Taking Back Sunday/letlive./The Menzingers in Chicago – 3/6/15

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Taking Back Sunday
photo: Anam Merchant

Taking Back Sunday have a very special place in a lot of people’s hearts. That’s why, upon hearing the show was sold out, I wasn’t surprised. The Riviera was packed, balcony included, before the show even began.

Most shows I’ve been to have been relatively empty for the opener. However, when the Menzingers came onstage, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many people were visibly excited to see them. I’ve seen the Menzingers once before at Riot Fest, but didn’t get to stay for their entire set, so I was eager to see them play as I’ve only heard good things. The three infectious punk songs that stood out to me were “The Obituaries” from 2012’s On The Impossible Past and “In Remission” and “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore,” both off their latest release, Rented World.

letlive. were up next, and I was incredibly excited to photograph them. The band have a crazy amount of energy onstage, like nothing else I’ve ever seen before. The band took the stage and immediately erupted into “The Dope Beat” off their latest release, The Blackest Beautiful. “Pheromone Cvlt” showed a calmer side to their performance, with frontman Jason Aalon Butler offering up a bit of insight to what the song was about: “A few years ago, I went to bed with somebody next to me, and I told that person I was capable of loving other people and as I grew older, actually more like six hours later, I realized that I was being dishonest, and I realized that if I’m gonna love somebody else, I better stop fucking hating myself first.” The calm was very brief, before Butler started jumping around once more, climbing up on to an amp to finish the song. letlive. are raw, chaotic and so very memorable.

Taking Back Sunday were next to take the stage. They have been around for 16 years and have definitely been an integral part of a lot of people’s formative years. The crowd on the floor at the Riviera was pouring out into the walkways to accommodate the insane amount of people trying to fit into it to see the band up close, and as soon as the lights shut off and TBS came onstage, they erupted into cheers. It’s always pretty surreal getting to hear so much of their discography: “Liar (It Takes One To Know One),” “Faith (When I Let You Down)” and “Flicker, Fade” are a few songs with which they wowed the crowd. TBS played an incredible 19-song set with a three-song encore, finishing off with a throwback to 2006 with “MakeDamnSure.”