Where’s the Band? at the Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA; Sunday February 5, 2012

High school was a weird time for me, full of uncertainties, but if there was one thing that I was completely sure of it was music. I suppose I could apply that to my life right now too.

“Where’s the Band?” is a collective of “punk” and “emo” musicians from the early late ’90s early ’00s.

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Going into the show, I was really pumped up for the most of the acts, notably – Matt Pryor, Dustin Kensrue, Ace Enders and Chris Conley. Really don’t so bad when you break it down, my odds of a good night were pretty good and to say the very least, I was certainly not let down.

I got to the Troubadour early, but not early enough. Door tickets were sold out by 6:30pm, but I scored free parking so I really couldn’t complain. I ended up waiting outside for half an hour asking folks for tickets, but really who could complain in the warmth of California.

I made it in just in time to see Into It. Over It.‘s Evan Weiss play. I gotta say, Weiss had the heart of the evening, I personally hadn’t heard of him, nor did anyone else that I exchanged with that evening. He essentially was the opening act. He spent quite a bit of time connecting with the audience, beyond heart, it seemed he had solid people skills as well. I thought he had a great pop-punk voice although set to an acoustic guitar, reminding me bundles of Adam Lazarra of Taking Back Sunday.

Next up, The Get Up Kids‘ Matt Pryor. All I could think about the entire show was hold old some of these guys are, most prominently Matt Pryor. Listening to the Get Up Kids ten years ago, I thought they were pretty old then. Pryor brought his little nugget out on stage throughout the show, just darling.

This was the highlight of his set for me, great intro for an album I never gave a chance (but thankfully, I own):

Anthony Raneri was pretty terrific, he really gave it his set, but I don’t have any inclination to get my hands on any Bayside material. Bayside came out around the time I was leaving the pop-punk genre, I sort of hung on tight to anything I had loved in the past and branched off to other genres from there. I did really enjoy his acoustic rendition of “Duality” which translated perfectly to acoustic, “ooohs” and “ohs” intact:

At the end of Raneri’s set, Matt Pryor, Pryor’s son and The Early November‘s Ace Enders hopped on stage to sing a version of the Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection.” At the 2:00 point they really lost me with a terrible harmony flub up but got me back at the end when they finished it in good form:

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Kermit the Frog and Debbie Harry, 1981:

Ace Enders took the stage immediately after their Muppets cover. He confessed to the crowd he felt as though he could throw up at any minute, not exactly good form. Despite his ill-state he really gave her, especially for the tune “Ever So Sweet” which he played second in his set. He said he hurts his hip every time he plays that tune. I don’t remember if I’ve ever heard him play this tune live in the one or two times I’ve seen them play it.

Throughout Enders’ solemn set, he had to deal with the banter of drunk mega fans. You can even see him telling the problem guy that he’ll sign his swag later in the “Rainbow Connection” video above. It’s not a good sign when an artist has to ask your name in front of the audience and tell you that you have two strikes on you. It was funny to begin with and grew progressively annoying. Enders didn’t really seem up for babysitting…

I really appreciated Enders’ banter, it was really nice to have his feedback on the tunes. He said that the guitar lick on “I Want To Hear You Sad” was inspired by a Puddle of Mudd song he hated (I figure it’s “Blurry”). He said that he thought “How can I make this emo?” and followed that up by saying “I love to make fun of myself…” with an awkward laugh to follow.

I think my favourite part of the set was seeing Enders, it was the Early November performance I wanted to see seven years ago, but never did. I mean, definitely means less to me now that I’ve distanced myself greatly from the tunes, but I still knew every word! His set selection was pretty spotless but no “Sunday Drive” or “Every Night’s Another Story”!

He finished his set off with a nice thank you to all of the fans with the usual “I wouldn’t be up here without you.” But what really set his apart was a pseudo apology for his grouchiness, saying that it’s really hard to get up and play every night as he’s distanced from his family, but he’s really grateful and happy to be where he is.

CHRIS CONLEY, apple of my eye. I knew going into this show that Chris let the audience dictate his entire set, but I figured that’s what all the artists were doing too. Nope, just the lovely, Conley who gave the crowd free reign, a real jukebox breakdown (yeah I went there). He played a bunch of old material, stuff that I wasn’t most at home with but familiar just from all the recent live gigs with older material.

But of the tunes near and dear to my heart: “Jesse and My Whetstone,” introducing with “This is from our acoustic EP,” just like the Ups and Downs live recorded version! “Cars and Calories,” “This Is Not An Exit,” and an fun version of “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic.” It was kind of awesome to sing the lyrics along with the crowd. He closed with the always fun sing along “At Your Funeral.”

Thrice‘s Dustin Kensure was a pleasure, I forgot how much I adored Artist in the Ambulance. I sort of jumped ship after Artist but I never forgot how impressive a band these guys are live, to no surprise Kensure killed his set. He’s kind of an all around guy and reminds me a ton of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Maybe a bit physically, but mostly in that their band material being so different from their solo. His acoustic stuff is country, folk inspired, that’s probably where my link with Auerbach began. Kensrue played a wide variety of songs, but most notably two songs of Artist, the title track “Artist in the Ambulance” and “Stare at the Sun.” I never scream requests, but Kensrue knowing that the audience wanted to hear toned down Thrice material claimed at the beginning that on his set list he had slots for “Thrice Tunes.” When he said it’s time for a Thrice song, everyone free for all yelled for requests. You’d get the odd person screaming that the artist is not a jukebox, but Kensure, although rather cold faced, definitely loved the praise.

I really loved his cover of a Cold War Kids song called “Hospital Beds.” Fantastic cover:

A new tune, now titled “Of Crows and Crowns”:

 

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