February 14, 2004
The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA


From Autumn To Ashes
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Well, all the facts are in and it has been confirmed that the rumors are true. “Punk” circa 2004 is the equivalent of “Metal” circa 1988. It's so watered down and harmless that it's the natural choice for the kids who want to appear to have a mind of their own and not worship the bubble gum gods. Where Poison was the “heavy” option to New Kids On The Block, nowadays, bands like MxPx and Sugarcult are the cool option to Justina. I've got to say that I'd probably be in this crowd if I were in my mid-teens today. Still, I felt curmudgeonly here.

From Autumn To Ashes was the closest to the real thing, but they were more metal than anything else. They carried the attitude, confronted security guards and thrashed around with enough angst to satisfy any OZZfest crowd. The group had tons of energy but I couldn't remember a single song 15-minutes later.

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Sugarcult , on the other hand, was pure Hollywood. They dressed the part and cultivated their image well, but the music was hollow at best. Judging from their oh-so-punk lyrics, the guys have trouble with the girls. To cheer them up, in the timeless teen manner, the girls in the audience shrieked back as if they could change these bad boys opinions if given the chance. It was almost quaint. It was also clear that Sugarcult missed the memo with the warning on how cliché, trite and out of date it is to (gently I might add) smash your instruments at the end of the show. It was no more believable than the choreography from an old Whitesnake video.


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It was clear (and fast) why MxPx was the headliner tonight. They deserved to be. While their sound didn't seem to go back any further than Green Day's heyday, that was okay. At this show, that's as classic as it comes. They rocked without seeming fake, leaped convincingly on cue, seemed for real and played strong power pop that might even last longer than 6 months. That's a major accomplishment. I appreciated it.

(Chris McKay /


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