By Kelli Green
A cool September night of full bodied emo shenanigans at the Uptown Theater in KC, MO kicked off with the Cali based post-hardcore band Dead American, who had to start their set with a battle against modern technology. There was a technical issue causing absolutely no sound to radiate from any instruments. So lead singer Cove Reber did what any good front man w do and just chatted with the crowd. He told us that he slept in the front seat of the band’s van on his way to KC causing him to look forward to raging on stage even more than usual. Once the tech crew got them squared away it was in fact full on rage mode. Dead American’s set may have started cold but the crowd was quickly warmed up to sweat with Sleeping With Sirens.
If you’ve ever seen Sleeping With Sirens you know you’re in for an absolute love fest. Maybe it’s your love for their erratic energy, or Kellin’s unique vocals you cannot replicate in the shower no matter how hard you try, or your boo you snuggled up with during “If I’m James Dean, You’re Aubrey Hepburn”. Kellin even joked about putting up kiss cams for that song, which I hope we actually see happen on the next tour. SWS fans are, after all, emo and if you can’t hang, then there’s the door, right?
But no one was running for the door during SWS set, the only place anyone was running was straight for the pit. Kellin tosses that mic around like it’s a generator powering the crowd, and the crowd refuses to be outdone by an inanimate object. You do, after all, go to a rock show to ‘Leave It All Behind’, and a vast majority gets left behind in that pit, whether it’s your emotions or a shoe.
But whatever was left out there on the Uptown floor, there was still more than enough energy saved up for headliners The Used, who quite literally made it rain inside that theater, albeit a shower of confetti. The set started with an anticipatory Kabuki drop, revealing a stunning stage full of pink roses and The Used ready to ‘Take it Away’.
The band may have been at it for 23 years, but fans of The Used have pro-created more fans and made the following even stronger, proven by the age range of crowd members singer Bert McCracken pulled on stage to dance during “Paralyzed”. The impromptu dance crew consisted of a decently shy teen, a very stoked mother-young son duo, and a 20 something female that may have actually been ‘Paralyzed’ by excitement.
But no matter what age, every member of that crowd was always ‘Listening’, the title of a new banger they dropped as a tour debut. Some bands drop a debut live and lose the crowd, but The Used boys had the crowd never ‘Giving Up’ from start to finish. The night was seemingly coming to a close with the ‘Taste of Ink’, because if you don’t use every ounce of energy you have left to go absolutely FERAL screaming “it’s 4 o’ clock in the f*cking morning”, are you even emo?
If you weren’t emo before, you were as thousands of tiny paper hearts rained down on the crowd from the confetti cannons, even reaching up into the balcony so that every single person felt the love literally floating through the theater. But as the peaceful shapes settled from their flutter, the theater illuminated again for an unforgettable encore.
The encore started with ‘I’m a Fake’, but ended for real with ‘Box Full of Sharp Objects’. Complete with a Kellin Quinn cameo and even more confetti, the encore was exactly what hundreds of emo fans needed before pouring out of the theater in our Vans slip-ons to retire for the night. The early bird gets the worm, but it was a late night for the steadfast emo kids of Kansas City.