All American Rejects @ Roseland Ballroom, NYC

Live Reviews | Nov 17th, 2005

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Opening Bands: The Academy Is, Rooney
Date: November 12th 2005
Venue: Roseland Ballroom, NYC

The temperature is starting to drop in New York City nowadays. Still, it is bustling with people, noise, and lights. The streets were particularly loud and crowded when the All-American Rejects came to the Roseland Ballroom to play last Saturday. The line to get in went around the block.

Once inside, the appearance of the Roseland Ballroom is quite shocking if you have never gone there before. When one hears the word ballroom’, they may think of an extremely large, lavish hall with elevated seats for its guests. On the contrary, the Roseland Ballroom has a bar, a balcony that wraps around the stage on three walls, and a rather plain-looking stage. Regardless, it’s about the bands, not the venue.

Speaking of bands, last Saturday had one hell of a line up: The Academy Is…, Rooney, and the All-American Rejects. People sat on black benches along the walls or on the floor, waiting for some sign of the music they had come to hear. If not sitting, people were at the bar, by the merch table, or grabbing themselves a good place to stand and enjoy the show.

The first of the bands to take charge of the stage was The Academy Is… Red spotlights flashed onto the band, bringing the audience’s attention to a fever pitch, with only a simple, black backdrop behind them. Now, The Academy Is…is more of the pop-punk genresadly, this meant many, many pre-teen girls screaming as if the Backstreet Boys were still together. Instead of screaming for Nick Carter, though, they screamed for the TAI frontman, William Beckett, whose outfit I only wished I has thought of to wear first. Strutting and shaking his hips across the stage and lifting up his shirt every once in a while sure got the crowd to jump, clap, scream, and sing along.

Okay, enough of the vocalist’s flamboyance. It feels almost wrong considering that, even for a pop indie band, they were uniquely catchy. The band’s overall stage presence was really impressive, as well. When William tells you to “dance your fucking ass off”, you really want to do it. Their drummer was also on the energetic side, thrashing his head in time with his drum sticks. The guitarists and bassist, however, stood more off to the side, playing their instruments with the slightest of head bobs. They were also pretty good with their fans, standing by their merch table to say a few hellos.

Next was good ol’ Rooney. Their presence on the stage made some room for the older crowd that had come to see the show. Their college rock sound replaced the pre-teen bopping’ with heads that would nod to the beat with appreciation for the more mature sound. The spotlights turned a more mellow purple, and the tambourines and synth instruments were brought out. While their set was longer than expected, it was nice to see them still going strong, playing songs from their new album coming in spring of next year and some older favorites like “I’m Shakin'”.

Of course after Rooney’s set, the band of the night was set to take the stageThe All-American Rejects. Now, seeing them at Warped Tour 2003 when they were still relatively new, I honestly didn’t expect much. But boy was I shocked with this performance. Thankfully, like Rooney, they played a mixture of old and new”Your Star”, “It Ends Tonight”, “Swing, Swing”, and “Night Drive”, etc. The band came out guns a-blazin’, zipping around the stage, and threatening to blow all the speakers the Roseland Ballroom had to offer. The climax of their set, in my opinion, was during “Your Star”, when the music’s volume hit a deafening crescendo and the bright lights flashed so much I was afraid for anyone who may be susceptible to seizures. And to top it all off, I’m pretty sure vocalist/bassist Tyson Ritter is on crack. Well, not really. His stage presence, though, sure has changed in the past two and a half years. When I had met him at an autograph signing at Warped Tour 2003, he was a rather timid character. Now, he was screaming, cussing, ordering couples in the crowd to make out, and slinging bras and thongs back at the girls who had thrown them on stage. Giving himself horns with his fingers and threatening to jump into the crowd screaming, “Here I come!” didn’t help refute my argument that he’s gone clinically, yet beautifully, insane.

So there you have it. the good, the bad, the ugly, and the psychotic. If you wish to view the madness for yourself, the All-American Rejects are still on tour until January.


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