Remember 90s alt-rock? Despite what some people tend to think of the entire post-Nirvana era, there was a period of time when radio rock and roll meant something fun (and not just Creed or Nickelback). Eve 6 was one of the bands to define pop-punk in the late 90s and early aughts, and despite not being crazy about that subgenre even when it was popular, Eve 6 music has always seemed a little more timeless than their peers. They recently put out their first new album in nearly a decade, and as part of their comeback tour, they played Gramercy Theater here in NYC. The band hasn't lost its touch one bit and they put on a wonderful show. Even though we can't say the same thing about their openers, Fall From Grace
and the Audition
, it's alright because Eve 6 performance reminded us about everything that was fun about the 90s and our youth.
When Fall From Grace came on stage, the way the band carried themselves already signaled trouble. When they segued into atonal, sloppy (and not the good garage kind of sloppy) three chord punk, no one was surprised. Lead singer Tryg Littlefield kept spitting massive amounts of water over his head like he was Triple H (and getting his spit over half the people in the front two rows), and let me just say that D-Generation X were way more punk than these guys. You can't accuse the band of a lack of enthusiasm though bassist Justin McDonald was bouncing around the stage and sticking his tongue out like he had either just done three lines of coke and/or has a steroid problem so their enthusiasm eventually slid into cartoonish territory. To put their performance into perspective, they kept yelling at the audience to get into the act and I would argue that at least 75% of the people in attendance just awkwardly stared at them in defiance.
If the Audition fared better, it was only because of the train wreck performance of the opening band. The Audition had actual melodies and the occasional hook here and there (and lead guitarist Jimmy Lopez had some great solos), but the deluge of mostly identical and mediocre tunes wore thin very quickly. Lead singer Danny Stevens also practically begged the audience to get involved with his music and he met with only slightly more success than Fall From Grace. At one point during their set, Stevens' pants ripped in half right from the crotch down. Thank the lord that he was wearing boxer-briefs and not boxers (with those uncontrollable flies) because otherwise their set would have taken an unfortunate X-rated turn. To the Audition's credit, Stevens had a pretty much hilarious line to "ease" the awkwardness of the incident. Right after his pants ripped, he dead-pan delivered this gem, "Welcome to my dick, ladies and gentlemen." Classy bro.
Eve 6 are veteran performers and they know exactly how to give a crowd what they want. During their set, they showed exactly how to put on a great concert which more than made up for any frustration with the openers. Their new album Speak in Code
came out late last month (we should have a review up soon. It's good stuff), and Eve 6 did a wonderful job of playing their new material as well as older fan favorites. Actually, many of the newer songs honestly sounded better on the stage (especially "B.F.G.F" and "Situation Infatuation") which suffered from some slight over-production on the new album but sounded more raw and natural on the stage. Max Collins (lead singer/bassist), Jon Siebels (lead guitarist), and Tony Fagenson (drums) may all be in their 30s now -- compared to being teenagers when they recorded their first album -- but they haven't lost an ounce of their energy and catchy pop-punk prowess.
There were plenty of highlights from the evening though a couple tunes really stood out from the track. "Inside Out" was one of the band's two biggest hits, and hearing the sold out crowd at Gramercy Theater belting it out with the band was as much fun as it would have been back in 1998 when it first came out. Every person who was ever in high school has heard "Here's to the Night" in connection with at least one major high school memory post-1999, and it was one of the more emotional numbers of the night as many in the crowd had the chance to reminisce on great memories while a fairly iconic sentimental tune was being played. The most shocking moment was how well the band's two newest singles translated and how much I already find myself enjoying them as much as the older songs. "Lost and Found" is a straight blast to 90s pop-punk bliss and "Victoria" is reminiscent of Hot Fuss
-era the Killers, and they are both undeniable fun. The crowd already knew the words to the songs (despite the album only being a couple weeks old) and Eve 6 has already found a great rhythm for playing their new jams. If you get the chance, definitely check out Eve 6. It will take you right back to the golden days of your youth and who doesn't love that?