The Get Up Kids Concert Review

The Get Up Kids
November 30th, 2015
recordBar - Kansas City, MO


Monday night was possibly one of the final times that the recordBar (in this location) will have been filled to capacity. The small venue that has brought countless performers to Westport over the last decade will be closing on January 2nd. While they may soon be relocating, many local acts have come recently to pay their respects, The Get Up Kids being the most popular of them.

The night began with a pleasant surprise: a set from Lily Pryor, the teenage daughter of Get Up Kids guitarist Matt Pryor. The younger Pryor's debut included four cover songs sung quietly as she strummed an electric guitar. The crowd was very welcoming and Lily was clearly thrilled and relieved, giving a big, nervous smile after completing each song.

Lily Pryor
Berwanger played the first traditional set of the night. Veteran indie rocker Josh Berwanger (of The Anniversary) has been performing with the Josh Berwanger Band for the last few years but the group recently rebranded themselves as Berwanger in preparation for their upcoming EP "Demonios" that will be out on High Dive Records (an excellent Kansas City label) later this month. Berwanger plays a vintage style of rock n' roll that is at times reminiscent of Cheap Trick and The Kinks-style power pop at others. While not as incredibly energetic as other current throwback rock groups, they can write a snappy tune and I look forward to hearing their new release.

The Get Up Kids are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The local emo legends are one of the most popular to ever emerge from the Kansas City era, so when they announced a 300 capacity gig, tickets went quick! The guys, who are all in or past their late 30's at this point, walked on stage and after a quick wave and hello jumped into their 20 song set.

I was a bit wary going into the show, like I always am when I'm seeing any band that's reunited. A friend told me he saw them a couple years back at Middle Of The Map Fest and they didn't sound A+. Maybe that was a bad gig or maybe he wasn't as big a fan of the group as I am, but I didn't think that was the case at all. The band sounded very well practiced and the vocals were as on point as they could be, considering that many of the songs played were written when the band was in their late teens and early 20's.

And boy oh boy, the setlist. The guys knew what the people wanted to hear. A majority of the set came from the group's two earliest and most popular albums, "Four Minute Mile" and "Something To Write Home About." The also aged crowd belted out the hits along with the band. "Holiday," "No Love," "Coming Clean," "Red Letter Day," and more. Everyone was in good spirits. Pryor and lead guitarist Jim Suptic joked that they were glad the group could enjoy each others' company after they reformed or at least "enough" to play.

Berwanger
During a transition in-between songs one woman screamed out, "It's my fucking birthday, play Campfire Kansas pleeeeease!" Pryor walked back up to his microphone and said, "Chill out," Matt chuckled. "What song?" "Campfire Kansas!" the people informed him. "Nah, fuck that song," Pryor quickly replied. That made me happy. Don't worry though, they're not total dicks, they played the song later on (it was in the setlist though).

After the parade of hits was over, Pryor stated, "This is the encore portion of the show, since we have nowhere to go," referring to the packed-in state of the venue. They played two covers they recorded back in the day, The Cure's "Close To Me" and The Replacements' "Beer For Breakfast," which both went off without a hitch. The night came to an end at 10:30pm with a passionate rendition of "10 Minutes."

After listening to the band for five years and missing the small handful of shows they've played locally in that time, I left the recordBar very satisfied and hoping for another concert in the future. The Get Up Kids wrote some of my favorite emo songs that got me through many awkward middle school crushes and seeing the band last night the way they sounded certainly felt as nostalgic and victorious as I'd hoped.

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