The Ataris - Pub Rock - 2/28/14
Kris Roe is the perfect cannon fodder for a music reviewer looking to go harsh on a singer. His band is hardly relevant, his recent shows have been fairly lackluster, and he's had his fair share of attitudinal problems. Saying his group, The Ataris, stunk up the joint last night at Pub Rock would be easy and most likely agreeable to most. It would also be a lie.
The kick off show for The Ataris So Long Astoria 10 year anniversary tour was most likely the strongest set played by a band called The Ataris in a decade. Roe just sounded phenomenal with his cohorts from their days as Warped Tour Headliners, and pop punk icons. The crowd knew it too as The Ataris had themselves free backup singers all night in the form of 300 fans screaming every word of every song.
The volume of the crowd singing along was rather unbelievable, but the devotion did not stop there as Roe maintained a certain command over about two thirds of the audience that had them clapping when he said too, screaming when he said too, and paying attention to every word. The emotions in the room got so high that a mosh pit broke out which did not even happen for the Ataris at this summers warped tour.
It was obviously a nostalgia show for both the band and the audience but that did not stand in the way of it being a great show. Perhaps Roe and the audience were channeling themselves from 10 years ago, the more laid back uninhibited versions. Because Roe was in rare form, and the crowd was acting like a bunch of high schoolers. There was moshing, there was stage diving, tons of people bought merch (ask a band the kids always buy more stuff), and no one seemed to embarrassed to sing along as if they were at home alone listening to the record.
Roe is known to say he prefers the divey punk bars to the big venues, and Pub Rock is somewhere in between the two, which really worked out well for The Ataris. The close proximity of the crowd to the stage made for a very intimate feeling between the crowd and the band. But the size of the venue makes it possible to bring a rather large crowd.
The red lights that the venue chose to go with during the set were pretty harsh to look at for the duration of the set, and the opening acts probably could have been stronger. But The Ataris can definitely tell anyone who asks that their kick off show for this tour was spectacular.
They played every song well, and with obvious passion for the music. But more than that Roe, Chris Knapp, Mike Davenport, and John Collura seemed genuinely happy to be on stage playing out with one another. The set list included the album start to finish in order, as well as the hidden tracks from So Long Astoria "Beautiful Mistake," Rock 'N Roll High School," "San DImas High School Football," and the "I won't spend another night alone. Which were all part of the encore.
Last Night: The Ataris at Pub Rock
Personal Bias: I probably would not listen to half of the music I currently do if I never found So Long Astoria in ninth grade. "So Long Astoria" is the first song I learned to play on guitar.
Overheard in the crowd: Dude, chicks love the Ataris. I wonder if I any of these girls would believe I'm in the band?
Atmosphere: I really like shows that have a transformative quality that makes them feel as though they are happening in a different time. Or maybe I'm just super nostalgic.