The line outside the State Theatre for Motion City Soundtracks headlining show on Saturday night reminded me of a high school pep rally. You had every clique in the school you could possibly imagine and even a few of the teachers and administrators. They all gathered together for one event to show off their spirit, text their friends, make some noise and have a little fun. Unfortunately Fun — the musical love child of The Formats Nate Ruess, Steel Trains Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost (formerly of Anthallo) — had an illness and was unable to play the April 24 show. [MSS picture below not from the show.]
Clearwater-based quintet WD-Han, which stands for "we do not have a name," earned an opening slot for the show after winning the Pasco County Library Battle of the Bands. They kicked off the night with Spencer Barnes soulful vocals and a slinky set of alt rock. Minneapolis-based Sing It Loud followed with an energetic seven-song set featuring songs from their sophomore Epitaph Records release Everything Collide as well as a rousing cover of the Foo Fighters "Monkey Wrench." A Rocket to the Moon rounded out the openers and mostly played it cool, choosing to work their charm to get the sweaty crowd of teenage girls singing in harmony to their eight-song set of melodic lovesick rockers.
But all of that was just a vocal warm-up for the main event punk-pop fivesome Motion City Soundtrack. The lights dimmed and the band members filtered onto the stage around 9:45 p.m. to the shrieks and howls of an eager crowd. Frontman Justin Pierre eased into the opening verse of "Worker Bee," the opening track to their 2010 Colombia debut, My Dinosaur Life. Its been a good year, a good new beginning, he crooned under a lone spotlight. Good year indeed Dinosaurs held strong with an impressive 83 rating on Metacritic since its release in January.