I went into the Motion City Soundtrack show at the Gramercy Theatre expecting to relive a special part of my life. Having been a fan of the band in my high school years, they hold a nostalgic place in my heart. Honestly, I just like to dance and have a good time, and I knew that they were the band that would let me do just that.
After being blown away by the opener—New Jersey’s acoustic dance-rock group the Front Bottoms—I knew that I was in for a good night. The band tore through an energy-filled set that drew quite a crowd, and some kids were there simply to see them. They came dangerously close to stealing the show.
After what seemed like a yearlong set change, comedian Doug Benson unexpectedly appeared, telling jokes and getting the crowd going. He even took a moment to mock some concertgoers, saying things like, “Do you have a urinary tract infection and hate things that taste good?” to a girl drinking gin and cranberry.
Motion City Soundtrack took the stage immediately following, to a wild, sold-out crowd, consisting mostly of surprisingly older, long-time fans of the band. Playing a perfect combination of old songs and new, fans pushed around and crowded the stage, eating out of the palm of singer Justin Pierre’s hand. The set consisted of what Pierre said was about 75% requests.
The night’s highlights came in the form of the band’s older tunes, such as “Hangman,” “My Favorite Accident,” and the crowd pleaser “Let’s Get Fucked Up And Die.” The crowd screamed the lyrics back so loudly that it was hard to hear the band. The crowd got a little too rowdy for comfort at certain points, so Pierre came to save the day, looking out for the tinier fans.
“Make sure you look out for the little guy if everyone starts dancing around,” he explained, later stating that he was a little one himself. Being a little guy myself, I found this to be particularly endearing—especially because everyone did start dancing around, creating a hot, sweaty mess. The venue was so humid that Pierre’s gravity-defying hair seemed to have deflated before our very eyes.
Closing their set with hits “Everything Is Alright” and “Hold Me Down,” and then an encore including “The Future Freaks Me Out,” it felt more like being in a dancehall than at a show. The atmosphere of the set really did bring me back to my high school years, just like I had envisioned, proving not only that Motion City Soundtrack has grown with me, but that they still know how to get down.
All photos by Alix Piorun.