To celebrate 20 years of the band, Taking Back Sunday treated us to a headline set comprised of two of their golden era albums, 2004’s Where You Want To Be and 2006’s Louder Now. With both of these records being hugely formative for me, I was very prepared to sing along until my voice gave out.
Outright have cemented themselves as one of the most consistent and hard-working bands hardcore bands in Melbourne. Every time I see them hit the stage, I am captivated by their energy and passion, in huge part due to the ferocity of vocalist Jelena Goluza and the way she commands the attention of the audience. Whilst they might’ve been quite an odd choice stylistically to support Taking Back Sunday, they certainly got the room moving and riled up.
I will admit that I was a little concerned about Taking Back Sunday’s set. I’ve seen them a number of times over the years and they’ve been a bit hit and miss with their performances. Some have been utterly remarkable, and some have been a bit of a mess. Fortunately, this performance was very much in the former category.
With no time to waste, the band jumped straight into Where You Want To Be with raging album opener ‘Set Phasers To Stun’, the room immediately erupted with a sing-along louder than any I’ve heard at 170 Russell. It was clear almost instantly that my concerns weren’t warranted for this show. Unsurprisingly, the album’s singles went down like a charm and had everyone buzzing with blissful nostalgia. The best part of the set for me though was getting to hear deep cuts from the album that I had never seen live and probably never would again. Tracks like ‘The Union’ and ‘I Am Fred Astaire’ in particular were such great fun, and the band concluded the first portion of their set with a gorgeous performance of ‘…Slowdance On The Inside’.
In my humble opinion, Louder Now is pretty close to a perfect record. It’s energetic, yet vulnerable and has some of the best vocal hooks and vocal interplay I think I’ve ever heard. From the enormous opening riff of ‘What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost’ to the slow and immense conclusion of ‘I’ll Let You Live’, the second part of the Taking Back Sunday’s set was spectacular. Obvious highlights were Adam Lazzara absolutely nailing his performance on huge hit ‘MakeDamnSure’ as well as high octane cuts like ‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One)’ and ‘Error:Operator’. Had the show concluded with the end of the album, I would have walked out a very content man.
With two classic TBS records done and dusted, the band treated punters to a little bit more bang for their buck. Two recent cuts from as well as two cuts from their debut Tell All Your Friends. Very predictably ending the night with the emo classic ‘Cute Without The E’. With two full albums and a more than generous encore done and dusted, it’s safe to say that every member of the audience had a good time and most certainly got their money’s worth.
I have to admit one thing that I found really peculiar. Taking Back Sunday has gone through a number of line-up changes through their years, and now find themselves with almost the complete original line-up back in the band (long time guitarist Eddie Reyes exited the band last year). During the course of their set, frontman Adam Lazzara treated the audience to a number of stories and anecdotes from the creation of the two albums in question. The peculiar thing about this was that only two of the current members of the band performed on these albums, so the stories only really talked about Adam and drummer Mark O’Connell, with no mention of any of the previous members and their contributions. This just came across as quite weird given that the band is celebrating 20 years of their legacy, but obviously choosing to glaze over a few key things in their history.
That aside, the show was an amazing time and as I previously mentioned, it was killer to see a number of songs that I’d never seen the band perform before. If you’re a long-time Taking Back Sunday fan like myself, then I would highly suggest catching a show on the Twenty tour while you can!
Images – Digital Beard Photography