Webster Hall had more bunny costumes than a shopping mall on this Easter weekend. Although the show featured two acts that are known for their cult-like following, I wasn’t sure if I was at a Halloween costume ball, a freak-show or an emo-rock concert.
My visions of what character Reggie And The Full Effect’s James Dewees would portray that night were completely off the mark, when Dewees and his backing band, Shots Fired, stepped on the stage dressed in bunny costumes. The mastermind of emo/punk’s longest running, not-so-inside joke, strutted up to the mic, bunny suit, smirk, beer and all, fetching hysterical laughs. If you’re not in on the joke, then the joke’s on you. Dewees is either a complete nut-job or a total genius. Total genius wins out as he has made a career outside of The Get Up Kids with his heavy metal, synth-crazed homage to the perverse based around the fictitious Reggie and his band, The Full Effect, and a slew of others including characters such as Paco, Hungry Bear and Common Denominator.
Greeted to the chant of “Reggie, Reggie!” Dewees launched into “Girl, Why’d You Run Away,” off of Greatest Hits 1984-1987, followed by “What’s Wrong,” “From Me 2 U” and other classics from Promotional Copy and Under The Tray. The crowd also got a sneak peek at Reggie’s new album, Songs Not To Get Married To including “What The Hell Is Contempt?”, “Get Well Soon” and what’s bound to be a night-club anthem, “Love Reality.” The sound of keyboards beckoned the call to geek rock mayhem, both in the crowd and on stage as the band thrashed their guitars, their white rabbit costumes hanging heavy on their bodies. Dewees’ multiplicity as a keyboardist and singer, plus his court jester appeal lives up to the meaning of the word “entertainment.” From Dewees’ stage banter drawing laughs from the crowd like a late-night talk show host, to the explosive live performance (especially the blood covered encore) and of course, the music, you got your money’s worth just out of his hour-long set alone.
Florida pop-punkers and show headliners New Found Glory came out strong, as the audience jumped as one to “Understatement,” their Converse sneakers shaking the floor. Vocalist Jordan Pundik continued the Halloween fashion show wearing a costume mimicking The Incredibles (a muscle stuffed suit and an all-access sticker on his crotch).
In support of their latest release, Catalyst, New Found Glory’s fifth album and follow-up to Sticks & Stones, the act challenged the audience to keep up with them during their classic-aggressive, pop-punk swift guitar play and animated stage show. Band members darted from each side of the stage, stepping closer to the edge of the stage to sing among their fans. One thing that can be said about New Found Glory is they know how to work a crowd. Bodies floated amidst the crowd, sweating teenagers collided, while the band mixed their blend of teenage love anthems and trademark sound.
The band also played “Truth Of My Youth,” “Hit Or Miss,” “Forget My Name,” “My Friends Over You” and of course, “All Downhill From Here.” The pop-punk heroes proved they are still capable of bringing out scenester kids from every nook and cranny from New York, Long Island and New Jersey.