Show Review: Envy on the Coast, Anberlin & Taking Back Sunday [The House of Blues, Boston]

June 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm 1 comment

Last night, I went to see Envy on the Coast, Anberlin and Taking Back Sunday at the House of Blues. It was my first time seeing a show at this venue since it has reopened as the HOB, after previously being the Avalon. I was excited to see what they had done to the place, which had been where I saw my very first rock show- Maxeen, Sugarcult and Reel Big Fish- over five years, thirty-five shows and hundreds of dollars ago.

I was impressed with the venue they’ve created. They kept the basic layout the same, except they added a top tier balcony (both balconies are 21+) and the stage seemed much bigger. The good news was that, even though this show was sold out, I didn’t at all feel claustrophobic or like I couldn’t get out off the floor if I wanted to. The venue seemed much cleaner than it had been back in the Avalon days, and there’s pretty gold artwork on the walls and around the stage.

Now we get to the good part: the actual show. I had heard of both opening acts but didn’t really know much of their music. For whatever reason, I had thought that Envy on the Coast was another poppy scene band (the name, maybe?), but I was pleasantly surprised when their singer Ryan Hunter (and his dreadlocks) emerged from backstage and started hitting notes not unlike Rody Walker (Protest the Hero). They also had a guitarist (slash keyboardist…and clad in denim capris), Sal Bossio, whose voice complemented Hunter’s quite well. The combination reminded me a lot of Cedric Bixler-Zavala (The Mars Volta)’s stylings, which is never a bad thing.

EOTC’s music wasn’t typical of the scene, but I could still see how it fit in with the TBS crowd. I waited to see if the rest of their songs would sound the same as their opener, and a few did…but I still enjoyed their set nevertheless. The weakest point was definitely when they played a new song, which sounded too much like an attempt to be Sevendust (just because you have the dreads doesn’t mean you’re Lajon Witherspoon!). Other than that, however, this band kept my interest and made me download their album this morning to see how they sound recorded.

Next was Anberlin, who also put on an energetic set. I wasn’t a huge fan of their vocalist, Stephen Christian…not that he was bad, necessarily, he was just extremely loud, to the point where he was equal to, if not louder than, the guitars, bass, drums and keyboards combined. His voice was very sharp sounding…and there were times when he held out long high notes and I cringed, waiting to see if he would get down off them properly. I commend the entire band, however, for putting on a very entertaining live show and for making the wait for TBS a little less painful than it might have been.

Taking Back Sunday obviously stole the show, and rightfully so. The Long Island natives are iconic with this crowd, best known for their debut album Tell All Your Friends, which has become a staple in every scene kid’s collection since it’s release in 2002. The album’s snotty yet clever lyrics delivered in screaming dual vocals from frontman Adam Lazarra and then-guitarist John Nolan are recited like Bible verses in the scene. It was no surprise, then, that the band played many old favorites, including “Timberwolves at New Jersey,” “You’re So Last Summer” and their undoubtedly most famous cut, “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team).”

But this tour happened for a reason, and that was to promote the band’s new album, appropriately titled New Again. The band has seen several lineup changes since Tell All Your Friends and has changed their sound as well, while still producing songs that please many (but not all) diehard fans.  The new songs sounded great live, however, especially “Lonely, Lonely,” “Carpathia,” “Sink Into Me” and the album’s title track.

The set was also nicely peppered with songs from their last release, Louder Now (side note: did ANYBODY like Where You Want to Be? I lost the CD years ago, before I could even listen to it…and both times I’ve seen TBS, they play nearly nothing from that record…) including “Liar, Liar,” “Spin” and set-closer “MakeDamnSure.” Lazzara put on a great show, as always, even if he seems to be showing his age more and more (28 is considered old for these guys!).

Getting to see him swing his mic around his neck in person was worth it.

Overall show rating: A-


Entry filed under: Opinion, Show Review: Grade A, SHOW REVIEWS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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