All American Rejects | 04.09.09

rejects2.jpgRitter’s holier-than-thou attitude put an obvious damper on an otherwise near perfect performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

rejects.jpgPhotos: Nick Licata

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

“When you see my face, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell!” chanted All American Rejects front man Tyson Ritter to a full house last Thursday at the Pageant.  Taken from their hit single, “Gives You Hell,” the crowd screamed along, frightening facial expressions included.

On tour promoting their third full-length release, When the World Comes Down, the All American Rejects put on what would seem a pretty good live show. Yet, their live sound flawlessly matches that of their album and overall, their set felt contrived and antiseptic, even down to the stage banter. Everything was properly in place. The music was flawless. The performance was endearing, and the lights were spectacular. However, it lacked both the realness and the heart necessary to take the show to the next level.

Put kindly, Ritter came off as an entitled jackass, trying way too hard to be a “rock star.”  Borderline rude throughout the show, he shoved off a sound tech who was trying to fix his in-ear piece mid-song, as well as barking commands at the audience in a coy, “I’m just kidding, but I’m not” kind of way. Ritter’s holier-than-thou attitude put an obvious damper on an otherwise near perfect performance.

The Rejects’ set was preceded by three opening bands: Shiny Toy Guns, Ace Enders, and Vedera. Shiny Toy Guns performance was fantastic, but strange. They ride the interesting line of Silver Lake-style alternative with a European twist. They were not just musicians, but performers. However, depending on who was singing lead, the performance had an entirely different feel. When female lead singer, Sisely Treasure, was leading it, the performance seemed manic and hip, but almost frightening. When male lead singer, Chad Petree sang though, it had more of a laidback, alternative rock feel. Overall though, no matter how puzzling at times, it was always entertaining and always different.

Ace Enders was a mixed bag.  As the former lead singer of The Early November, he has made a name for himself through his band, but not necessarily as a solo artist. He came out on stage confident almost to the point of cocky, while most everyone wondered who he was. His music was solid and entertaining for the most part, but the songs began to sound the same after a while. He saved his set though with his last song, “Bring Back Love.”  In my mind, it was the only point in the set where the audience got a glimpse at the real Ace Enders.

The most impressive band of the night though was the opening act, Vedera. As a female-fronted alternative pop band from Kansas City, one might think that the odds were stacked against them as openers for the hard-hitting pop stylings of the All American Rejects. However, when Vedera took the stage at precisely 7:01 pm, and lead singer Kristen May sang the first notes of the evening, the crowd watched with the same awe as that of a mosquito and a bright light: they were mesmerized. May’s voice soared above the music, instead of fighting against it, unlike many other female-fronted bands of today. Their music is not hooky, but it is real. One can tell May believes every word she is saying, and she truly looked grateful to be up on that stage. She has the humbleness and poise that Tyson Ritter lost somewhere along the way.  Maybe she can help him find it;  maybe not. Only time will tell. | Katie Herring

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