Thursday, June 14, 2012

Show Review: The Promise Ring - Irving Plaza (NYC - 5/20)





Hey y'all. I feel like ever time I post I  make apologies related to the length of time since my last post. This is no exception. Its been a dogs-age I know. Since my last update I went to see one of my favorite bands of all time - The Promise Ring.


Some say these guys were the originators of what is now classified as "Emo" rock (as Thursday were the originators of "Screamo").  I got into these guys in college with the help of my good pal Chris Budz.

Here's the scene as I remember back to1997...

We were "pre-gaming" prior to going to an a-typical college Halloween party my junior year. Chris came by and noted that he was skipping the party to go see a band in Philly called The Promise Ring. I thought to myself (think of your "college" brain) "Man, this must be a pretty kickass band to not only want to trek to Philly from Newark, DE but also miss what was expected to be an "epic" kegger."

In my hungover haze I picked up the album 30 Degrees Everywhere the next day and I was instantly hooked. I bought everything I could get my hands on (which IS saying much cause I was broke). I didn't get to catch their final tour and wasn't crazy about their final album which was a little softer/more produced that usual.

Post break-up it took some years but Davey got back into making music and formed Maritime with ex-Promise Ring member Dan Didier. I absolutely love Maritime but would always reminisce about the former band. I honestly thought I would never get to see them again.

It came full circle when late last year my buddy Chris Budz alerted me that The Promise Ring was reuniting for a few shows in 2012. At first it was one festival date out west (?) and a Chicago date but then the word came down that they were playing a show in NYC @ Irving Plaza of all places. Tickets went on sale on a Saturday at noon. I had a dentist appointment at the same time so (no joke) I downloaded the Live Nation iPhone app so I could buy the tickets while at the dentist office. I had to see this band. Luckily my future wife Tracy brought me back down to earth (as she always does) and offered a suggestion "Why don't I just buy the tickets at home while you're at the dentist". Genius.



Here's how the show went down, the set list and some extras.

The energy and chemistry amongst the band members was fantastic. The breakup was amicable. The band was just ready to move on to different things so there was no animosity with this reunion unlike some other bands where reunions are strictly for the cash and not the fans (ATDI I'm looking in your direction).

The sound and pace of every song played was tele-ported back from the 90s. Here is the setlist.


1. Size of Your Life
2. Happiness Is All the Rage
3. Emergency! Emergency!
4. Jersey Shore
5. Red & Blue Jeans
6. Make Me a Mixtape
7. Between Pacific Coasts
8. A Picture Postcard
9. Become One Anything One Time
10. Skips a Beat (Over You)
11. The Deep South
12. Stop Playing Guitar
13. Nothing Feels Good
14. Is This Thing On?
15. Perfect Lines
16. B Is for Bethlehem
17. E. Texas Ave
18. Tell Everyone We're Dead
19. My Life Is at Home
20. Get on the Floor
Encore:
21. Feed the Night
22. Why Did We Ever Meet?
23. Red Paint
24. Everywhere in Denver
25. Forget Me

They opened with Size of Your Life which was unexpected as a reunion opener but then they ripped into all of the old favorites starting with Happiness Is All The Rage.  They played a ridiculous number of songs (25 in total) with Davey feeding the crowd with banter. We were waiting for E. Texas Ave for half the show then they DELIVERED. My additional personal faves like Make Me a Mixtape and Everywhere in Denver (in the encore) which were so tight I could believe it.

The crowd was fantastic. I missed going to shows where the crowd is 100% into the band. I never understood the later. Mostly dudes in their 30s with horn rimmed glasses and beards. This wasn't a show where a few non-fans ruined the show with the loud yammering over the music. These were all die-hard fans and the fact that the show was on a Sunday helped. If this was the Black Keys at Summer Stage it would have been a totally different vibe (been there).

Here are some shots from the show...




As you can see from the set list they played tracked across the entire catalog including Wood/Water. Hearing Red Paint, A Picture Postcard and E. Texas Avenue live was the high point in my opinion. All live tracks were pitch perfect making me regret even more that I never saw them in their heyday. Check them out if you haven't been exposed. "If you don't know, now you know" - Biggie RIP

Here are some live videos from the show to play at your leisure. Enjoy.











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