by Matt Kelchner
Towards the end of their night, Taking Back Sunday’s charismatic lead singer Adam Lazarra jokingly blurted out in between songs, “Oh shit I can actually say this: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be here all weekend.” Saturday marked the first of back-to-back shows for the long running emo vets. With the always entertaining letlive. and hometown boys the Menzingers along for the ride, Saturday also marked a sold out show. And just by walking around the Electric Factory, it was way sold out. For a band almost 15 years in the making, they’re only getting better with age.
With Los Angeles post-hardcore group letlive. opening show, things started off with a bang. Their blend of hard-hitting punk, hardcore breaks, beautiful melodies and riffs have led to comparisons that span the musical gamut. Letlive. played a healthy amount of selection’s off their most recent album, 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful. The highlight of their set, and possibly the entire night, was singer Jason Butler scaling speakers as he made his way up to the railing of the second floor of the Electric Factory. He then crawled his way until he made it to the back of the room, where he was met with and “wrestled” with security before making his way back to the stage. Quite a first impression if you ask us!
Scranton may be over two hours away but we still like to consider the Menzingers has one of our local bands. The melodic punk band has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, with 2014’s Rented World catapulting them even higher. They kicked things off with the album’s first single “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”. Their set was comprised mainly of songs from Rented World and On The Impossible Past, their last two albums. Songs like “Where Your Heartache Exists” and “Rodent” were met with the chorus of the crowd singing along. Their night ended with one of the strongest tracks off last year’s release, “In Remission”. It’s not hard to imagine the Menzingers heading places like the Electric Factory, and from the way they played Saturday that time could be sooner rather than later.
Taking Back Sunday first played the Electric Factory back in 2003. Over 10 years ago! Or at least that’s how singer Adam Lazarra told it to the crowd. He reminisced about past stories from playing there and the bands they’ve played with. Their journey has had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but at this point in they are steadily cruising. Even with two opening acts that have devoted followings, it was clear that an overwhelming majority of the crowd was there for the Long Island natives. The release of last year’s record Happiness Is has brought their discography up to six full length albums and Saturday night they played a career spanning set that including songs from almost every one.
Songs like “Better Homes and Gardens” and “How I Met Your Mother” showed that Happiness Is can stand up with classics. There was no lack of those as well as cuts including “Timberwolves at New Jersey” and “You’re So Last Summer” rang loud with the help of the audience singing every word. Tell All Your Friends has withstood the test of time and the songs from it seemingly only get better as years go on. Other hits like “A Decade Under The Influence” and “Liar (It Takes One To Know One” were sprinkled in as well. All the while the band, back to it’s original lineup, sounded tighter than ever. Having John Nolan back and hearing his vocals in the mix brings back their classic sound.
The set came to a close with another take from Happiness Is, “It Takes More” and with a brief exit off stage, they came back to give the crowd just a little bit more. The encore started with Lazarra’s self proclaimed favorite Taking Back Sunday song, “Call Me In The Morning”. The band then closed out the night with two of their biggest hits, “Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)” and “MakeDamnSure”. Taking Back Sunday have come a long way since the days when Tell All Your Friends was first released but the road ahead for them is looking wide open.