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Copeland + Acceptance + Lovedrug + As Tall As Lions

Emily Zemler

Hot Topic attire doesn't usually promise a fulfilling night. Luckily these kids have better taste in music then fashion.

Copeland + Acceptance + Lovedrug + As Tall As Lions

Copeland + Acceptance + Lovedrug + As Tall As Lions

City: New York
Venue: Tribeca Rock Club
Date: 2005-03-30

Based on the average age of the audience one could conclude that these bands were making music for 15-year-olds. The front section of the shoebox-like club, crowded with underage kids (and a few parents), began whispering excitedly when any member of a performing band walked by. Hot Topic attire and young boys with too much hair gel don't necessarily seem to promise a fulfilling night. But then, appearances can be deceiving. Like the proverbial book and its cover, you can't judge a band by its audience. When opener As Tall As Lions took the stage their maturity and skill became immediately apparent. So I guess those young boys in the crowd have better taste in music than fashion. As Tall As Lions, a foursome from New York, charged through an opening series of skillfully layered songs, each resonating with a depth one usually doesn't expect from the typical guitar/bass/drums lineup. At points the guitarist sounded like he was playing keyboards, using his instrument to overlay additional intensity. As Tall As Lions played with immense passion, but unfortunately passion is not always pretty. Watching the band's bassist jerk around while periodically spewing saliva across the stage was like driving by a car accident: intense and captivating, but also disgusting. It is wonderful that this band has so much energy, that they dive so thoroughly into their music when playing live. But someone might want to gently suggest that they control the spitting. If bills were based on quality of performance, Lovedrug, the second act of the evening, would have been the clear headliner. The band's album Pretend You're Alive doesn't begin to capture the intensity of their live show. Lovedrug emotes with a UK alt-rock sound, reminiscent of bands like Placebo, early Radiohead and Muse -- this is interesting since they are from Ohio. It's rare for an opening band to earn the rapt attention of an entire room of people, most of who are there to see the later bands, but Lovedrug pulled it off seamlessly. The utter ferocity of the foursome's performance was unbelievable, particularly since they are a young band with only one album under their collective belt. Acceptance, an up-and-coming buzz band, whose debut album is poised to be released on Columbia this month, was the reason most audience members spent their 10 precious allowance dollars. Although Acceptance failed to match the intensity of Lovedrug, they shot out a solid set of mostly new songs and were greeted by the crowd with marked enthusiasm. There is a reason Acceptance has such buzz -- their songs overflow with hooks and their music contains a level of sincerity and energy that is unmatched by their peers. Copeland, a group whose sophomore album was released the day before the show, shooting them to number one Billboard's Alternative New Artist chart, lacked the energy of their peers. The band's new album, In Motion, is an impressive second release with skilled songwriting and an incredible opening track. Copeland has not, however, learned how to bring the energy of their recordings to the stage. Their hearts are clearly behind it and the songs all sound as good as they do on CD, but something is lacking. People don't flock to concerts to hear a band's albums played in front of them; as fans we want to know why a band plays music. We want to see with our own eyes why those particular musicians have devoted their lives to playing music. And with Copeland, no answer is yet apparent. Ultimately, however, the show was nearly seamless, drawing four veritably different bands together in congruous performance. It is refreshing to see that four relatively young acts can bring such a passion for their craft to the stage in a world of generic knock-offs and contrived bands. You can only judge a band by their music and their performance. The rest of the world would do well to take a cue from the 15-year-old kids who filled Tribeca on Wednesday as they clearly recognize the potential of these bands. If they've got other bands this good up their sleeves, I for one will be spending a lot more time at Hot Topic.

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