The Natty Nittany Goes to See Mae
Onward State had the pleasure of attending SOZO’s Friday night affair. Put together by Nittany Booking – repeat offenders at the venue – the show featured Mae, a first-gen emo band along with a cast of supporting bands from around Pennsylvania. Nittany Booking has hosted multiple shows at SOZO and has delivered each time – my favorite being the Good Old War appearance they made possible last semester.
Like a Movie, a band from Altoona, Pennsylvania took the stage first. The band, comprised of a double guitar assault and a host of synthesizers, presented a 2000’s approved pop punk setlist. Their hooks were catchy and their looks gave them heart throb status among the predominantly female crowd. They were well received – I especially appreciated their use of doubled guitars midway through their set. While they were highly entertaining, their songwriting was a hair juvenile. Coming from someone who listens to bebop, I may not be an accurate judge. The slowly growing audience seemed to have no problem with it.
Following the fresh faced Like a Movie was Kingsfoil. Hailing from York, Pennsylvania, the band similarly relied on pop motifs (falling in love in the big apple?) to win over the starry eyed girls that stood before them. Their sound was tight, yet much simpler than the previous act. Their stage show is very polished, yet I was a bit disappointed that they lacked a sense of uniqueness. They’re a great band that seems to blend too well with their contemporaries. Their fans (many of which were male) were very passionate about the band. Possibly a bromance going on there? Not sure what groupies were at their after party…
Third on the set was The Composure – my favorite of the evening. Their compositions were noticeably meatier than the other performers of the evening (they used more than power chords and the occasional open chord). Their use of lush backing vocals also stood out against their already strong melodies. Native to the great city of Pittsburgh, they faced large technical difficulties early in their set. Luckily, they were allowed to play their set despite. Needless to say, it was worth the wait. Their debut album is still in the works, but I anticipate it more than I did 808’s and Heartbreak. Great job, guys.
Finally, Mae took the stage after three hours of pop rock. Only having two original members in the current lineup, I was skeptical to see how they translated since my last viewing of them in 2003. The band was tight as ever and the packed venue went wild whenever they launched into their “major” hit “Suspension”. The band stuck to their The Everglow era material – something that the entire crowd appreciated. Singularity – their latest effort – was a very weak moment for the band. They even took a moment to plug their charity of the moment, Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great cause and I’m glad they touched on it. The major complaint I had with Mae was their general disregard for the audience. Requests for “The Ocean” were frequent throughout the evening – especially after a tease of the opening piano lick. Mae outright refused to play it. When I see the Rolling Stones, they play “Satisfaction”. Not playing your best song is foolish, Mae.
It was another great evening at SOZO. Crowd reviews were highly positive. Thanks to Nittany Booking for the great time.