A fantastic night of live music at The Ritz kicked off with a fairly small time band with a very big sound. Lacey played confidently and brilliantly to the early crowd who all responded well to the band. The guys sound was laid back but enthusiastic. This sound was given a little extra boost with a touring member playing acoustic guitar which gave an all-around excellent vibe. Every single member was on point with their performance and front man Graz Turner’s vocals were honest, humble and a pleasure to listen to. It is hard to put your finger on, but there was just something about Lacey that really hooked you that night.
Next up were The Xcerts, a distorted pop band from Aberdeen/Exeter. Although they are a trio, they managed to match the standard that Lacey set with their five. As the only guitarist, front man Murray Macleod definitely made up for it. An absolutely brilliant, dedicated musician. So we can forgive the double denim disaster that he was wearing. The stand out song from these guys was I Don’t Care, if you have not already heard it, you should. This song was a touching performance from all three. After this they played He Sinks, He Sleeps which had fitting purple dreamlike lighting creating a silhouette view of the band. However, this lighting lasted the entire song and got boring after a while. It would have been nicer if the lighting had lifted toward the end. Nevertheless, it was an extremely successful set for The Xcerts.
Things got a lot heavier when Dinosaur Pile Up entered the stage. They introduced themselves to the crowd with Arizona Waiting. This was a good choice as it instantly broke the night up with a weightier genre of music to what had already been heard. Their fourth song White T-Shirt and Jeans was a particularly high point for the band. All the members showed how well they gel together perfectly to produce and perform a truly excellent song. Throughout Dinosaur Pile Up’s set, you could not help but make associations with Nirvana from the band’s sound and look as a whole. However, this by no means is a bad thing, it gave a nice nostalgic feel to the night, keeping in theme as to why everyone was there. The guys ended on the mighty 11 11 all set with crowd participation and high energy. It was impossible not to join in with this infectious performance. Dinosaur Pile Up definitely ended by leaving the crowd wanting more.
Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Pierre came on the stage on his own to a very eager and worked up audience. He took his place behind his microphone and started “When I was younger I fell in love with the girl next door. Back to the beat yo, back to the beat of 1984.” Then one by one the rest of the band joined him building more and more of a buzz with every second that went by. The response from the contagious, everyone was singing, dancing and just having the best time with each other. It was a real mixture of people from young to old and rockers to hippies. It would be impossible to comment on even half the songs from the set list as it was so packed, however, every performance was executed with just as much passion and devotion as we have come to expect from Motion City Soundtrack. Their crowd interaction and banter made the night even more special than it already was. All five guys put their hearts and souls into this night and sincerely played like it was their last time. The band maintained the melody and precision from their recorded tracks while still managing to give that extra dynamism that makes live shows exceptional. A testament to their talent and experience. Motion City Soundtrack successfully crammed over a decade of hits into one night ensuring that everyone would leave The Ritz with on high from a night they would never forget. Whether you have never seen them live or you’ve seen them 10 times, this really is a tour not to be missed. So Long and Farewell Motion City Soundtrack, may your music forever live on.
All photos by Lauren Stead Photography for Musicology.