Concert Review: Motion City Soundtrack at House of Blues

What? Whats wrong with my hair?
  • "What? What's wrong with my hair?"

When Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre sang the first line of “Worker Bee,” it served as the perfect opener to the band’s show at House of Blues last night. “It’s been a good year, a good new beginning,” he sang. Quite appropriate for the Minnesota group, seeing that its new album (and first on a major label), My Dinosaur Life, just debuted at No. 15. The fans weren’t the only ones excited about the new album. “This is fucking great,” Pierre said. “I’m sorry I keep cursing, but I’m so excited.”

The Swellers, This Providence and Set Your Goals opened the show. The Michigan-based Swellers have released four records, which are part Midwestern rock, part punk. Seattle band This Providence has a sound that's as diverse as its hometown, starting its set with retro rock, before moving on to a pop ballad, then a boy-band-like track. They ended their set with the danceable “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.” The only thing the song needed was a keytar.

Set Your Goals seem a little out of place on the tour, but if you look past their awkward dance moves and the occasional rap-rock number, their music will grow on you. Fortunately, the band tried to rap on only a couple songs before playing favorites the audience wanted to hear, like “Goonies Never Say Die!” and “Look Closer.” Their music is tough, raw, fast and optimistic when you least expect it. Plus, Set Your Goals have a dedicated following, judging from the circle pit that formed as soon as they started playing.

The best thing about Motion City Soundtrack: They didn’t spend half the show talking to the audience. They thanked their fans and the other bands, but they were there to play. And they're a group that lets everything out onstage. While fans will never get tired of hearing “Let’s Get Fucked Up and Die” and “The Future Freaks Me Out,” the new songs really stood out.

Funny title and upbeat guitar parts aside, “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” is one of the most honest songs the band has ever written and one of its best. With its spastic lyrics and frantic tone, “Delirium” recalls the songs on MCS's second album, Commit This to Memory. “Pulp Fiction” sounds like something from the '90s, while “A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)” is an endearing and hopeful track — something the band rarely does. Too bad, because when they do go down this path, it always leads to something good.

Motion City Soundtrack ended the night with their most popular song, “Everything is Alright.” And so far in the new decade, everything is better than all right for Motion City Soundtrack. —Brittany Moseley

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.
Scroll to read more Music News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.