Live: The Get Up Kids Blow Up Chicago

I first saw the Get Up Kids in 1997 in a South Florida Moose Lodge, so small that we sat under the mic stands and took Polaroidís of the band. After each song we showed the dudes our flicks and they either liked them or made adjustments to make cooler, more appropriate rock star poses. At the time the band had only released their now out of print "Shorty" 7 inch and a few other songs that would later appear on their Woodson EP. The Kansas City cuties were immediately swept up off their Doghouse label where they released Four Minute Mile and immediately became the "It kids" of the indie rock world. They have since released the brilliant Something To Write Home About record on Vagrant, toured with The Warped Tour, Green Day and now Weezer. I was stoked to see Weezer too, donít get me wrong. I am a member of their friggin fan club for godís sake and could sing every song backwards in my sleep. I was however more interested to see how the Get Up Kids have changed since I saw them play for 35 of my friends in Florida, and how they would attack the 4,000 plus heads at Chicagoís Aragon Ballroom.

From the opening chords of "Donít Hate Me" we knew that Kansas Cityís Get Up Kids came to play and play hard. The addition in 1998 of James Dewees (formerly of Coalesce) gives the band a new energy and intensity that could turn them into an over night stadium capacity band. This kid convulses and break dances during songs as much as he plays the keys, adding a new ingredient to the Kidsí mix. The band loves Chicago as they mentioned the cityís name 33 times (that is how many times I counted). Thanks CHICAGO, are you ready CHICAGO, or even just CHICAGO!

Since they knew where they were, and who they were performing for, they had to bring the rock or else they would play themselves as "Weezer opening chumps" ñ and they pulled out a royal flush. They slammed into Holiday then Action & Action with passion, enthusiasm, and a little bit of alcohol fuel. Every time I see this band, they get tighter and tighter like Lee Strasser, my old General Mangerís Ass. "Woodson, Iím A Loner," even a couple of songs from the Red Letter Day EP showed up (I thought I was the only one who bought that thing). "Red Letter Day" and "Mass Pike" were separate entities in themselves, since the new keyboardist James Dewees helped write the songs with distinct keyboards that rang out through the Chicago crowd. Chicago, Chicago, Chicago (this is just more of what the band was saying in between songs).

The set was complete with a semi cover of the classic Cheap Trickís "Surrender", and there was even a rumor that the Chicago natives would make a special appearance ñ but nothing came out of that garbage. The bottom line is that the Get Up Kids are all stars. Their records sales on this Outloud tour are soaring through the roof with a destination of outer space. They will release their third LP on Vagrant later this year, and there is no telling how big this band could get. A plus show kids, A plus.

Source: Jason Anfinsen

Live: The Get Up Kids Blow Up Chicago