Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre might as well have given his mic to the audience.
For practically the entire concert night (March 8), Justin screamed his way through the 18-song set culled from the indie group’s five albums.
Not that the band members seemed to mind the commotion around the stage. Justin did say in a preconcert interview with the Inquirer: “That energy coming from the audience, that’s something I crave.”
Those who crammed themselves up front at Justin’s feet, certainly satisfied that craving. They sang every note, every word of every number performed in the 90-minute gig. They head-banged when Jesse Johnson, one of the most energetic keyboardists we’ve ever seen, jumped to the edge of the stage, shaking the sweat and spittle from his bearded face.
Midway through, Justin couldn’t help himself. “Holy (expletive),” he exclaimed, “you guys are amazing, seriously. “You’re one of the loudest audiences we’ve ever had.” The SM Skydome crowd exploded.
The drums, the amped guitars, Justin’s voice, the hysteria were overpowering. It was unfortunate that the finer points of MCS’ music wasn’t appreciable in this live performance. Indie and angst-ridden as it may seem, MCS music is thoughtfully and cleverly put together and arranged, owing much to the members’ collective musical experience (they have been recording and touring, mostly in the United States, for over 11 years).
That was fine with the fans, who had likely heard enough through CDs and YouTube clips, and. All they wanted now was to see in the flesh Joshua Cain (guitar), Johnson, Matthew Taylor (bass), Tony Thaxton (drums), and Justin—he with the dark-rimmed glasses and distinctive mussed-up hair, like the scientist Flint Lockwood in the animated movie “Cloudy With the Chance of Meatballs.”
At one point, Justin said: “I don’t usually like talking in between songs… I ate this wonderful fish dish a while ago—what was it called? (He turned to his bandmates.) Milkfish?” The crowd started chanting, “Bangus! Bangus!” Looking puzzled, Justin said, “Whatever, it was delicious!”
The quintet served up a buffet of fan favorites—“Her Words Destroyed My Planet,” “The Future Freaks Me Out,” “The Coma Kid,” “When You’re Around,” “Broken Heart,” “A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help),” “Last Night,” “Timelines,” “L.G. FUAD (Let’s Get F— up and Die),” “This Is For Real,” “Attractive Today,” “True Romance,” “Point of Extinction,” “Everything is Alright,” “Modern Chemistry,” and as an encore, “Disappear” “My Favorite Accident,” “Hold Me Down.”
A fan managed to give Justin what looked like a small toy monkey. The frontman, visibly amused, taped the toy to his mic stand. The “Flint Lockwood-Steve the Monkey” picture was complete. It didn’t rain meatballs, but there was a hurricane of meaty, self-loathing lyrics from this good-natured, newly married guy.
Will Justin’s new status change Motion City Soundtrack’s sound or perspective? Only time, and maybe the next album, will tell.
Promising rock group
Earlier, up-and-coming local indie rock band She’s Only Sixteen worked up the crowd with original compositions “Whatever That Was,” “Amore,” “Dying to Meet You,” and “Walrus.”
Composed of Roberto Seña (stage singer-couple Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez’s son) in lead vocals, Anjo Silvoza on bass, Andrew Panopio on lead guitar, and King Puentespina on drums, She’s Only Sixteen energetically used the stage to show why music pundits have given it their vote of confidence.
The band channeled its influences The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead. Justin gave SOS a thumbs-up.
Photos by Tessa R. Salazar