Mix a couple thousand screaming girls, “teeny boppers,” and enough distortion to make a bald man’s hair stand up and you get something crazy: the MxPx/Simple Plan tour. Upon arrival, I was eagerly awaiting MxPx’s set. I came to the conclusion that it would be an awesome night when the opening band, Don’t Look Down, preceded to get the crowd warmed up. Sugarcult followed and didn’t let anyone down, with a few hits such as “Pretty Girl” and “Bouncin’ Off the Walls.”
Finally, after much anticipation, MxPx came onto the dark stage with disco balls, and fog machines,–an unforgettable en-trance. They obviously fed off of Sugarcult’s steam, and took that to the end. Opening with “Play It Loud,” MxPx set the standard for the rest of their set, getting the crowd energized from the very first note. Looking around, I saw kids as young as 12, and even up to 45, jumping to the music.
They blended soon-to-be hits from their new record, Before Everything and After, with the classic favorites. A few highlights were “Summer of 69,” “Responsibility,” and “Quit Your Life.” MxPx nailed the factor of stage presence, and their crowd interaction was phenomenal. The vocals were on key, guitars never missed a strum and the drumming was over the top. The pop-punk trio from Washington owned the show, and out-performed most bands I’ve seen live.
Coming back out for an encore, MxPx played “Punk Rawk Show,” and had everyone’s fist in the air and throwing the lyrics back towards the stage. Even the rookie MxPx fans were singing back the lyrics, “There’s no use in TV shows, radio or rodeos / I wanna get in the crowd, and play it real loud!” For anyone coming into the show with those lyrics in mind, they sure got what they wished for.
Before the show, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Yuri, drum extraordinaire of MxPx. Here’s what he had to say:
Kris: Growing up, who were your musical inspirations?
Yuri: Most of my friends played music in junior high school, and I was attracted to that. I saw other bands play around town, small local shows, and that’s what really got me interested.
Kris: MxPx got an early start ght out of high school. Did you feel you missed any of your youth by being on tour at such an early age?
Yuri: No, not at all. I feel my youth was enhanced by having such a cool job.
Kris: Describe your first tour, such as the venues, crowd sizes, etc.
Yuri: Our first tour started two days after we graduated high school, and the four of us (three band members and a roadie) took a van and took two months right out of the gate. They were small, but it was really exciting because we met so many people and we started our next tour a month after the first one started. It was really, really cool!
Kris: Did you and the others ever clash heads due to being around each other so much?
Yuri: Being in a van with three other guys attracts clashing like no other. You know, you work through things like any friends would do. We did this over, over and over, and I feel it brought us closer if anything.
Kris: Now, being signed to Tooth-And-Nail records, you often got the title of “The Christian rock band” thrown after your name. What were your reactions to that?
Yuri: The reason we got that title is that the three of us are all believers in the church. We never used the band or the stage as a podium to profess; we used it for our music. A lot of people will throw their expectations on you whether or not those were the same expectations you had for yourself. Tooth-And-Nail’s main distribution was to Christian bookstores, so people assumed things about us. Yes, we’re Christians, but no, we weren’t preaching through the stage. And to a lot of people, that has to go hand-in-hand. Some of our fans saw us not preaching on stage and took it the wrong way, so after a few years, we took it and got away from Tooth-And-Nail altogether and started opening for real bands in clubs and stuff, because that’s where we wanted to be!
That’s where they wanted to be? Well, now they have younger bands opening up for them, living the same dreams that MxPx once viewed. The overall quality of the show was an A+, and if MxPx ever comes back around to the Philly area, you’ll catch me at their “Punk Rawk Show.”