Joe Phillips – Detroit – The Shelter, MI – 2004-03-27

Joe Phillips
Where: Detroit – The Shelter, MI.

When: 2004-03-27

… Unfortunately, this bit has to start with a negative vibe from me (though, admittedly, it’ll be the only one of this write-up). See, I really only headed out to this show because my beloved Bayside was supposed to be one of the opening acts, which unfortunately turned out to not be the case because of an illness in the band (though all signs point to the fact that the band would be on-board for the tour within a few days). Grrrr. Still, though, I wound up having a few beers and having a good time regardless, so I guess there was no harm done in the long run.

I was able to wrangle up my Dad to head out to The Shelter with me (he’s a fan of both Bayside and The Juliana Theory), and we walked in right in time to hear Joe Philips of Few and Far Between start up his set. See, we didn’t know it at the time, but he got the last minute call to fill Bayside’s slot on the line-up. Circumstances aside, Philips’ acoustic set was solid, based mainly around material from Few and Far Between’s Three record (including the rarely-played “In Loving Memory”). For kicks and giggles, Philips’ tossed in an old Whiskeytown tune, as well as a nice cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”

Wisconsin’s Number One Fan followed with a phenomenal set of material from the band’s Compromises release. Every song ripped off some deliberate two-guitar goodness mixed with simple keyboard parts to create a musical punch that gave the band’s entire set a near arena-rock vibe. Most of the material was slower, but the songs were still catchy in a low-key way. Still, the defining moment of Number One Fan’s set came during the band’s performance of “Sorry,” when frontman/guitarist Nicholas Ziemann threw his head back, yelling out, “Since we broke up and now I must grow up / You said change / The only thing I hate more than you” while throttling his guitar behind the mic stand. Number One Fan was intense, to say the least.

Anberlin followed with a solid set that meshed punk, screamo, and rock to a pretty strong affect. The band’s sound was tight, and the singer was a ball of energy, writhing around all over the stage whether he was singing, talking, or screaming. The only downside was that some of Anberlin’s material seemed to run together at times during the set. Still, though, the band had a lot of energy, and the band’s enthusiasm more than made up for the lulls in the set.

As for The Juliana Theory … Well, flat out, the band rocked. When the band played catchy guitar pop, it rocked. When the band played slower, more ‘emo’ styled material, it rocked. When the band got bold a few times and played some heavier stuff, it rocked. The Juliana Theory could do absolutely no wrong during its entire set. Highlights included the band’s emotional performance of “Into the Dark” (which came complete with an audience sing-along to the “In your eyes” bridge) and an absolutely ripping version of “This is Not a Love Song.” It was probably three songs into the set when I realized that regardless of whether Bayside had played or not, this entire tour was very much The Juliana Theory’s show. It may have only been The Shelter, but The Juliana Theory put on a set worthy of a legitimate arena-rock band on this night.