New Orleans, LA (December 7th, 2019)– Many young bands dream of having a 25-year career, but few actually make it. The Get Up Kids are one of those bands, having formed in 1995, shortly after the band members graduated high school. Tonight they stopped in New Orleans, in celebration of their first album in 8 years- Problems.
A sticker on the merch table described Joseph LeMay, aka Sontalk’s music as “Strangely Hopeful Bummer Jams”, and I don’t think I could have come up with a better description. From the emotional “I am a War Machine” to the sadly optimistic “Baby I’m Gone”, to a new tune “Halfway to Memphis”, Sontalk’s songs cover the range of human emotion from heartbreak to hope.
Indie rockers Hembree, of Kansas City, Missouri, arrived in New Orleans for the first time today, and, according to them, jumped right out of the van and started partying. After having to wait for a parade to pass before they were able to unload their equipment, the five piece band, consisting of frontman/guitarist Isaac Flynn, bassist/vocalist Garrett Childers, keyboardist Eric Davis, guitarist Alex Ward , and drummer Austin Ward entertained the audience with 45 minutes of their fun party jams.
Songs like “Continents” and “Skyline” have a very 80’s-inspired sound that make it impossible not to dance. “Symmetry Lines” is, according to Flynn, “a Saturday dance party song”, which made the disco ball in the venue seem even more appropriate. This was my first Hembree experience, and I’m hooked. I’m looking forward to hearing much more from them in the future.
Fellow Kansas City natives, The Get Up Kids returned to New Orleans for the first time in 20 years, and fans were more than excited to welcome them back. Frontman and guitarist Matt Pryor and crew played a 24 song set, spanning their 25 year career. The band barely paused in between songs, but there was no reason to. The enthusiastic crowd, who grew up listening to The Get Up Kids, mirrored the band’s energy and eagerly danced, sang, and shouted every word of every song. Their enthusiasm was contagious, as I couldn’t help but join them, and found myself alternating between taking photos and singing and dancing along with them. Even acoustic song Campfire Kansas, which featured guitarist Jim Suptic on vocals, with bassist Rob Pope moving to drums, and his brother, drummer Ryan Pope playing tambourine, couldn’t slow the audience down.
Suptic apologized for taking so long to return to New Orleans, joking that they could have returned even without a tour, because Matt plays mean bucket drums. The band then played a six song encore, including their cover of The Replacements’ song “Beer for Breakfast”, and ended with fan favorite “Ten Minutes”. Let’s hope The Get Up Kids come back to New Orleans sooner rather than later.
The Problems tour wraps up on December 15th in Ferndale, MI, then picks up again on February 23rd, 2020, with Midwest and East Coast dates.