September to Remember
Oak Point Amphitheater, Plano
September 6, 2009
Better than: a September to Forget?
A 15-band lineup, including PlayRadioPlay!, The Secret Handshake and Drop Dead, Gorgeous brought a crowd of mostly (at least 90 percent) 12- to 18-year-olds wearing skinny jeans and V-neck T-shirts to the Oak Point Amphitheater on Sunday.
But it also brought disappointment.
From First to Last, one of the better-known bands set to perform on this day, was a no-show due to "studio stuff"--according, at least, to the kids working at the gate. And while that was it as far as bad news goes, bad taste seemed the theme for the day.
Tennessee acoustic soloist Backseat Goodbye served as a sort of calm before the storm belting out sing-along songs with lyrics like "Hey, I think you're groovy, would you wanna see a movie with me?" and giving the teen couples in the audience something to hold each other to.
It was kind of disturbing.
Everyone Dies in Utah, a somewhat local band (from Temple), then changed the mood. But who knew "dancing" meant swinging your arms and stomping around like a crazy ape? Well, that's exactly what it looked like. The young band left kids sweaty and out of breath, but with smiles on each their faces.
The rest of the day pretty much followed suit. To a large degree, the acts were mostly screamo-based. And not even good screamo-based. But, hey, on a bright note, the drummers were fun.
There were some pleasing moments, though: Dan Hunter, aka PlayRadioPlay!, performed a short solo set, including a crowd favorite, "A Real Clever Trick Fur a Bear," dressed like an innocent schoolboy. And, actually, his music was refreshing. For one, there was no screaming. And his set was pleasant, but not too poppy. Surprisingly, Hunter can actually sing quite well. Another local, The Secret Handshake was also a real crowd pleaser. Kids were singing, dancing and swaying their arms to the band's fun, poppy, Boys Like Girls-sounding set.
Unfortunately, the night ended much the same way the day began, with a screamo-filled set: Drop Dead, Gorgeous took the stage using its mic check as more of a way to scream profanity at the crowd--but the kids loved it, somehow, even if the band just sounded like a lamer version of Underoath with its techno sounds with a speedy double bass. The band was screaming, the kids were screaming and the kids were crowd-surfing. I guess anything's more fun when parents aren't around to supervise.
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On the plus side, the amphitheater was a pretty great space, though.
Personal Bias: Honestly, this was probably one of the worst shows I have been to. The lineup was full of 22-year-old guys singing about holding hands or, even worse, guys screaming at the top of their lungs. Who knows? They could have been screaming "I HATE YOU! DIE, DIE, DIE!" You couldn't tell.
By The Way: The amphitheater really was the highlight of the day. The sound was better than almost any other outdoor venue I've been to (including Stubb's in Austin and Superpages.com in Dallas). I could hear each instrument equally from pretty much any angle of the venue. And there was more than enough space to sit without resorting to the grass (even a few feet of shade!) Might I add, the bathrooms were surprisingly squeaky-clean.
Random Note: The intermissions were 10 minutes tops, the parking was free (thanks to the parents who dropped their kids off). So that was nice.