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Fresh off the release of their fourth full-length, My Dinosaur Life, Motion City Soundtrack hit the small town of Fords, New Jersey, to perform a brief acoustic session at Vintage Vinyl. The band’s first release on Columbia Records, the Mark Hoppus-produced record sounds like the logical progression from 2005’s Commit This to Memory, making up for the misstep of 2007’s Even if it Kills Me.
Fronted by the ever-quirky Justin Pierre, the Minnesota five-piece began with the crowd-pleasing “Everything is Alright” (from the aforementioned 2005 effort), likely the band’s biggest single to date. From the rapid fire stream-of-conscious verses (“I’m sick of the things I do when I’m nervous like cleaning the oven or checking my tires or counting the number of tiles in the ceiling — head for the hills, the kitchen’s on fire!”) to the infectious chorus, the song is easily one of the band’s strongest cuts and an absolute treat to hear in an intimate acoustic setting.
Before playing the first of four My Dinosaur Life songs, the members of Motion City Soundtrack responded to a question asked about their own favorite bands. Bassist Matt Taylor responded with “The Beatles”, drummer Tony Thaxton with “Ben Folds”, keyboardist Jesse Johnson with “Elvis Costello”, guitarist Josh Cain with “Pixies”, and Pierre with the eclectic “Tom Waits.” The band then kicked into “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”, an idiosyncratic jam that finds Pierre contemplating the effects of a single incident — in this case the end of a long-term relationship — changing the whole shape of his life.
After explaining their new album’s title (it’s a bastardization of a quote from the documentary American Teen — “Just think about your dragon life”), the band kicked into “Stand Too Close” for just the second time ever. The song’s playful nature comes across much better in a live acoustic setting than on the album, resulting in an excellent addition to the brief set.
The band continued with explanations about My Dinosaur Life — from Joe Ledbetter’s excellent covert art to the pronunciation of track nine, “@!#?@!”, which Pierre claims is actually “Motherfucker”. Solid renditions of “A Lifeless Ordinary” and “Disappear” followed, with the band layering background vocals underneath Pierre’s trademark soprano delivery. Fan-favorite “The Future Freaks Me Out” finished the evening with the entire crowd singing along. The full acoustic set:
Everything is Alright
Her Words Destroyed My Planet
Stand Too Close
A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)
The Future Freaks Me Out
Accurately recreating the sound on their albums yet introducing an incredibly fun live feel to the songs, Motion City Soundtrack sounded phenomenal at Vintage Vinyl. A brief yet well-picked set showcased the band’s ability to write enormous pop-hooks that stand up as strong as ever in a live acoustic environment without any studio trickery. Motion City Soundtrack is set to play the area on February 3 at Irving Plaza with Set Your Goals, This Providence, and The Swellers — don’t miss the chance to catch a ton of great new songs from My Dinosaur Life.