Better Than: Being upset that your Thanksgiving break is already over.
Every time Taking Back Sunday lead singer Adam Lazzara swung the microphone cord around his neck or climbed the balconies of Terminal 5 Saturday, I felt a pang of anxiety shoot up my spine. Between his stage antics and the thrash-dance heavy mosh pits forming across the main floor, the recklessness served as a reminder of what their breakthrough album Tell All Your Friends meant to suburban kids who were angry for no reason, or every reason, upon its release 10 years ago.
• The weather was beautiful; this year there was wind. Sunlight gently cascaded onto the grounds and sometimes retreated behind the clouds, where it burned invisibly. Every Time I Die singer Keith Buckley paced swiftly across the Monster Energy stage. "There's no roof on this stage," he said. "There was a roof, but the truck hit an overpass and knocked it the fuck off. We are exposed to the elements and it's beautiful."
• The more introspective bands get audiences with sensitive tattoos. "At least we're still alive" was engraved along the length of one Polar Bear Club fan's collarbone.
• There was at least one tent in which a sponsored and mildly attended dubstep party transpired.
• One man dedicated a full minute to peeling a promotional sticker from his shoe.
• By 5 p.m., half of everyone carried a misshapen sunburn, pain in generous pink blossoms.
• The curious quantity of Magic: The Gathering cards littering the pavement, then the heavy and cynical shadow of the Magic truck just beyond the Kia Soul Stage.
Taking Back Sunday w/Thursday
Best Buy Theater
Sunday, July 17
Better than: Breaking up.
The Best Buy Theater seems hermetically sealed from Times Squareto enter it is to completely remove yourself from the heat, which, in July, introduces stasis to the blood. You are rewarded inside with a new cool existence in a frozen tube. Inside there is lighting like the inside of an addict brain, muted but forceful. Here a band like Thursday can half-work: their new record, No Devolución, is mixed so that the songs seem mute sketches of themselves, courting the high frequencies while also displacing bass and therefore shape and meat. To explain it is to try to pin superlatives to a half-forgotten thing in another room. Mid-set, singer Geoff Rickly celebrated its success in the modern terms of the music business"It's No. 3 on Metacritic."
Set against their older worka kind of forceful post-hardcore with real and earnest allusions to A Silver Mt. Zionthe songs from No Devolución were assigned a pulse, or at least to an environment of muscle. The mixa flat beam of guitar, sometimes accompanied by the complete loud arc of a vocalshould have magnified the new, distant Thursday songs. But even live and invigorated, the new songs imparted a distance. Members of the crowd were visibly displaced, locked in a confusion of prepared responses. Who can clap or scream in a vacuum?