UPROXX @ SXSW: Motion City Soundtrack At Clive Bar

I like Motion City Soundtrack’s music, but not enough to know my cues.

That’s one of the weirdest things about seeing bands like this — every person there is already a huge fan, knows every word to every song, and knows when they should yell HEY HEY or WOO or a full couplet whenever the lead singer points at them. That sort of interactivity between performer and audience is great, and doesn’t happen at, say, Fiona Apple. Fiona doesn’t sing, “I’ve been careless with” and point the mic at the crowd so we can yell A DELICATE MAN in unison.

That being said, Motion City Soundtrack never uses it as a crutch. I remember seeing them wedged between Saves The Day and Say Anything at Stubb’s a while back, and Max Bemis of Say Anything would stop and instruct the audience to finish nearly every line he sang. In contrast, MCS’s “Everything Is Alright” is nearly built around these moments, using the crowd as a sort of punctuation mark to keep the song moving at the proper pace. We become a supplementary instrument, or at least the slight of hand necessary to allow them to catch a breath.

Meanwhile, I’m just kinda standing there going, “Heh, yeah!” while everybody screams I FEEL JUST FIIIINE. Maybe I’m just bad at remembering the lyrics.

Motion City was a nice cap on an otherwise shifty night at Clive Bar. The two bands that went on before them were just the worst –a Brooklyn band A Great Big Pile Of Leaves felt like a slowed-down loop of ‘Hey Sandy’ from ‘The Adventures of Pete and Pete’ (especially with Andrew W.K. having just happened across the street), and even worse were Brick + Mortar, who are okay in their role as the house’s White Stripes attempt but spent about 40% of their set worrying about the tech crew. They stopped in the middle of two different songs to be upset about something. Not the kind of feeling you want as you approach a 1 AM show.

Regardless, the downtime let me practice my cues. I’ll be ready for the next show. Everything will be all right.