coming Clean; Valentine; One You Want; Woodson; No Love; Out of Reach; Keith Case; Red Letter Day; Campfire Kansas; Holy Roman; Mass Pike; Martyr Me; Close to Home; Action and Action; Walking on a Wire. Encore: Close to Me; Don't Hate Me; I’ll Catch You; 10 Minutes.