The iconic emo-rock band known as Taking Back Sunday performed in the heart of New York City last Thursday, March 19th. Post-hardcore newcomers letlive. and indie punk rockers the Menzingers shared the stage with the Long Island band at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.
The Best Buy Theater is an absolute beauty located in the tourist trap of the Big Apple. Despite the lack of phone reception in the multiple rooms of the venue, it stands as one of the best venues I have ever been to for a concert. The escalators bring you down to a blue-covered hallway, where you will find yourself lurking ever so slowly, trying to figure out where the stage is. There is a coat check, a concession stand, and a lounge. The bathroom is downright gorgeous and clean.
First on stage was letlive. Letlive.’s set consisted of vintage lamps placed in random areas on stage. The post-hardcore band from Los Angeles, California blew me away. Vocalist Jason Butler and bandmates performed an 8-track set filled with screams, gratitude, mic swings, sweat, and circle pits. Butler began pouring water onto himself in the second song entitled “That Fear Fever.” He gave a heart-warming speech about mothers and then threatened those who would ever touch a woman the wrong way. Behind all the screaming and taking-off-the-shirt, Butler is truly a humble person.
Next on stage was the Menzingers. Comprised of four men, the Menzingers performed a much softer set than that of letlive. While there was still screaming, this band’s music is something I can listen to on a daily basis. The Philadelphia band performed a 13-track set featuring songs from their albums, Rented World and On The Impossible Past.
Finally, the alt emo icons of the 2000s graced the stage. Taking Back Sunday performed a glorious set of 22 songs that tugged on great memories of the decade with hits like “A Decade Under the Influence” and “You Know How I Do.” TBS performed “Flicker, Fade,” which is a song off of their Happiness Is album. It begins with an acoustic guitar opening, leading to a loud dynamic with bold rockin’ parts. They also performed “Better Homes and Gardens,” which is a much more hard-hitting track than its ambient counterparts on the album.
Taking Back Sunday’s set consisted of three large screens that portrayed an array of visuals. Drummer Mark O’Connell was elevated on top of the middle screen, which was a good idea, considering that drummers usually hide in the back. While frontman Adam Lazzara’s vocals were far too raspy, guitarist John Nolan could still hold a note. And yes, while it’s true that some singers can no longer hit the higher parts of a song that was recorded years ago, it was a little disappointing to see and hear Lazzara not trying hard enough. However, Lazzara nailed his parts with a solid vocal delivery during “MakeDamnSure,” which happened to be the final song of the night.
I’ve seen Taking Back Sunday three times, and I will continue to see them perform whenever they come back to their home state. It was a satisfying night with an amazing band. The set list of the night is as follows: 1. “Preface”; 2. “Flicker, Fade”; 3. “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?”; 4. “Number Five with a Bullet”; 5. “How I Met Your Mother”; 6. “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)”; 7. “Stood a Chance”; 8. “Timberwolves at New Jersey”; 9. “You Got Me”; 10. “Ghost Man on Third”; 11. “A Decade Under the Influence”; 12. “Bonus Mosh Pt. II”; 13. “Faith (When I Let You Down)”; 14. “Spin”; 15. “You’re So Last Summer”; 16. “Better Homes and Gardens”; 17. “Error: Operator”; 18. “You Know How I Do”; 19. “It Takes More.” The encore included: 20. “Call Me in the Morning”; 21. “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)”; 22. “MakeDamnSure.”