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l_3a3a599a33274c559f705390f68998ed.jpgTake Action Tour 2009
featuring Cute Is What We Aim For
with Breath Carolina, Meg and Dia, Every Avenue and Anarbor
Newport Music Hall
March 31st, 2009
Columbus, OH

First things first: the Take Action Tour Myspace page stated the show would begin at 8pm. So I stroll up at 8:30 and make my way inside, figuring the opening band should go on soon. No one is on stage and all the lights are on so I assume I was just in time when five teenage boys dressed like Rev. Norb from Boris the Sprinkler (but with far worse hair) take the stage.

One of the children dons a keytar, for which they get minor points. Granted, dude is no Majic Conner. There are two vocalists, one who tries to sing and one who just screams, another guy on a sampler (he pushes play), and a drummer (who probably has the second easiest job in the band, seeing as most of the drumming is done by a machine).

I find it somewhat odd that the crowd (who is singing along) would know so many lyrics to the songs of an opening band. This is finally explained when I realize this is Breathe Carolina and I’ve missed half the show.

Thanks for the misleading Myspace page Take Action! I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what I missed because I hadn’t heard of the bands before (well, I’d heard of, but never listened to, Anarbor). However, I was looking forward to seeing them. Apparently I should have shown up at 6pm.

Initially, I actually thought B.C. might not be so bad. Turns out, the first number was just devoid of the screaming; by the second song the kitsch had worn off and I frowned when thinking about how this techno-babble is what passes for punk these days. These guys played a Miley Cyrus song. It’s from the Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2 compilation CD, but listen to these guys yourself and determine whether you think it was covered in jest or not. Here’s a simple, logical truth: in order for punk to go pop, it actually needs to be punk first [Editor’s note: Well said, Coolhands].

Toward the end of their set I ordered a Sierra Nevada at the bar. The highlight of the night would have been the nonexistent lines for beer, if I weren’t one of only four people old enough to drink. I spent an excruciating 45 minutes between Breathe Carolina and Cute Is What We Aim For trying not to listen to all the teeny-bopper crap going on around me. Eventually the headliner came out and the crowd went hysterical for a few. The venue wasn’t even half full, but the amount of noise these shrieking girls conjured probably made it feel like a packed house to the bands on stage.

Cute Is… has been around for a number of years, and I’m at least familiar with their sound, if not an actual listener. They aren’t really up my alley, but they do put on a decent show. Vocalist Shaant Hacikyan sounded quite a bit like Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio on numerous songs throughout the night. Their drummer was solid and there were actual instruments being played so I was pretty satisfied with their performance. They played well together. However, the most memorable moment of the set wasn’t a song at all, but Hacikyan’s dedication to Tom, who, at the start of the tour, asked Hacikyan how his father was doing after not seeing him for two years, back when Hacikyan’s dad was fighting cancer. A close runner-up was his retelling of another friend on tour busting out a window with his ass while mooning cars. Apparently someone from Meg and Dia had to put peroxide on his ass to help with the glass injuries.

One final disappointment: this was the Take Action Tour- it’s supposed to promote non-profits, ideals like volunteerism, community service and the like. However, the only information I could find about any non-profit at all the booths set up was a little collection jar for a non-profit called saveabreast.org raising money for a girl who maybe has breast cancer or something (it wasn’t very specific). Aside from this, Cute Is… did mention dosomething.org, the non-profit receiving 10% of ticket sales from the tour, on stage. Hats off to them for at least mentioning there was a point to the show besides screaming at the top of your lungs…although I fear the message fell on deaf ears.

–Luke Toney