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Concert Review: The Get Up Kids at The Clubhouse in Tempe

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There was something very telling about the two songs The Get Up Kids chose to open their encore at last night's packed Clubhouse Music Venue show in Tempe. On one hand, it was odd to hear covers of The Cure's "Close To Me" and The Replacements' "Beer For Breakfast" get some of the loudest applause of the night, considering the occasion, a reunion tied to the re-release of the band's classic album Something To Write Home About. On the other hand, it made perfect sense since (depending on how you figure it) the band's collection of b-sides, covers and rarities, Eudora, may be the Kids' highest charting record.

More than record sales though, The Get Up Kids choice of covers did a perfect job of staking out the turf their influential brand of 90s emo occupied. What are the Get Up Kids -- and other midwestern indie acts of the era like The Anniversary and Hey Mercedes -- but the perfect blend of Robert Smith's melodrama and Paul Westerberg's power chords? Though I'd personally prefer to have heard the Kids play Motley Crue's "On With The Show" and The Pixies "Alec Eiffel," it's hard to imagine two other songs so perfectly capturing the essence of the band. Just listen to "I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel," and claim not to hear it.

In the years since their rise to low-level fame The Get Up Kids have been associated with all sorts of critically-maligned acts: Blink 182's singer proposed to his wife using a GUK song and Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz said his band wouldn't exist without them, which seems to be what the band's guitarist was talking about when he said "If this is the world we helped create, then I apologize." Yet, even in reunion tour form, it wasn't hard to see how the band's poppy licks, intense vocals and impressive sense of urgency could be so influential on so many bands. Working their way through Something To Write Home About songs like "Red Letter Day," the band demonstrated their knack for crafting the sort of pop songs that'll endure for a decade or more, at least for people who first experienced them during their formative years.

As stagedivers -- none of them appearing to be under 25, but all bouncing around like teenagers -- took turns hopping in to the crowd during the closer, "Ten Minutes," it was hard to fault The Get Up Kids for anything -- even the lineup at last Saturday's guyliner extravaganza, Fall Frenzy.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: The Get Up Kids at The Clubhouse

Better Than: Any Blink 182 show ever played.

Personal Bias: Like much of the rest of the crowd, I've been a fan since college.

Random Fact: GUK singer Matt Pryor is the man behind children's ground The Terrible Twos.

Further Listening: The Anniversary's Designing A Nervous Breakdown, the greatest emo album of all time and one of the best albums of the era.

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