Last Night: We the Kings, the Cab, Metro Station, and Cobra Starship at Culture Room
The Really, Really Good Looking Tour: Cobra Starship, Metro Station, We the Kings, the Cab
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Better Than: The programmed sounds coming from your 1985 Casio keyboard.
The bands on this tour could have held an open casting call, but they wouldn’t have found a better set of screeching, adoring fans than the sold-out, 98-percent female ’tweens at tonight’s show.
Sure, the performers are making a silly poke at the 2001 Ben Stiller-starring comedy Zoolander with their tour title, and they even incorporated Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” before playing, but from the crowd’s reaction, this tour might as well have been a serious male model showcase. Young girls nearly broke out into cat fights, storming the stage, shoving their peers (aka competition) just to make eye contact and snap shots of the bands with their iPhones (Believe me, there were enough iPhones to make this a commercial.). “Did you see him looking right at me?” (said to their friends) and “I want to have your babies” (shouted to the band) were the most popular overheard phrases of the night.
Of course, the bands loved this mob scene. They constantly flirted with the PG-13 status of the audience, tossing in banter about sex as much as possible between songs, “casually” lifting their T-shirts from time to time and making every effort to give a wink and smile at their wildly clamoring devotees. If they didn’t have guitars, I would have sworn they were a boy band. They may have invigorated the crowd with mildly risqué acts, but you couldn’t help but wonder if these guys were also taunting the nervous looking parents standing against the back wall of the venue.
(Note: As this critic learned, anyone wanting to see the Cab should, apparently, arrive well before doors are advertised as opening.)
The girls went ape-shit for the Bradenton, Fla., boys of We the Kings. The frizzy red-headed frontman Travis Clark looked like the average geek in math class, but tonight, he was a total sex idol. These punk poppers led their set with a Cute Is What We Aim For energy. The music flowed like a perfectly planned OC soundtrack, with plenty of “Ooooh” choruses. Simple? Predictable? Absolutely. It was everything this crowd seemed to want.
In between sets the merch table got busier than the mall two days before Christmas; fans brought their friends, moms and dads to the table to discuss the best purchase options. Everyone at the show seemed to have bought something – from the metallic and neon hoodies to the brightly-colored shirts.
Up next were the ridiculously over-styled dance pop-rockers of Metro Station, who looked like they were ready for an American Idol audition. Each member had his own distinct textbook emo style. This Hollywood, California quintet utilizes two front men who both sing and play guitar, leaving bass duty to the keyboardist. The more goth-inspired, tattooed lead man, Trace Cyrus, knew he’d get the screams roaring every time he did his single signature guitar jump – although, make no mistake, it was nowhere near the Pete Wentz level.
Cyrus took on the role of sending out exaggerated crowd-involving requests and animated facial expressions. It was almost like he went to acting school for this stuff – and not a good one. Cyrus offered the chatty Blink-182 kind of vocals, while his co-star, a sunglasses clad button-down pretty boy, Mason Musso, did most of the melodic parts. Every mouth in the venue seemed to shout the lines to all the songs with rehearsed perfection.
Finally, it was time for the ultimate ’80s emo dance party of Cobra Starship, who tore into the scene with “The City Is At War,” from their second album ¡Viva la Cobra!. Wearing black-rimmed glasses, skinny black jeans, a black hat and his usual purple hoodie, front man Gabe Saporta strutted around, shaking his ass like a male Shakira. (Saporta claims he learned his saucy moves when he dated a Hispanic girl in college.)
The band performed lots of favorites from their 2006 debut, While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets (“Keep It Simple,” “The Church of Hot Addiction,” “Send My Love to the Dance floor”). Making a surprise appearance, and for the first time on this tour, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy joined Saporta for “Kiss My Sass.” Although they could have been singing anything, really, since the screams from the audience were practically deafening.
It’s true that after awhile, Cobra Starship’s nonstop dance tunes can start to sound monotonous, but this scene simply climaxed with excitement as the set list continued. Saporta threw in lots of dialogue between songs – discussing everything from his love for South Florida and the possibility of his retirement here, to showing glowing affection for fans and saying he remembers when the band was just a MySpace page, after which he sang a few lines of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” (Most longtime fans will recall that Saporta caused a rift with Stefani over posting his “Hollaback Boy” version of her song on the Cobra Starship MySpace Page. She asked him to remove it.)
After “Bring It (Snakes On a Plane),” the band took a brief pause, returning with an encore of “Being from New Jersey Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” and “Guilty Pleasure.” “We came here to make you dance!” Saporta exclaimed. It was obvious that among many things, that’s exactly what this crowd came to do. As a storm of confetti sprung from the stage, the scene went wild in a way that even the best music video director couldn’t have choreographed.
– Monica Cady
Personal Bias: I was a ’tween in the ’80s – the first time all this was cool.
Random Detail: Trace Cyrus, co-frontman of Metro Station, is the half brother of Miley Cyrus. (That’s Hannah Montana for anyone living under a rock.)
By the Way: Look for Cobra Starship on this year’s Vans Warped Tour.