By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Photo by James Bunoan MIDTOWN/RECOVER/DAYS AWAY
CHAIN REACTION, ANAHEIM
FRIDAY, OCT. 4
Feels time for yet another filing on the state of Emo® Nation, though it's not like we really wanted to be here. Honestly, until our press comp plans fell through, we were hoping instead to venture into one of the Irvine Meadows Jimmy Buffett shows, where we so looked forward to writing such hate-mail-generating sentences as "Only tickets to a Klan cross burning would have made us hate white people more." But fate sadly didn't pan out.
Or did it? In a way, emo kids are a lot like Buffett freaks, with the same stupid clothes (thrift-store T-shirts emblazoned with obscure school/camp names, meet your gaudy Hawaiian-patterned cousins!) and the same lousy, lowest-common-denominator taste in music. And while there weren't any kids at booze-free Chain Reaction Technicolor-yawning over themselves (a given at Buffett gigs), we didn't bother checking too closely for puddles outside cars parked in the lot, so you never know. These emo kids, they just loves to rawkenroooll!
Maybe that's the problem in general with emo, and particularly with Midtown—they think they know what they're doing, but they really don't have a clue. The topic came up during a scintillating parking lot discourse between us and an in-the-know mole, who noted that Midtown go to great pains of stating how they—ahem!—"Bring the Rock" to all their shows, but they never do, never have, and most likely never will, as the aural swill they jokingly call "rock" is in fact a lot of wanky, long-jowled, neener-neener-dee-dee-dee kiddie pop nonsense. That Midtown supposedly "bring the rock" makes them look and sound like putzes—like bragging about having a 13-inch dong down their collective trousers when the cold, hard truth is that they really need tweezers to help pleasure themselves. Yo, Midtown! A little truth in advertising, eh?
But we digress. All we really knew about Midtown before this evening was that the blond chick on Real World: New Orleans made out with at least one person in the band, which was probably great publicity for them—and shockingly not an immediate turn-off for us. But, lord, their music sure was, starting with a strange amalgam of drum machines and stinky synths that pierced the speakers as they took the stage, stumbling further when they picked up their instruments and mouth-farted the same tired, clichéd emo lyrics purloined from the Emo Lyrics R Us store, about how-we-used-to-be-friends-and-now-we're-not-so-I-hate-you and I-love-you-but-you-hate-me-but-I'm-sorry-so-please-take-me-back-or-I'll-die and I'm-trying-to-forget-the-bad-times-we-had-and-remember-only-the-good-times-but-even-the-good-times-make-me-feel-like-shit-because-I'll-never-ever-have-them-with-you-again. By the third song or so, we started nodding off, bored silly by a movie we've seen far too many times, so we split. Besides, we had a triumphant Angels comeback we had to experience vicariously on the radio on the ride home, which was vastly more thrilling.
Before the Midtown assclowns, though, were Recover, who actually did seem to "bring the rock," if you prefer a dose of ear-imploding metalesque manliness in your tunes. Their singer was growly and guttural, throwing his voice around swaths of beefy guitars (good), less so when his bassist would fling his short locks around as if at a tryout for a Warrant tribute band (bad, bad, very bad). Was this metal as parody or irony? We're still not sure and didn't want to waste our ever-precious time finding out. Ultimately, Recover were about hard, loud, forgettable music and nothing more, notable only because of how they stood out on this otherwise lifeless bill. Oh—and their CD has pictures of hot topless purple chicks who look like their bodies are in the second stage of decomposition, if that means anything.
Speaking of lifeless, Days Away were as basic as emo comes, with the required sings-through-his-nose lead warbler and generic boy-girl songwriting—just a misplaced note from becoming Journey, really. It's muzak that one day might make passable beer-commercial fodder (when they're old enough to drink, that is), but on this night, it was some of the most insincere blithering we've heard in quite a while, right down to the half-hearted "Fuck yeah!" that singer-boy fired off, which prompted loud guffawing in the back of the room. And no, not just from us, either.