Live Review: Gym Class Heroes - The Grove, Anaheim
Sun, 19 Oct 2008 23:49:42
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Gym Class Heroes offer something that's been missing from modern mainstream music: fun. They're one crew that knows how to have a good time, and their fans do too. That was evident from the parking lot scene before their show at The Grove in Anaheim. In fact, it was like something out of that classic '80s doc Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Well, minus the metal of course. Gym Class Heroes aren't about to don leather pants and bullet guitar straps anytime soon either. Nevertheless, there was an assortment of fans congregating around various trunk treats outside. A short blonde girl in a form-fitting leopard print dress repeatedly screamed, "It's my eighteenth birthday! I can't wait to get fucked up!" Who said you had to be born before the '80s to indulge in rock 'n' roll excess? Thank God, someone still knows how to have a good time in emo nation.
That said, the setting proved ripe for Gym Class Heroes to ignite the party. After some ominous opening music, a curtain unveiled a giant patchwork quilt backdrop. Frontman Travis McCoy flashed a slightly devilish grin, and launched right into the band's massive hit, "Clothes Off." The bumping and grinding promptly commenced in the largely female crowd. Travis sauntered across the stage with a pronounced swagger, firing off each of the song's rhymes smoothly. His cadence became faster live, grabbing everyone's attention. The girls just couldn't take their eyes off of him.
The band proved equally tight. Drummer Matt McGinley alternated from groove-drenched backing beats to jazz-induced fills, flexing his percussive prowess. Guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo injected blues emotion into each one of his tasty solos, while bassist Eric Roberts churned out funky and fresh bass lines for Travis to break it down over. With each drum hit on "Peace Sign/Index Down," Travis rocked the mic with his undeniable charm and charisma. He's a true frontman, and he's got the confidence to win over even the most skeptical crowd. Right before "The Queen and I," he commanded the crowd to dance, jesting, "I'm not the best dancer in the world, but I can cut a little rug." The song evolved from sexy hip hop to a flurry of mariachi notes. The band may want to add sombreros to their merch table for that number in particular. They'd make a killing on them.
Next up, Travis encouraged everyone to, "Hug someone they've never met before." Suddenly the hugs spread like a shockwave, and it was a beautiful moment. He's got some real control over the fans. After a kinetic "Cupid's Chokehold," the band tore through a metallic and impenetrable cover of Kanye West's "Flashing Lights," with the strobes flashing. "Blinded By the Sun" brandished a reggae beat and another snaky guitar solo, while "Simple Livin'" sparked a big sing-a-long—one of many that evening.
"Guilty as Charged" came to life with a theatrical bombast, as Travis bounced through the chorus and verse. It felt like it was meant for the stage, and it showed just how versatile the band's new release The Quilt really is. Gym Class Heroes took on Prince's "When Doves Cry," and Travis eschewed the Artist's falsetto in exchange for his own smooth interpretation. "Live a Little" was a massive rocker that should another side of Gym Class Heroes, and it also felt truly powerful resounding through The Grove. After a dedication to DJ AM and Travis Barker, Travis encouraged the crowd to "Take advantage of every second they have." He was met with massive cheers, and it was one of the night's most memorable moments.
What better way to celebrate your 18th birthday? Gym Class Heroes are better than a kegger.