Years ago when I was young, foolish, and wasted my friends and I thought rock music was dead. Drum machines, samplers, teenage girl singers, and rap music had killed anything that rocked and we would be stuck listening to either horribly recorded underground music or stuff that was twenty years old. Then Kurt Cobain screamed about being alive and angry.
Since then rock music has flourished under the ‘alternative’ banner and has risen again stronger than ever. The bands that rocked the Bryce Jordan Center last Thursday night are proof-positive that great music still exists.
Openers Underoath took the stage with a scream and never stopped. With only brief pauses between songs, the band punished their audience with grinding guitars and throaty screams. Never standing still for very long, the band’s front line moved on the stage like insane animals.
The one pause they did take was for singer Spencer Chamberlain to profess the band’s love for Jesus Christ. Chamberlain did not try to convert anyone or criticize them. He only wanted to share the band’s passion. He didn’t need to, their music spoke for them.
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Underoath’s music is heavy and powerful. The twin guitar and vocal attack of the band was loud enough that you couldn’t feel your heartbeat.
Taking Back Sunday took a cue from the title of their new album “Louder Now” and turned the volume up even higher. They performed with the ease of veterans and the enthusiasm of musicians who love to play for people.
Their stage set-up had white sheets with speaker designs covering up their amps and as a backdrop. This created a canvas for the multi-colored lights to play upon and turn the stage into a psychedelic playground. Half-way through the show the backdrops disappeared and red curtains closed behind the band. A marquis light dropped from the ceiling with the band’s name and album title, changing the look of the stage in seconds.
Front-man Adam Lazzara is a consummate showman and fantastic singer. He channeled the best of Mick Jagger and Roger Daltrey into something that was all his own.
The band was tight and energetic. Every song was a sing-along and when they went into “Cute without the E” the crowd exploded. Very few bands today can create such a reaction with a song that got minimal airplay.
Rock music is alive and well in the hands of Taking Back Sunday and Underoath. If there’s one tour worth catching this summer, it’s this one.