Tag Archives: The Get Up Kids

Old Enough To Know Better, Young Enough To Pretend…

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Ask me about my Friday night. Go ahead, ask me. Because this is what my answer would be: IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME.

Friday night, May 1, 2009, one of my favorite bands of all time – The Get Up Kids – rolled into town on the last leg of their reunion tour. I’ve loved their music for almost a decade, but had never seen them live. I’m happy to report that nine years was well worth the wait.

There were some added peaks to the show that made it just right, such as the unannounced opening act, Brand New. Or how Matt Pryor’s vocals hit just the right notes on “I’m A Loner, Dottie, A Rebel”. But what really made the show for me were the fans: it was a sold-out house and the youngest people at The Gramercy Theatre couldn’t have been any older than 24. It was much more than a concert for all of us; it was a homecoming experience. Maybe it sounds facetious to say at 26, but it got me thinking about how much time had passed since the first time I listened to Something To Write Home About and now. Even though the concert was in New York, for a hour and a half I was back home in South Jersey.

So, how does such an awesome night end? Easy: I bump into Matt Pryor (lead singer and guitarist of GUK) after the show. I was standing outside the theater, waiting for some friends to negotiate my admission backstage. It was 1:00 a.m. and most of the crowd had dissipated. As I was rather intensely trying to break my old record on iPhone Tetris, Pryor quietly slinked out of the theater and hailed a cab. I approached and tapped him on shoulder –

Me: “Excuse me? You’re Matt, right?”
Matt Pryor: “Yeah.”
Me: “Great show tonight, man. You guys were great.”
Matt Pryor: “Oh. Thanks man.”
Me: “I’ve been a fan for 9 years, and this was the first time I’d ever seen you guys.”
Matt Pryor: “Really? I hope we lived up to expectations.”
Me: “No, totally. You did.”
Matt Pryor: “Glad to hear it. Listen, I gotta go.”
Me: “Of course. Great to meet you, man. Good luck with the rest of the tour.”
Matt Pryor: “Thanks dude. Later!”

Okay, so not the most amazing rock star encounter one can have, but still awesome. The Get Up Kids. One of the best. Thanks for the memories, guys.

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The One About The Get Up Kids

I’ve recently decided that The Get Up Kids are one of my favorite bands of all time. In fact, if I were pressed to do so, I’d name them in the top 3. I’m not sure exactly who’d be #1. Worse case scenario, GUK and The Replacements go head-to-head in a steel cage match for my affection. One fall. No outside interference from Macho Man Randy Savage.

I’ve made a few attempts in the past to write about music from an intellectual point of view. I’ve found, every time, that I really can’t do it. That’s not to put down my talent, it’s just not in my DNA. It’d be like if I forced you to watch the entire IMdb resume of Zach Braff. You’d enjoy it, but the same way a parent enjoys the work of his marginally talented child. Anyway, since realizing this weak point about my writing (and my self-important taste), I’m finally ready to admit that my enjoyment of music (and other “smoking jacket-related arts” stuff) comes down to a “Yes.” to two very easy questions:

1) Does it have a good beat?
2) Do I want to listen to it again?

That’s about it.

I know this criteria looks a bit elementary on paper. It is. I make no apologies for it.

I’m not a musician, or even a semi-qualified critic. I can’t read music. I can’t play music. If I ever do succeed in my secret dream of forming a Midwestern post-punk indie band with me singing, I had better start shelling out for voice lessons. I’m not interested anymore in telling you why you should think Radiohead’s Kid A is brilliant, I just think “Motion Picture Soundtrack” sounds really pretty. That’s how I can call The Get Up Kids one of my favorite bands and end it there. Pop sensibility. Memorable lyrics. Rocking sound.

None of this occurred to me until I was stuck in my apartment last week, doing work, and listening to my old emo mixtapes. The majority of the stuff on those tapes is complete garbage – a result of multiple bands trying to sound like one another and the consumer emo savvy of the past decade. The Get Ups, thankfully, fall outside of most that; actually, I’ll dare to say The Get Ups and their New Jersey counterparts, Saves The Day. I personally think GUK is my generation’s version of The ‘Mats, but that is just me. I’m making an argument for my favorite band based on the rationale of “They’re awesome, because they are.” Sure, maybe all of this sounds trivial and facetious. But, I’ve also realized that we – as human beings – tend to make big deals out of nothing. Music. Movies. Relationships. Sports teams. I just feel as if we make stuff way more complicated than it has to be. In an age that cares so much about everybody else’s opinion, why can I love something just because? Of course, the real irony is that this entry’s impetus is my love for an emo band. Emo, a genre of music that has thrived on making teen heartbreak sound way more complicated than it is in reality.

Maybe it’s maturity, but I just dig simplicity these days. I like liking The Get Up Kids. As a teacher of mine once told me, everything has a story; nothing just happens. So, by that principle, even the reason of “Just because…” has something tangible to it. I mean, you always say “Just because…” because that euphemism tends to hide a deeper meaning that you want to share later on, when the time is right. I like the Get Up Kids just because. I don’t care what the blogs say; or what girl wants to sleep with me if I quote Serge Gainsbourg. Right now, I just want to rock out. And, nobody in a cardigan can stop me.

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