Josh from Motion City Soundtrack discusses the Epitaph Tour.

Epitaph bands join for tour stops at NIU, Metro

Motion City Soundtrack guitarist Josh Cain does not like to perform with a bunch of sound-alike bands.

That's why a tour like the Epitaph tour --- which features several diverse bands that happen to share the same label --- excites Cain so much.

"Musically, it's all over the place," Cain said. "It'll be fun. It will be a good time."

Epitaph bands Motion City Soundtrack, Matchbook Romance, From First to Last and The Matches will perform Thursday at Northern Illinois University's Duke Ellington Ballroom in DeKalb.

Doors open at 7 p.m.

The tour will return to the area on March 17, when it comes to the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago.

Scatter the Ashes will replace The Matches on the bill. The show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15, available through Ticketmaster outlets.

With a glut of pop-punk bands clogging up the music scene these days, Motion City Soundtrack has received rave reviews for creating its own unique sound.

Cain rejects the pop-punk label.

"I definitely wouldn't consider us a pop-punk band," Cain said. "Our influences are more based on '90s bands like Superchunk and early Weezer. We are just part of a group of different influences."

However, the band has a punk attitude.

"We're really independent," Cain said.

The band continues to hone its songwriting skills, as fans will find on its new album, "Commit This to Memory," set for release on June 7.

"It's not as adolescent," said the 28-year-old Cain. "But it's not really a big change. The record's not a grown-up record. We're still trying to have the same kind of energy as the last record. But it is much more in the scope of a rock record than pop-punk."

The record is the follow-up to 2003's critically acclaimed album, "I Am The Movie."

"I think it is a real honest record lyrically for (frontman) Justin Pierre," Cain said. "I think Justin is going to show a little bit more of who he is to people, and there is more cohesive songwriting on the record. For him to put himself out there like he will on the record, it is a brave thing to do."

Motion City Soundtrack gained success through relentless touring.

"We did a lot of touring, that's what did it for us," Cain said. "We're from Minneapolis, and we couldn't get any shows that were really good for us. So we just set off on the road and got better as a band."

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