99X Fat Tuesday
(featuring LIT, Jimmy Eat World, and Pete Yorn)
Tuesday February 12, 2002
The Tabernacle-Atlanta, GA
First of all, I'm not a fan of so-called "modern" rock. So imagine my surprise to have actually enjoyed all 3 bands on this bill! The stars aligned just right because that's exactly what happened. Pete Yorn opened the show with a mumbled, low energy set that was saved by the quality of the songs. Pete seemed like he had a bit of a sore throat as he did his best Springsteen for the new era schtick, but he pulled it off. A mid-set cover of "Atlantic City" was not a surprise, but the cool closer was a little more odd. Yorn ended with a song that David Bowie made famous, "China Girl," but he did it more along the lines of Iggy Pop's original version. Of course, he added a little more twang. It was quite convincing. The audience responded best to Pete's hits "For Nancy" and "Life On A Chain," but who would've expected less at a radio promo concert?
(To see more pics of Pete Yorn, click here.)
Pete Yorn set list as written (2-12-02)
2. Strange Condition
5. Sleep Better
(6. Atlantic City)
(10. China Girl)
Between acts, the 99X DJ's were live on the air in a booth in the first balcony being as smarmy and irritating as we all know them to be. Headliners LIT stopped by for a chat during the first intermission and they were remarkably more amusing than the announcers. After ten or so minutes, the band stood around signing autographs and talking to overly excited fans.
Jimmy Eat World:
Jimmy Eat Worldwas the biggest surprise of the night for me. "Emo" as a genre is my current most hated marketing scheme and these guys are right in "the middle" of it (no pun intended and yet I got one anyway). However, their live show was more reminiscent of '80s new wave and power pop (depending on whether the given song had the girl playing keyboards and singing harmony or not).
On one hand, "Bleed American" was a hard rocker, while "To Me This Is Heaven" was dynamic and moody in all the right ways. It just proved that the band has more to offer than "Lucky Denver Mint" and current audience favorite "The Middle." The band didn't have much stage presence, though and after "Sweetness," the crowd's attention swept back up to the interview booth.
This time, Papa Roach showed up in the interview chairs. While they weren't on the bill and didn't play, they were apparently in town mixing their new record with Brendan O'Brien and couldn't resist the opportunity to come out and do some plugging. The vocalist formerly known as Coby Dick (he now prefers Coby Jacoby) was sporting multi-colored hair and seemed the polar opposite of his pained, violent stage persona. He actually seemed like a cheerfully awkard adolescent who thinks he's witty. While his humor was juvenile, it made him fit right in with the DJ's. The other members of Papa Roach mostly sat around in silence, occasionally adding an aside. After their autograph signing, it was back to the wings for them. Up on the stage, former Marvelous 3 front man Butch Walker arrived with a hideous man in drag. While Butch promised a major label solo record coming soon, the mustachioed queen threw Mardis Gras beads into the crowd. Then the drag-on mooned the crowd (God, I wish I hadn't been up front for that) and picked up Butch in an attempt to get the ex-Marv 3 member to show his "tits." As he lifted his shirt, beads rained down on the stage from all corners of the audience and Butch got to the business at hand by introducing the headliners.
LITstormed out on stage and delivered a full throttle, high energy set completely devoid of the pretense of most modern acts. Opening with "Something To Someone," these guys just wanted to rock. With the spirit of early Van Halen conjured, they ran through a surprisingly potent mix of catchy songs from their three albums. Tossing off arena rock moves like veterans of the hairspray and spandex wars, LIT was loud and immensely fun to watch. The sing-a-long on "Miserable" was deafening. There was something more than vaguely Cheap Trick-like in their musical delivery on songs like "Lipstick And Bruises" and "Over My Head." Perhaps it was the mix of humor, harmony and muscular heavy guitar that made me feel like they were going to bust into "Dream Police" at any given moment. Who cares?
This was fun and I found myself re-living feelings that I had in my early concert going days. Honestly, there's nothing modern about LIT. Seeing them live proves that. The songs are more timeless and memorable than other bands of today. These guys are just old-fashioned rock stars who happen to be around now. The amazing thing is that people are responding positively. One feel of the shaking balcony during "My Own Worst Enemy" can underline that for any non-believers.
After LIT, I figured I'd quit while ahead. Downstairs in the Cotton Club, Default was starting to crank out their radio friendly sludge, but I preferred to leave with the memory of the big arena rock, arms raised, amps to eleven, ears ringing onslaught that I had just witnessed upstairs to keep me awake for the drive home. From what I heard from outside, I made the right choice. (Chris McKay/concertshots.com)
(To see more pics of LIT along with a review, click here.)