Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Alternative Press' Fall Ball @ HOB, 11/5

Each year, Alternative Press magazine forms a tour of the music industry’s current noteworthy rising acts. Although that tour usually rolls around every spring, 2009 gave AltPress so much good music, they decided to create a special tour called “The Fall Ball,” stopping at the Boston House of Blues on Thursday, November 5. With the show approaching capacity, the night was filled with a highly energetic crowd and an even more energetic lineup for a night to remember.

UK up-and-comers You Me At Six opened the show, owning the stage for their first time playing in Boston. The band found the exact balance of hard rock, guitar riffs, and screaming with their catchy melodies and easy-going swagger to please many ears throughout the set. Although the band had few singing along (simply because many haven’t been exposed to the band yet), audience members’ ears perked up as they went into a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” As they closed out the set with their catchiest tunes, “Save It For The Bedroom” and “Finders Keepers,” many knew that You Me At Six would be a name to watch out for.

The Secret Handshake kept up the momentum as the audience got down to their pop-inspired dance-rock set. As the only apparent dance act of the night, The Secret Handshake stood apart from other acts with its fusion of dance beats and rock sounds. Their covers of Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA” added some extra excitement to their already upbeat set.

In what was unarguably the most hardcore set of the night, California rockers Set Your Goals lit up the stage. The band brought a different kind of energy to the night as mosh pits popped up around all parts of the floor. While following a pop punk and a dance act, this energy brought a new element to the show. Midway through their set, the band changed and came out in Hurley T-Shirts supporting their Living The Dream foundation.

Then, it came time for co-headliner, Mayday Parade. After recently releasing their new album, Anywhere But Here, the band found a good mix between new songs and old favorites for their set, getting the crowd to sing louder than they had done all night. The feel-good vibes generating throughout Mayday’s music jumped off the stage filling the audience making every body dance and move. Members got the sense that their songs came alive before them as the band brought out the right amount of energy at fitting times. Overall, Mayday Parade proved how they gained the co-headlining spot on the tour.

The Academy Is…, the other Fall Ball headlining act, closed out the night with a fifty-minute set making the tour a memorable experience overall. While many criticize the band for making their latest full-release, Fast Times At Barrington High, somewhat lighter than previous material, these critics have not seen TAI’s live set. The breakout songs from Fast Times fit in well with the overall set. Just like my previous TAI experiences, the band’s stage presence blew the audience away. The expressions William Beckett (lead singer) gives while performing keeps eyes peeled to the stage, and the energy from the rest of the band keeps them glued there.

The energy felt throughout the night from The Academy Is… and Mayday Parade, as well as the other acts, previews a year of high energy in the music scene. As rumors already swirl over Alternative Press’ spring tour, the Fall Ball made its mark as an exciting start to the music of 2010.

-Adam Azahari

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