Motion City Soundtrack

w/ Mae, Sugarcult, Cartel

As part of the 2008 Soundwave festival tour, the festival organised several "side wave" shows which involved several of the bands from the tour teaming up and playing club shows in between festival dates.


Canberra was a bit lucky that things fell their way, Soundwave had five days off between the Sydney and Melbourne shows and a lot of bands in the touring vans were looking to paly a show or two on the way to Melbourne, hello Canberra. So Tuesday night the University of Canberra was hosting Motion City Soundtrack from the USA, but along for the show they brought three other punk acts from their homeland Mae, Sugarcult and Cartel.


I thought heading along it was going to be an interesting gig, mostly because it being was a midweek show, and although there were 4 international acts, most of them do not have a huge following in Australia. Walking into the gig I was fairly surprised, as I felt as though I was the one of only a few people there over 18, and it wasn't hard to spot them, as the majority of the venue was empty.


So I joined my fellow legal drinkers that I could count on one hand in the bar area were I caught the end of Mae, a rock band from Virginia. They were the first band up, and had a few diehards up front but put together a strong performance, and managed to keep the attention of the crowd in the room. As with many of the bands tonight it was their first time in Australia though,


After a bit of a break the next band up was Sugarcult, a band I had first heard about a few years ago as the "next big thing" after having a couple of pop punk radio hits in the united states, but not heard a whole lot since. But they kept the kids happy with a high energy show, with plenty interacting with crowd in between songs. They would have picked up a few tips in the past; they supported Blink182 on thief final European tour before breaking up, and also toured with Green Day on their American Idiot tour. They also have 6 albums under their belt, which almost all got featured tonight on their debut Australia tour, but made sure they included Bouncing Off The Walls and Memory into the set.


After another fairly lengthy break, Cartel hit the stage with an anxious crowd that had slowly been growing. They started with a bang, I was expecting another pop punk act, but these guys had a strong sound with aggressive edge. So after the first couple of songs I was expecting a bit of a change in style, to see what else they could do, however that never came, and overall they ended up being not all that memorable. I mean its one thing to see a band live, but I think I would struggle to get through an album of these guys. But they are fairly new on the scene and have only 2 albums to date; one of them was made in the concept "band in a bubble". Some of you may remember a few years ago Regurgitator living for a couple of weeks in a "bubble" which became a house and recording studio smack bang in the middle of federation square Melbourne, with every room being open for the public to view. Well the Americans thought this was a great idea, and Cartel were the guinea pigs for a few weeks in New York City as they recorded their most recent self titled album their last year .


Then by the time our final band hit the stage, the crowd suddenly had grown, it seemed seeing the support acts wasn't too hip, with a hundred or so kids rushing in from outside the venue once they heard Motion City Soundtrack were about to start. Having seen these guys a few years ago on their first Australian tour with MxPX, it would be interesting to see how they would grace the stage as a headliner and 2 more albums worth of material to work into their set. They did not disappoint, playing a number of tracks off their latest album Even If It Kills Me with many of the young fans singing along to their single this is for real which has been getting a fair bit of airplay on a broad range or radio and TV shows. I often explain these guys as a punk band with a keyboardist and their keyboard players has to get a special mention. Not only did he barely fit his huge keyboard on the stage with the other four band members, and it's a big call but he has the worst haircut in rock music today. I just didn't get it, it was almost like a young Boy George but with a backwards mullet, it is just beyond explanation.


The average age of the concert goers was really showing at this point, as it headed towards midnight many groups of teens rushed outside on their phones, turns out there was a car park full of awaiting parents giving their kids and their friends lifts home. After the set passed the hour mark they started laying out some of the fan favourites Everything is alright, Capital Z before finishing their set off with The Future Freaks Me Out.


Overall it was a decent show, a great opportunity to see check out some new bands. However, an all ages show on Tuesday night was always going to affect the amount of people showing up, add the fact that most of these bands are relatively unknown in this country. With 4 bands on the bill too, quick changeover between bands would be important too. This was definitely not the case, with the most bands only playing 30 minutes, and in some cases took over 30 minutes setting up for the next act. Just badly planned, as there we almost spent more time to watch the roadie and sound guys than watching of bands. Oh well, we do it all again tomorrow night, this time with a metal selection from soundwave, and according to the security tonight, they are expecting a much "busier" night.

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