The Get Up Kids will be at Neumo‘s on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Doors are at 7 p.m., tickets are available for $21 in advance, and the show is all ages.
Emo wasn’t always the maligned subgenre of punk that it is today. In the mid ’80s, East Coast hardcore punk bands begin to tire of being angry all the time. In fact, they started to feel downright sad about it. Bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace had people crying at their shows and musicians were realizing their music could have a power to inspire people to feel something other than anger.
About thirteen years after Rites of Spring and Embrace broke up, the genre was popularized and summarily ruined. While emo songs were always melodramatic, they became comically so. Bands like My Chemical Romance started wearing eyeliner and dyeing their hair black, brushing it to the side in a precursor to the world’s next Celine Dion, Justin Bieber. Yet just before this mainstream explosion, the genre was at its peak and producing some amazing bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, The Promise Ring, and Texas is the Reason.
The Get Up Kids appeared on the scene in 1997 and straddled the line between underground and mainstream just enough to keep their indie credibility. A couple years after forming and releasing their debut on Doghouse Records (whose Doghouse 50 compilation first introduced me to the band), the Kansas City, Missouri, quartet was signed by a tiny label called Vagrant Records and went on to make that label an indie household name. However, they never really broke into the mainstream.
Fans of The Get Up Kids often explain this in a simple way–their first two studio records were awesome, the last two… not so much. Four Minute Mile and Something to Write Home About are albums filled with songs that make you want to sing along because you feel the same things they do. The songs rock out when they need to and scale it back to create the proper tension when they’re supposed to. My sister and I wore our voices out on I-5 express lanes singing along to Something to Write Home About on the way to work many times. However, with On A Wire and Guilt Show, The Get Up Kids toned it down and lost all of their soul. There are a couple flashes of decency, but the records just don’t have the same emotion, and that’s what this genre is all about.
After a couple years off, the band started working on new material in 2009. While touring for Guilt Show, the band looked like they hated each other and played like it was their job. I saw them last year and, with the crowd singing along, the band was smiling and actually moving around the stage. Now a new record is on the way this year, and they are back in town to sing along with us again. The new songs on There are Rules are decidedly more electronic and will probably appeal to the all-ages balcony section, while us old folks are on the floor waiting to sing along to the old material. Check out this track from the upcoming release, warm up your voices, and come out to the show.