Doug Fir Lounge
Portland, OR

I had a bad day before seeing the Get Up Kids playing the Doug Fir. Going into it, there was a lot of me that honestly didn’t know about being able to make it through to the end of the show. I’d never seen the Get Up Kids before, and despite having spent countless hours listening to their sophomore breakthrough classic Something to Write Home About, I had trouble getting truly excited to see “Red Letter Day” and “Out of Reach” live. But here’s a tip from me: if you find yourself worried that you may not enjoy a Get Up Kids show, simply throw those fears in the trash. Their Doug Fir performance was the most fun I’ve had at a concert so far this year.

Anything that gets the Get Up Kids to tour is cause for celebration, and it doesn’t hurt that their newest EP – Kicker , their first release since 2011’s There Are Rules – is a lovely if all-too-short return to form for the band. They played all four songs from the EP, which were the only songs that didn’t propel the Doug Fir into a frenzy – which, of course, can be chalked up to them being just three weeks old. Every other song, however, was met with roars of applause and some of the best energy I’ve experienced from a crowd so far this year. Something about the Get Up Kids feels timeless, despite being of a very specific era of emo music. We’re nearly 20 years removed from Something’s release, but – and this is the best trick of all – the band are clearly still having an impressive amount of fun playing these songs, no matter how old both these songs are.

This is a band that exudes charisma. “Welcome to our underground log cabin lair,” said frontman Matt Pryor a few songs in. “I feel like we’re in a Doomsday bunker, does anyone else feel that way?” Spaces between songs were usually filled with silly banter, ensuring that the whole show felt electric. At one point, they joked about playing “Nookie” by Limp Bizkit, which led to a story about meeting the band when they played the Warped Tour together: “We gave Fred Durst a copy of Four Minute Mile and he said, ‘I can’t wait to roll a joint on this!’’” Later, during “Out of Reach,” a drunk guy in the crowd responded to the line “But you don’t care” with “YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT!” – a heckle that became a callback point throughout the evening and almost ran the risk of derailing the song with its absurdity. It’s a testament to how enjoyable the show was that, despite this interruption, “Out of Reach” was still a high-point of the evening, with the entire Doug Fir singing gleefully.

Emo bands like this shouldn’t age as well as they have, and the fact that this one has is a small triumph. The Get Up Kids exist in a state of perpetual sonic youth, and managing to maintain that 20 years after giving us Four Minute Mile is a testament to their craftsmanship. It’s hard to put a finger on what makes their engine run as well as it does, but even on the worst of days, and no matter how silly you might feel as a grown adult sing-shouting “I don’t want you to love me any more!” surrounded by 300 other grown adults doing the same, it’s just too fun to not embrace wholeheartedly.

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