It’s never easing saying goodbye, but there’s some happiness that can be taken from it when you’re told in person.
In this case, Minneapolis emo pop-punks Motion City Soundtrack came back to treat their loyal Australian fans with farewell shows including the Metro Theatre (8 September), before an indefinite hiatus. Hey, it’s better than getting a text about a break-up, right?
It was fitting that suburban Sydney upstarts With Confidence scored the support slot. After all, when Motion City Soundtrack toured their seminal 2005 album ‘Commit This To Memory’, two of the four boys were in the audience celebrating one of their favourite bands. They’ve come a long way since then, of course, signing to US label Hopeless Records, played the US Warped Tour and are putting out their debut album 'Better Weather'.
Much of that set got a run on the night, with plenty of With Confidence fans singing out the catchy choruses to album favourites ‘Higher’, ‘Voldemort’ and ‘We’ll Be OK’. The band’s raw enthusiasm has been tamed and tempered impressively, no doubt due to their bigger-show experience, and their anthemic pop-punk riffs and emo-tinted lyrics set them up as one of the country’s best in the scene right now: something reflected in the numbers who’d turned up to see them.
Coming out to the Beastie Boys over the PA – one of frontman Justin Pierre’s favourite hip hop acts – the singer launched solo into ‘Back To The Beat’, with the rest of the band joining him a few bars in. It was hard to miss the brevity of the occasion despite the band’s upbeat tunes and affable delivery, but Motion City Soundtrack and their fans did their best to delay the inevitable, tearing through a greatest hits set and thankfully largely steering clear of recent material.
‘Her Words Destroyed My Planet’, ‘LG Fuad’, ‘Make Out Kids’ and ‘Last Night’ were early contenders as highlights, until they rolled out ‘Attractive Today’, the insanely catchy ‘This Is For Real’ from 2007’s excellent ‘Even If It Kills Me’ and real tearjerker ‘Hold Me Down’. By the time the unmistakable drum fill kicked off their biggest ‘hit’ in ‘Commit This To Memory’’s ‘Everything Is Alright’, they’d played nearly 20 songs of all killer no filler.
An emotional Pierre kept the words simple, with a few thank-yous and emphatic goodbyes, and there were some tears in the house by the time they returned for an encore featuring ‘Even If It Kills Me’ and, fittingly, ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’.
While Motion City Soundtrack never had the reverence of peers like Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World, or had nearly enough power-pop and indie-rock fans as their music certainly deserved – after all, on this night there was even a punter in a Replacements shirt buying beers – looking back over their career it’s not hard to see why fans have held them dear for so long.
This farewell may have been a tough one, but on this night at least everyone got the chance to celebrate nearly 20 years together.