After having read the Wikipedia entry for midlife crisis, I think The Get Up Kids might be right in the middle of theirs. They have a “desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness,” might have a “sense of remorse for goals not accomplished,” and exhibit “a fear of humiliation amongst more successful colleagues.” However, they haven’t bought a sportscar yet, so their latest tour might just be a reconstruction of their core ideals and not a midlife crisis after all.
Their new songs are clearly an attempt to reach out to a new, younger audience–though that younger audience was relegated to the balcony of Neumo‘s on Wednesday, they enjoyed the songs at first. As it got later in the evening, they stopped dancing and started leaving. By the end of the set, about twenty under-21 patrons remained. You couldn’t really blame them, they didn’t know the words to the old songs or the new songs. They didn’t have the emotional connection to the band that the old folks did.
The hand stamp crowd on the floor enjoyed the hell out of every other song. The Get Up Kids mixed their new material in with the old to give us a break from dancing, I assume. There were a smattering of people that kept up their enthusiasm for the new songs, but most were just waiting to sing along with their hands in the air again. When a song from the first two albums was played, however, the audience came alive. Even when they chose a song from the last two records, the crowd was more enthusiastic than for the new material.
It must be tough to be in this position as a band. They undoubtedly want to progress and evolve, but they simply can’t. Honestly, Get Up Kids fans tend to get a little crazy. For example, one gentleman was overheard talking about how the band “changed his life.” When the band launched into a well known chorus, the front half of the floor was pointing to the sky, smiling and singing loud enough to regret it the next day. This kind of fanaticism must be both exhilarating and exhausting to see every night. It’s no wonder the band spent some time in retirement before coming back last year.
Now that they’re back, it remains to be seen if they’ll stay. They’re visibly enjoying themselves, but while most people survive their midlife crises, bands rarely do. In the meantime, us old folks will keep going to their shows and singing along with the songs we know and love. These newfangled electronic songs will probably just remain our rest breaks.