Live Review: The All-American Rejects — The Roxy, West Hollywood
Tue, 15 Dec 2009 09:47:04
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The All-American Rejects are everything that a badass rock n' roll band should be.
They're dirty, but strangely debonaire. They've got attitude to spare, but can carry a pop chorus like nobody's business. They're classic in many ways, but still vibrantly alive in the here and now. That's why their first sold out show at The Roxy last night had the power to wake up the sleeping Sunset Strip.
The Strip's gone through a lot of changes in the past month—Steel Panther moved down to The House of Blues by (gasp) Sunset Plaza and the Key Club closed. The rock n' roll capital of America needed to be resurrected, and as soon as The All-American Rejects hit the stage, it came to life like it hadn't in years.
Christmas lights dangled from the ceiling like a net above the band, and AAR vocalist Tyson Ritter announced to the packed audience, "You can guy it, you can steal it, as long as you fuckin' feel it."
Everyone in the house felt AAR, as the band plowed through an unforgettable set of hits and fan favorites. "Move Along" kicked everything off with its bombastic drum march. Tyson slid across the stage with a swagger that'd make Perry Farrell look twice, as he perfectly crooned the song's undeniable chorus. Covered in glitter and shirtless, Tyson thumped his bass to drummer Chris Gaylor's impenetrable beat, while brandishing an ear-to-ear grin. That smile was the motif of the night.
"Fallin' Apart" bubbled with vaudevillian synths like some sort of pop punk symphony. Guitarists Mike Kennerty and Nick Wheeler bounced riffs back and forth seamlessly, never taking a break from their fret fireworks. They've got a '70s chemistry that simply sizzled at the Roxy. Plus, the two axemen have no boundaries. A speedy Spanish-style chord flick kicked "Top of the World" into high gear, before shifting into pure punk ecstasy. There's no one quite like The All-American Rejects.
Tyson's a rock n' roll god in his own right. He's got a sharp sense of humor and you can't help but have fun with him. Mid-set, he smiled again, "We played the Roxy for the first time eight years ago as a band. We thought, 'This is California; this shit's like Point Break, dude!'"
Even though the crowd was young, the Point Break reference got more than a few big chuckles. Mega-hit "Swing, Swing" gave way to the set's standout, "Mona Lisa." Tyson cracked another joke before passionately launching into the pensive and poignant number. Stepping back and opening up, AAR show just how great they truly are. The song felt like a massive power ballad, but with Tyson's smirk and lyrical double entendre it was fresh at the same time. "It Ends Tonight" was just as effective, with the crowd screaming every word.
At one point, Tyson announced, "It was written in the fucking stars for us to play Los Angeles tonight." The rock n' roll gods remained benevolent, blessing The Roxy with an incendiary "Gives You Hell" to cap it all off.
The show was absolutely everything a Sunset Strip rock show has to be, and LA needed it…
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