Relient K | 03.24.07

The show drew all types of music fans—old hippie throwbacks, teen girls clad in their cutest Hollister miniskirts waiting for Matt Thiessen's marriage proposal, hardcore teenage guys straight from the set of Wayne's World, and even a hip youth pastor thrown in for good measure.

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

In my mind, there is quite a large difference between a fan and a fanatic. The crowd at the Pageant for Relient K was quickly approaching fanatic. Fans of all ages packed the sold-out show, causing even the balcony to open up to those under 21 to accommodate the concert population. It was the lineup to end all lineups, if you are into mainstreamed-pseudo-Christian rock 'n' roll, sporting the likes of Sherwood, Mae and Relient K. The show drew all types of music fans—old hippie throwbacks, teen girls clad in their cutest Hollister miniskirts waiting for Matt Thiessen's marriage proposal, hardcore teenage guys straight from the set of Wayne's World, and even a hip youth pastor thrown in for good measure. It was going to be an interesting night, especially from my view, in the very pit of the pit, about six feet from center stage. Let the fun begin.

After standing in the pit for close to two hours waiting for the show to start, we kicked off the night with Sherwood. Their set was highly energetic with their very enthusiastic keyboardist, Mike Leibovich, stealing the show. Every beat, the guy was thrashing around, bobbing his head, having a hell of a good time. He would play some keys and then go back to his frantic dancing. Sherwood was musically tight and lyrically deep without getting too soppy or emo. All and all, their set was downright delightful and the perfect way to open the show.

Once Sherwood was finished, after about 20 minutes of humid awkwardness in the middle of the pit with what seemed like 1,000 of my closest friends, Mae finally took the stage. Their set, to be perfectly honest, was quite forgettable. Every song seemed very much the same, a bit monotonous. Granted, I was not exactly paying the utmost attention, since I spent most of their set trying to protect myself from thrashing teenage boys who thought it would be fun to start their own personal mosh pit. "Someone Else's Arms" was an obvious hit with the crowd though, forcing everyone to pay attention. However, their onstage banter pretty much blew. Lead singer Dave Elkins even admitted at one point that he doesn't do that onstage "talking" thing. And while they did hang out near their merch table right after their set, the only Mae member to sign anything after the show was Zach Gehring, the guitarist with the very cool plaid shirt. The rest? Nowhere to be found. Their set was OK, but nothing to be remembered.

And finally, it was the moment we'd all been waiting for: Relient K. They entered the stage with gusto and launched right into their first song, "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been." They were energetic and lively, everything I expected them to be. About half of their set was off of their new album, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, and the other half was more of their well-known tracks from previous albums. Their new album is respectable, but the one thing that it seems to lack are the tongue-in-cheek lyrics for which they are known. Their musicianship is phenomenal, but at times, the lyrics are just too typical. They were songs that could be written by anyone, with maybe the exception of "Faking My Own Suicide," which had Matt Thiessen written all over it. I guess the members of Relient K are growing up, though, and with them, their lyrics. Unfortunately, Relient K and grown-up lyrics is something like seeing your best friend from grade school wearing a business suit. Some things you just can't get used to.

All and all, the concert was enjoyable, but not as good as I had hoped. I'm not sure whether it was the obnoxious crowd, the disheartening reality of "Christian" bands attempting to go mainstream, or the dislocation of seeing one of my favorite bands trying to act all grown up. The real question, though, was whether the problem was theirs or mine. Are they trying to be something they're not, or am I trying to hold onto something that has past? Only time will tell. | Katie Herring

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