Someone at the Bunkhouse has been trying to recreate the Emo Game (yeah, you remember playing the Emo Game between checking Buddyhead and updating your Dead Journal). Last week was Cursive’s Tim Kasher and this week, former Vagrant Records labelmates Matt Pryor, (The Get Up Kids) and Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio), were the ones rocking acoustic guitars on the small stage.
The first Matt Pryor appearance of the night though was actually at side stage, playing the role of proud papa as daughter Lily Pryor kicked things off. “Please make sure to use the hashtag #LilyPryor!” she exclaimed nervously partway through her set. “I’m doing this for school credit.” Well if I was her teacher I’d definitely give her passing marks. With a voice reminiscent of Julian Baker, her set was made up mostly of great covers, including current favorites by Pinegrove and the aforementioned Baker.
The elder Pryor was up next, playing a mix of material from The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams and his solo work (as a children’s librarian, let me use this space to lament the complete lack of The Terrible Twos songs). Pryor’s voice has aged extremely well, with songs like “Valentine,” “Out of Reach” and “Hannah Hold On” sounding like they could have been ripped straight from the original recording sessions. I was particularly happy to hear my favorite New Amsterdams song, “Spoils of the Spoiled,” live for the first time, allowing me some long awaited closure to that band’s canceled Huntridge gig.
After bantering with the audience about the first TGUK Vegas show (“It was at the Sanctuary,” one fan exclaimed) and seeing if anyone in the audience was from further away than he was (a fan won by shouting “Buffalo!”), Lily returned to the stage for a few duets with her father, including a cover of “Twilight” by Elliott Smith and “Everything Stays” from the television series Steven Universe. Personally, I’d say that anyone who likes Steven U enough to cover one of their songs live is awesome in my book. Matt closed things out with a solo take of Something to Write Home About acoustic jam “Out of Reach,” and after the last few Vegas TGUK shows being somewhat under attended, it was nice to see a full bar singing “start over (start over) is no way to begin” with such enthusiasm. The smile on Matt’s face seemed to indicate he felt the same.
Matt promised to return for a few more songs at the end of the show before ceding the stage to Andriano, who kicked off a fun set with Good Mourning highlight “Every Thug Needs a Lady.” From there, the Alkaline Trio bassist, playing guitar for this tour, played a mix of songs from his band and his solo albums (sadly, my request for Tuesday’s “Let the Stars Play” received only a playful smirk and an “it’s been too long” reply). Dan was incredibly charismatic, engaging with the crowd, many of whom wore the Trio’s iconic heart skull on their shirts and on their bodies, and playing a handful of requests. This brought us My Shame Is True era b-side “Broken Wing” – so kudos for that.
After “Crawl,” “My Standard Break From Life,” and rollicking “From This Oil Can,” the show ended with one more duet, this time between Matt and Dan. The duo played a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” and ended on an extreme high note, playing The Get up Kids’ “Mass Pike” (strangely, no Trio song was worked into this segment). The tight, three-person setup, collaboration and charisma of the performers definitely made this one of the best shows of the year.
-Steven Matview | https://www.flickr.com/photos/holdfastnow/