Punk bands scream their way into DeKalb. Epitaph Tour 2005 press.

Punk bands scream their way into DeKalb

Matchbook Romance headlines four-band show at ballroom

NIU got a little bit punk Thursday night when the Epitaph 2005 Tour rolled into the Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Four up-and-coming bands from the Epitaph label - Matchbook Romance, Motion City Soundtrack, From First to Last and the Matches - performed in front of 700 fans for more than three and a half hours and left ear's ringing by the end of the night.

Crowd members sported studded belts around waists and necks alike, while multicolored hair, tattoos and body piercings completed the punk rock look.

"We've been getting requests for a punk show for a while," said Campus Activities Board Concert Coordinator Bridget Brennan. "We tried getting some of tonight's artists before, but the dates never worked out right."

Matchbook Romance headlined the night with a 45-minute set that blended simple melodies over complex timing structures to produce an upbeat punk sound.

Taking the stage in complete darkness and greeting the crowd with a simple "good evening," Matchbook Romance opened strong and flawlessly segued one song into the next.

"I came to see Matchbook Romance," freshman geology major Chris Swanson said. "I'm pretty surprised to see that these bands stopped by and the cheap price always helps out."

Motion City Soundtrack performed a 10-song set with electronic synth sounds mixed with infectious pop hooks and catchy lyrics.

The band also previewed songs from its upcoming album, due out June 7, and the audience jumped along as if they already knew every beat.

From First to Last performed as the second act of the night, playing seven songs and kept the audience on their feet and moving for the long night ahead.

Younger fans also came out for the show too.

"I came to see From First to Last and they were really good," said 15-year-old Ashley Brock from Rochelle.

Action on stage became so intense during From First to Last's set that lead singer Sonny Moore lost a shoe and guitarist Travis Richter accidentally broke his $2,000 guitar, causing the band to stop midway through a song. Then again, what's a punk show without someone breaking something?

The Matches opened the night playing a 35-minute set that got crowd members moving and moshing in the middle of the ballroom.

The band took full advantage of the stage by jumping off monitors and knocking down microphone stands over and over again.

Lead singer and guitarist Shawn Harris signified the end of the Matches set by diving into the crowd while his guitar echoed pure distortion well after the last song finished.

"We've never played in DeKalb before," said Matches drummer Matt Whalen. "College shows are usually hit or miss and tonight was definitely a hit."

By Collin Quick
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