Sunny Day Real Estate / The Jealous Sound Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC September 17
Published Sep 18, 2009Remember when "emo" wasn't an insult? In its '90s heyday, bands like Jawbreaker, Cap'n Jazz and Braid all fell under the emo banner, playing music that was closer to the genre's post-hardcore roots (see: Rites of Spring) than the flaccid dreck we call emo today (see: Fall Out Boy). It was with these distant memories in mind, then, that those old enough to have them gathered to celebrate the golden age of emo with the recently reunited Sunny Day Real Estate.
The night was first kicked off by L.A.'s the Jealous Sound. Fronted by Knapsack alumnus Blair Shehan, the band seemed to have flagged a little since the release of 2003's excellent Kill Them with Kindness. A long-awaited follow-up, the Got Friends EP, appeared on iTunes in late 2008, but their performance was oddly anemic. Still, a little rust is understandable, given that this was the first show of what is a reunion tour for them as well.
Having said that, though, Sunny Day Real Estate was anything but rusty. And folks, this is how you run a reunion tour. With no new album to speak of, SDRE are essentially touring in support of the re-release of their first two records, 1994's Diary and the following year's LP2 - but those were the songs you wanted hear anyway. This meant the band strayed far away from any of their later work and avoided such albums as The Rising Tide, a record produced in 2000 during their abortive first reunion.
And given their extended hiatus, original members Jeremy Enigk, William Goldsmith, Dan Hoerner and Nate Mendel sounded ridiculously tight, and songs like "Seven," "In Circles" and "Friday" had their emotional punch heightened by evening's sentimentality. Even the band's sole newly written track seemed to capture that old, much-missed feeling. And frankly, without a new album, it's difficult to sell this as anything other than a nostalgia trip, but sometimes a little nostalgia really hits the spot.