Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hopless and Sub City want you to Do Something

article and photos by Sarah Rutz

Hopeless Records and Sub City have put together an amazing lineup for this year’s Take Action! Tour. A portion of all the ticket sales go towards DoSomething.Org, the organization that Hopeless/Sub City has chosen to be a part of this cool tour for the second consecutive year. The Cleveland show, which was only the second date of the tour, was packed into the House of Blues. Five bands for twenty dollars? Why not? A lot of kids seemed to think the same thing, judging by the amount of people that showed up. Whether they were there to support the headliner or one of the openers, excitement was teeming over all the kids there as they waited anxiously for their favourite performers to take the stage and put on what everyone hoped would be one hell of a show.

Anarbor, a pop-rock quartet hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, were first to own the stage, opening the concert with their infectious stage presence and catchy songs, getting the crowd moving and amped up for the rest of the show. A lot of people seemed to not know who they were, but by the end of their set, everyone was excited and completely into their set. Anarbor really knew how to keep the crowd moving, how to keep them excited and definitely how to put on a high energy show that only set the stage for what else was to come. They weren’t afraid of talking to the crowd and getting them involved in all the action, and certainly weren’t afraid of showing everyone what they were made of. By the time that Anarbor left the stage, the crowd was pretty jazzed and seemed to expect that the rest of the night would be a good one, judging by how explosive the first performance was.

Next up was Every Avenue, which, considering the high-pitched screams and raucous shouts that came from the crowd, was one of the most anticipated bands of the evening. The five members of the Michigan group filed onto the stage amidst roars from the crowd, and tore right into their set. Every Avenue is not unfamiliar with the House of Blues in Cleveland—they were just there a few months ago while on tour with All Time Low. And apparently the crowd wasn’t unfamiliar with them—more than once, lead singer Dave asks the crowd to finish lines in the song, only to be met with hundreds of voices singing his own lyrics right back to him. They completely own the stage, never staying in one place for more than a few seconds, and actively interacting with the crowd. Each member of the band continuously offers grins to the crowds, encouraging crowd participation and keeping a high level of energy throughout their entire set.

Meg and Dia took the stage after Every Avenue was finished, slowing things down for everyone with their combination of acoustic and electric instruments. Quite a different tune from the rest of the bands that were performing at the tour, Meg and Dia still have a way with getting the crowd involved by getting the kids to wave their hands, to clap and even to sway with the music. They even performed a cover of Blind Melon’s “No Rain”, dedicating it to the staff at the House of Blues. All through their set, the crowd was pretty mellow, enjoying the slow down that Meg and Dia brought them. Regardless of how slow their music was, though, they managed to pump a little bit of energy into the room, preparing the kids in the crowd for the techno-screamo duo that is Breathe Carolina.

Breathe Carolina entered the stage in complete darkness, only to start into their first song, Gossip, with strobe lights flashing onto the crowd and backlighting the two performers. They didn’t use any natural lighting (so if you have problems with strobe lights, beware), and their whole set was accompanied by lasers, incredibly cool effects created by two towers of strobe lights, and an excellent performance on their part. Even for people who didn’t know who they were, it was hard to not move along to their addicting techno beats, to jump along like everyone else was. It’s hard not to like two guys that launch themselves into the crowd, regardless of how much of a protest that the security guards put up by grabbing their ankles, just to hold their fans’ hands and to profess their undying love for the kids in the crowd. Breathe Carolina took the energy level in the room and cranked it up about ten notches, and by the time they were done, everyone was completely ready for the final act of the evening.

Excitement teemed over as headliner Cute Is What We Aim For took the stage. Immediately breaking into the beginning notes of “Doctor”, the crowd was already singing along, and by the time the band got to the chorus, everyone was going insane. The floor was bending, shaking, and the combination of the music and everyone’s voices was just insane. Cute certainly knew how to put on a good show—talking with the crowd and introducing each song was it came on with little lead ins, telling everyone what exactly the next song was about. They played a mixture of songs from their previous CD and their latest record, but it didn’t really seem like that mattered too much to the crowd—everyone seemed to know the words to every single some that was played, old and new, and the crowd enjoyed every minute of it. What more could a band ask for?

The night turned out to be a huge success for both the audience and for all the bands—everyone leaving the venue seemed to be genuinely pleased with all of the events that had occurred, and the bands that were hanging out in the lobby were all pretty happy to stop and take a picture, talk with and hang out with all their fans. And, to make all of this even better, this whole concert was all for a good cause.

Take Action! Tour is on the road until April 1st, so if you haven’t already hit up one of the dates, get out and go see this great tour!