Watching My Teenage Stride perform feels eerily like watching your boyfriend’s high school band play a gig with his buddies. The Brooklyn band’s sound and style—riff-based angst garage rock—would be at home in a parent’s basement, which may in the end be more comfortable for the band members. “Every show for me is like going to the cafeteria in high school,” the talkative vocalist/guitarist told his fluctuating crowd at the first installment of this summer’s Sound Bites Summer Series.

The band set up shop across from Pier 17 in Manhattan and played a short set of almost indistinguishable songs with names like “Theme For Teenage Suicide” that revealed a fascination with high school that goes above and beyond whatever the band’s name might suggest. What happened to these guys back then, and why are they so hung up on it?

Maybe it’s a gimmick. That would explain the “GERMAN MEASLES OK” button pinned to the vocalist’s suit jacket, or even his bare feet on on a New York City street. That would explain too his rather self-deprecating banter between songs (“Sorry, I haven’t clipped my toenails in a while,” he joked early the set). Maybe, though, MTS really is the same band it must have been in high school. The guitars are still covered with stickers, the drummer still wears a yellow skinny tie with his shorts and the vocalist isn’t easy to understand but yelps a lot à la Born Ruffians. In that case, the most legible lyric from My Teenage Stride’s set just about sums up the members’ post-adolescent angst: “Too old to die young.”

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