Concert Review: Team Spirit, Hawthorne Heights, and Motion City Soundtrack

January 23, 2015: Saint Andrew’s Hall, Detroit

It’s hard to believe that Motion City Soundtrack’s Commit This To Memory turns 10 this year. I remember where I was the first time I heard it. I had just discovered the band the summer before and happened to be at a party where one of the guests said that their friend was involved in the production of the album so he had an advanced copy. While everyone else socialized, I was listening intently to the music coming through the stereo recognizing MCS’s signature sound and falling in love with the band’s sophomore release. I love seeing the band live so I try not to miss them when they come to town, especially if they’re going to play one of my favorite albums from start to finish.

It was a sold out show so Saint Andrew’s was packed by the time first opener, Team Spirit, took the stage. The Brooklyn based band released their first LP, Killing Time, late last year. Team Spirit was formed when former Passion Pit keyboardist Ayad Al Adhammy gave up his synthesizer for a guitar. The band’s hook laden garage rock was just what the crowd needed to get the night started. The guys gave a great sampling of their album including their two singles “Surrender” and “Teenage Heart” in their short yet shred worthy opening set that made me want to go home and give a listen to Killing Time.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve listened to Hawthorne Heights, so long in fact that when I saw they were one of the openers, I was sure that I’d only recognize their one single that plays on the radio and nothing else. However, their set was filled with songs that had me traveling back in time. Though the crowd looked a bit too young to know the band’s earlier work, they seemed to know most of the lyrics to each song the band played. The guys breezed through a sampling of their greatest hits including “Saying Sorry” and “Niki FM” taking time in between tracks to tell the Detroit crowd how much they love and appreciate them. J.T. Woodruff even talked about the first time they heard Motion City Soundtrack and how much it meant to them to be on the anniversary tour for Commit This to Memory. Hawthorne Heights closed out their set with “Ohio Is For Lovers”, going out with the packed audience singing at the top of their lungs.

The crowd lost it once the lights went out and the intro to MCS’s set started playing as the band took the stage. They wasted no time, shredding through the first three songs of Commit This to Memory. Before playing “Resolution”, Justin Pierre stated that while he wanted to give us as many tracks as possible, he liked to take the time to talk about what inspires some of his songs. He spoke about trying to keep the stories short but that brevity was never one of his strong suits. Personally, one of my favorite things about seeing MCS live is hearing him talk, some times at length, about the stories and facts behind their songs. What really astonished me was how young the crowd looked, mostly because I assume that a good majority of the kids in attendance weren’t even in their tweens when Commit This To Memory was released a decade ago.

After raging through the album, Motion City Soundtrack treated us to a wonderful sampling of some other hits including a handful of some of my favorite tracks. As usual the band gave us an energy filled set that kept us moving and singing along from start to finish. Pierre assured us that the band’s new album would be released this year before treating us to a new track, “Anything At All”. If “Anything At All” is any indication of how the album is going to sound, I’m sure it will top my favorite albums of 2015.

The band closed out the night with fan favorite “My Favorite Accident”, giving the crowd one last change to completely lose it before leaving for the evening. Per usual, Motion City Soundtrack put on a memorable show, leaving us all wanting more. I’m definitely anticipating their new album and, hopefully, another tour to support it.