The Reputation – Durham – MUB Entertainment Center, University of New Hampshire, NH – 2002-02-20

The Reputation
Where: Durham – MUB Entertainment Center, University of New Hampshire, NH.

When: 2002-02-20

Just when I was beginning to loathe my school, WUNH, our most excellent radio station, goes and does something like this to make me think twice. Even after three years on this campus, I had never been in the Entertainment Center before, which I found amusing. The number of people at the show was minimal, seeing how it was poorly promoted and the music scene in New Hampshire isn’t always the liveliest one, but everyone in attendance seemed excited to have a decent band playing just a few minutes away from their dorm.

Opening things up was The Reputation, led by former Sarge member Elizabeth Elmore, who you may also recognize from the split EP she did with Robert Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes). “We’re called The Reputation, and this is our first tour,” Elmore said as she introduced the band. The Chicago four-piece started out with a handful of more bluesy, jammy, folky, poppy songs, but after taking a break with a quiet piano ballad of sorts, they let it all hang out with a dose of more rocking songs to close out the set and get the heads in the crowd bobbing. And speaking of heads, this was the first concert at which I had ever seen a member of the audience cheer on the band with a rubber penis. “Is that real?” asked my companion Bucko, but I don’t believe it was. One of Elmore’s guitar strings broke during the next to last song, which gave the three men of the group a chance to strut their stuff with “The Man Song,” which you may recognize from “South Park.”

As my other companion Rob muttered “beer, beer, beer,” asking how long it would be before the show would be over so we could head downtown to take advantage of discount Wednesday night drinks at the college bars, Late Night Television took the stage, asking the audience to praise them with chants of “aloha” instead of actual applause. The band bounced between lethargic, droning indie pop and more rambunxious, rootsy rock. The more rocking songs were far more interesting, as they showcased some fierce guitar shredding, which the boys of Sorry About Dresden, who were standing in front of the stage, encouraged and yelled for more of.

Then came Sorry About Dresden, straight out of North Carolina on a tour of mainly colleges that they booked themselves. The first couple of songs were slightly sloppy and chaotic, as the band seemed to have more energy than it knew what to do with, but everyone found a groove quickly, and things were okay. Drummer James looked a little hung over, but he ripped into his drum kit nonetheless, frequently losing his sticks in the air, while in front of him bassist Matt jumped up and down, coming awfully close to falling off the tiny stage. To the left of this was singer/guitarist Eric, and to the right was singer/guitarist Matty O, who remained the calmest of the bunch, stopping at one point to tell a joke: “Did you hear about the pirate movie coming out this summer? It’s rated aaaaaargh.” Eric added later in regard to the merchandise the band had for sale: “If you have disposable income, we want it.”

The band mixed together plenty of old and new material in the brief set, playing songs like “A Losing Season,” “One Version of Events” and “Hosanna in the Highest” from their new album, The Convenience of Indecision. Also falling into that category was “Deadship, Darkship,” complete with guttural screams that prompted the crowd to sing along. The energy level was consistently high throughout the entire set, and it all came to a head with the final song, during which James’ head was smeared with cake by a member of Late Night Television, and someone else climbed onto the stage to sing backup and then leap into the drum set. It was all just a little bit crazy, and definitely worth the five-minute road trip and the $2 charge at the door.