Motion City Soundtrack / Say Anything / Saves the Day / A Great Big Pile of Leaves @ NYC 11/9/2010

Just a week earlier, Motion City Soundtrack, Say Anything, Saves the Day, and A Great Big Pile of Leaves played in New Jersey. For fans who missed out on the Starland Ballroom show, or for fans who needed a second dose of one of the year’s better touring packages, the lineup arrived in New York City with a twist: instead of Say Anything headlining the evening, the far superior Motion City Soundtrack would be closing out the night. With a now-healthy frontman and an extra twenty minutes on stage, the Minnesota quintet unleashed one of the finest performances of 2010.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves

A Great Big Pile of Leaves

Unsigned locals A Great Big Pile of Leaves opened the evening with a pleasing blend of jazzy guitars and an indie-rock approach. Anchored by three-way vocal harmonies, the Brooklyn trio (rounded out with an additional guitarist for live performances) played a rock-solid twenty-five minute set that began with “Alligator Bop”, the first song on their excellent 2010 debut, Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?. Though most of the band’s set came from that album, A Great Big Pile of Leaves also tossed in two cuts from 2007′s The Firery Works EP, including “workeatsleep”, a technical beauty driven by a nicely worked finger-tapped guitar lead. “We Don’t Need Our Heads” finished the band’s six song setlist.

Alligator Bop
Vampires in Love
This is a Country Song
workeatsleep
A Few Screws Loose
We Don’t Need Our Heads

Saves the Day

Saves the Day

“Anywhere With You” kicked things off for Saves the Day just after 7PM. The New Jersey four-piece drew singalongs from an eager crowd, all the while sounding as tight as they’ve ever sounded. Things picked up immediately with “Firefly”, frontman Chris Conley launching into the song’s instantly-recognizable first words: “I said I’d walk you home after our third round of pouring whiskey down the barrel of our guts!”

Saves the Day

Saves the Day

Through Being Cool‘s “Shoulder to the Wheel” is always a welcomed part of any Saves the Day setlist, but it was the brand new songs from the upcoming Daybreak that were most interesting: “1984″, “Let it All Go”, and “Z”, the last featuring a stunning guitar solo. The quartet’s forty-five minute setlist included tracks from most of the band’s discography, including powerful performances of singles “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic” and “At Your Funeral”.

Anywhere With You
Firefly
Shoulder to the Wheel
1984
The End
Cars and Calories
Let It All Go
Third Engine
Freakish
Eulogy
Can’t Stay the Same
Z
Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
At Your Funeral

Say Anything

Say Anything

Say Anything occupied Best Buy Theater’s stage between 8:15 and 9:15PM. The six-piece, with The Starting Line’s Kenny Vasoli filling in on bass, played fourteen songs across their entire discography, digging all the way back to their first full-length, Baseball, with “Colorblind”. Though Say Anything brought intensity to the stage and routinely engaged the crowd, the Max Bemis-fronted project lacked the songs to back the band’s otherwise ferocious punch. Say Anything’s catalog ranges from trite and uninteresting (“Woe”), at best, to downright grating (“Wow, I Can Get Sexual, Too”). Luckily, the band did spend a few minutes of their hour-long set with Chris Conley covering “Crawl”, a track recorded earlier in the year by the Bemis/Conley collaboration Two Tongues. Former bassist Alex Kent returned for …Is a Real Boy leadoff “Belt”, wrapping up Say Anything’s time on stage.

Crush’d
Little Girls
Woe
Baby Girl, I’m a Blur
Less Cute
Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat
Alive With the Glory of Love
Crawl (Two Tongues cover)
Wow… I Can Get Sexual, Too
Spay Me
She Won’t Follow You
Colorblind
Do Better
Belt

Motion City Soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack

After a short set change, Motion City Soundtrack began with “The Weakends”, the song’s instrumental introduction building excitement in the crowd, finally boiling over with frontman Justin Pierre’s clever lyrics and equally quirky demeanor: “Quicksand is a coat of arms / looseleaf and some liquid fiction / Last Rites every Friday night / am I weaker with the lights on?” It was the next song, though — longtime favorite “The Future Freaks Me Out” — that brought the audience to full attention with enormous hooks and commanding vocals.

Motion City Soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack

“Capital H”, another standout track from the excellent I am the Movie, kept things rolling for Motion City Soundtrack. The five-piece sounded as strong as ever, and, with a healthy Pierre leading the charge, made a case for perhaps their best performance to date in New York City. Exhibits A and B: new cuts “Pulp Fiction” and “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”, two My Dinosaur Life songs performed flawlessly live. Lesser seen songs, like “Point of Extinction” and “Perfect Teeth”, illustrate the difficulty in picking out a Motion City Soundtrack setlist: their discography is packed with distinguished punk-pop romps. Fleshed out songs like “Hold Me Down” showcase the band’s thicker, slower sound, while the set-closing “My Favorite Accident” exemplified the band’s lighter, simple-synth-driven sound.

Motion City Soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack’s encore began with a surprise that excited parts of the crowd while simultaneously leaving hordes of teenage girls in the dark: Nine Inch Nails’s “Head Like a Hole”. With thundering bass and rattling drums, the Minneapolis natives delivered a respectable rendition of one of Trent Reznor’s finest songs. Of course, Motion City Soundtrack didn’t leave their massive teenage fanbase hungry, treating New York City to one of their best (and undeniably most popular) songs, “Everything is Alright”, to finish the evening at 10:45.

The Weakends
The Future Freaks Me Out
This Is For Real
Capital H
Attractive Today
Pulp Fiction
LG Fuad
Broken Heart
Time Turned Fragile
Point Of Extinction
Perfect Teeth
Her Words Destroyed My Planet
A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)
Last Night
Hold Me Down
My Favorite Accident
Head Like a Hole (Nine Inch Nails cover)
Disappear
Everything is Alright

Dignified sets from A Great Big Pile of Leaves and Saves the Day warmed the Best Buy Theater crowd, but it was Motion City Soundtrack — armed with more than hour of time on stage — that delivered the night’s finest performance. Performing nineteen songs across each of the their full-length albums, it’s tough for anyone to outshine Motion City Soundtrack. With a stellar live show built on a vigorous touring schedule, and the release of one of 2010′s best records, it’s hard to see Motion City Soundtrack slowing down any time soon. Everything is alright.

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One Response to Motion City Soundtrack / Say Anything / Saves the Day / A Great Big Pile of Leaves @ NYC 11/9/2010

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