CSUN hosted two most explosive bands, Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday, at the fifth annual Big Show Sunday.
The show was coordinated by the Associated Students’ Student Productions and Campus Entertainment division.
Limited activity in the Sierra Quad made it obvious that Mates of State was not the band drawing fans to this event.
Mates of State didn’t sound too bad, but despite their music practically echoing back from Porter Ranch, everybody looked like they were having a picnic on a quiet afternoon. Towels were strewn out, and friends were sitting together eating frozen lemonade from the concession stands.
Unfortunately, that is the fate of every opening band, and these guys didn’t really seem to have what it took to be the exception.
Blair Landon, junior psychology major, described Mates of State’s music as “a mix between church and the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack.”
After the Mates of State walked off the stage, a collection of disco and funk tunes served as the transition track between bands– a selection that made me think of a Celine Dion mix being played at Ozz Fest.
Then, in a flurry of confusion and delirium, I watched in awe as Taking Back Sunday cut off the Jackson Five’s “ABC-123” to resuscitate the dying mob and bring life to Big Show 5.
These guys played amazingly. They had a lot of energy and were successful in bringing the audience into the show.
Adam Lazzara (vocals) was a vibrant and explosive character that really knew how to work with the microphone. He would sing with it hanging like a noose, wind it up to his chest and throw it out at the audience, or wrap it around his neck while singing.
The rest of the band may not have been as openly extravagant as Lazzara, but they all played a role in the overall presentation. Fred Mascherino (guitar, vocals) chimed in with his own two cents between songs, Eddie Reyes (guitar) and Matt Rubano (bass) both threw in some well-timed scissor kicks while they played to Mark O’Connell’s adrenaline-pumped beats.
Taking Back Sunday deserved much more support from the crowd for their effort. Gradually, people began to crowd surf over the barricades only to be led back into the audience by security.
Taking Back Sunday’s best quality is being able to connect with their fans better than most other bands. After frequently mentioning the intense heat and sun pouring down on his face, Lazzara found himself having such things thrown at him as a pair of sunglasses and a tube of sun block.
Keli Kittinger, a future CSUN student, said she threw the sun block because “he said he needed it.” She also added that she wanted to “be helpful because they’re being helpful in bringing the music to us.”
During the show, a woman from the audience yelled out that she wanted to sing with Taking Back Sunday. They invited her up, and she led “New American Classic” with enormous support from the crowd. Even Mascherino appeared to genuinely enjoy the moment.
By the end of Taking Back Sunday’s set, the crowd was a lot more enthusiastic and happy, and judging by the large number of people suddenly wearing Taking Back Sunday shirts, the new tone in the attendees was not a coincidence.
“It was a good show,” said Alex Pazirandeh, junior computer science major. “I like hearing their new songs.” His favorite song was “Cute Without the ‘E.'”
Not long after Taking Back Sunday left the stage, Jimmy Eat World came on to finish it up.
The crowd went berserk, and all the students on the outskirts of center stage came rushing up as Jimmy Eat World stepped out to play.
Jim Adkins, Zach Lind, Rick Burch, and Tom Linton put on a great show. Nobody was disappointed with their music. I saw everybody having a good time one way or another, from the shirtless men in the pit, to the little 3-year-old girl marching to the drum beat.
Where Jimmy Eat World certainly excelled in memorable songs and superior music quality, they lacked in stage performance. Taking Back Sunday was so completely off the wall with their choreography, whereas the Jimmy Eat World members just stood in one place while they played.
That didn’t discourage me from getting in the middle of all the pitting action though. I ran in barefoot and joined the die-hards in a little bit of elbow swinging.
Jimmy Eat World by far earned the best reception. Everybody screamed for them to come back on after their set was finished.
“Jimmy Eat World is one of my favorite bands, but I’m disappointed they didn’t play an encore,” said Desmond Ortega, senior broadcast journalism major.
Despite the much lower turnout than expected (about 2,500 people attended, compared with the 8,000-10,000 that were planned for), the event still drew a larger audience than in previous years.
“I think it’s pretty big, because we have two bands that are big among a lot of people,” said A.S. President Cara Keith. She said last year, the only big band was The Ataris, but this time there were two big names involved.
One KROQ worker compared the small show to having a big band play in your backyard.
The show was great. Everybody played well and the show was successful enough to compel 2,500 people to ditch their moms on mother’s day and spend the afternoon at CSUN.