The album may be a decade old, but Taking Back Sunday was anything but rusty while performing Tell All Your Friends among other crowd favorites at a sold-out show Saturday at the Catalyst.
As these East Coast rockers struck their instruments and singer Adam Lazzara strutted around the 1,000-person club swinging his microphone like a kid does with a yo-yo, the influence their debut album had 10 years ago was apparent as the crowd cried, moshed, and roared.
Tell All Your Friends captured the soul of angsty teens everywhere with its melodic hardcore sound and relatable lyrics like “So sick of being tired and oh so tired of being sick.”
Those that were battered and bruised both physically and emotionally coveted the album as a form of comfort knowing that others felt the same way.
“This album got me through high school,” said 23-year-old Fresno resident, Azario Lopez, and he was not alone. The different paths of life among the fans were apparent, but it was this album that brought them all together.
As the minutes counted down for the Taking Back Sunday set to begin, the chatter in the Catalyst became eager. Friends grinned at each other, some sang lyrics that were about to be performed before their eyes, and many looked at the stage several times a minute impatient for the set to begin. The lights went out and stage lights came on as screams filled the room.
The set kicked off with some old favorites from Louder Now, their first mainstream album appealing to softer rockers with its watered down, irritated sound, but the truly exciting moments came after. Once the band delved into the Tell All Your Friends songs, the crowd went wild.
The most chill-inducing moment came as the first notes of “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” played and the energy became even more electrifying. The song features strong guitar riffs, soothing harmonies, and drumming that makes you want to get your aggression out.
An anthem for emo kids that have been cheated on, the crowd sang—no, they bellowed—their teen sentiments that still linger a decade later as Lazzara points the mic at them.
That would have been enough for most of the fans in The Catalyst, but the excitement did not stop there.
As Lazzara sassily frolicked across the stage, making his microphone cord dance gracefully, he surprised the spectators as he walked up the balcony from stage right. The drunken inhabitants went nuts; fans feverishly scrambled to get close to him, girls leaped and hugged each other, guys sang energetically into the mic and Lazzara leaned over the balcony with a smirk on his face.
The crowd was split between staring at the stage and the nomadic frontman. Lazzara hit the back end, stopped at the bar, and in true punk-rock fashion got a shot of liquor.
After three songs of trekking throughout the venue, he returned to the stage, satisfied, with fans saying to each other, “That was too fucking rad.”
Then, with a confident smile he continued, “We’re going to do a big no-no in the rock world and end with two of our most obscure songs,” and a soft piano melody started “Your Own Disaster,” and the truest Taking Back Sunday fans sang along.
The show came to a close with “The Ballad of Sal Villanueva,” a sing along with a grungier sound that slows down with a desperately sad and loving verse full of resentment.
This was the better-known song of the two, and the crowd was more engaged. A guy got the chance to sing into the microphone, several people crowd surfed and tried to sneak on stage only to be shut down by security, and the show ended with nothing but positive comments.
Of course there were some flaws, like feedback through the speakers, the mics at times weren’t loud enough, and the drunken people in the crowd were obnoxious, provoking several near-fights, but the good overpowered the bad by far.
Many were skeptical about whether or not Taking Back Sunday and Adam Lazzara in particular, still had it. Many critics throughout 2012 said Adam had let himself go, but tonight proved they haven't lost a beat.
The music was gripping, the crowd’s energy was contagious, and the band’s performance was captivating. It was a good night to be a rocker in Santa Cruz.