Saturday, June 6, 2009

Theory of a Deadman - March 15, 2009

On the night before I would see them open for Motley Crue at Madison Square Garden, I decided to watch Theory of a Deadman do their own headlining stint at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville New Jersey. With my good friend Bobby (who was also attending the Crue concert the next evening) in tow, we hopped in the car and headed down for a night of rocking good times.

On the drive down, we discussed stopping for something to eat and debated on whether we wanted fast food, or to stop and order from a restaurant/bar & grill. I commented that I didn’t care if we missed the opening act, so we had time to get a couple of beers and relax. No need to rush.

Bobby laughed and proclaimed that sometimes the opening bands are great and that it’s a good way to experience new music that you’ve never tried before. While I agreed with his point, I didn’t think that a band called Pop Evil was something I’d want to experience for a second time.

We had a bite to eat and a couple of beers and then headed to the venue. We missed the first opening act, but got in with time to see Pop Evil, who had yet to take the stage. I laughed at the name and thought to myself how good could this band possibly be? However, I had an open mind (as I always try to do with opening acts) and sat back to see them take the stage.

They came out looking like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Their guitarist resembled a shorter Justin Timberlake. The bass player was a captain Jack Sparrow knock-off if I ever saw one, and the lead singer looked girlish. Judging by looks, I wasn’t expecting much out of this band.

By their second song, my thoughts started to change. This band actually wasn’t so bad. They had a decent sound and seemed to bring some energy. When they launched into 100 in a 55, I was hooked. Obviously a lot of people liked this band, because the front of the crowd was singing along with Pop Evil during the hook.

As soon as their set ended, I ran right to the merchandising table to purchase their CD. This band was fantastic live and I wanted to hear them again and again in the privacy of my own home with the headphones on. Bobby laughed at me, recalling our conversation from earlier in the evening. He was right; you never know how good an opening band can be.

We went back into the club and waited for the headliners to take the stage. Neither of us had ever seen Theory before, and I was really looking forward to them. I had been a fan since their debut album and with each album they released, their sound was better and better.

Seeing them perform a headline set in a club was a real treat too. I don’t get to see many shows at the Starland, so when I go, I savor the moment. We stood approximately 50 feet away from the stage and had a great view of everything.

Theory came out and launched into Crutch, which is a decent song, but not one of my favorites. I was not expecting that for their opener. They followed up with By The Way which is another decent song, but again, not one of my favorites. The first two songs filled my head with doubts about how their set would be.

Little Smirk followed and things really picked up from there. Nothing Could Come Between Us, from their debut, was an excellent crowd sing-along, as was Invisible Man. Theory’s debut disc is a fantastic recording that not enough people know about or listen to regularly. Hearing these gems live was a real treat.

Tyler Connolly looked and sounded amazing. His voice was in good form, and even though they were coming to the end of a long tour with Motley Crue, they decided to use an off day to perform their own headlining set. That’s the sign of a band that really gets along with each other and has plans for longevity.

For our show, David Brenner was not behind the bass guitar. He was actually home celebrating the birth of a child. Someone was filling in for him on bass, and did well in his steed. There was a sign held up near the front of stage that read, “We Miss Dave” that Tyler acknowledged.

When the band ripped into Make Up Your Mind my adrenaline kicked into high and the night escalated to another level. This was the first Theory song I ever heard, the song that got me into the band, and it was a song that I loved. Theory performed an incredible version of it, and I was hooked on their live performance from that moment on.

Santa Monica and No Surprise would follow, the later being an excellent, rocking, live version that had the whole audience singing along, stomping their feet, and being loud and proud.

The final song of the main set was up next and Tyler set it up nicely with a quick story about hating to get up in the morning to go to work, you’re too tired, up too late the night before at a Theory of a Deadman show, and now you got to go somewhere that you don’t want to be. Somewhere you hate. The band ripped into Hate My Life and the place went nuts. Everyone was screaming along, myself included, especially when we got to the “my boss is a dick!” part, as unfortunately, that phrase was very poignant in my life during that concert.

Theory would disappear for a moment, only to return for a two song encore. The final song of the night was a real crowd pleaser in Bad Girlfriend. Another song that everyone knew and loved and sang along with, it was a great way to close out the night.

Theory had come, headlined, and blew us away in approximately 95 minutes time. Bobby and I were both thoroughly impressed, and the band moved up the ranks on his list, becoming a new favorite. For me, it cemented the reasons why I liked the band so much. And should the opportunity arise to see them headline again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Setlist (to the best of my recollection)
By The Way
Little Smirk
Nothing Could Come Between Us
Invisible Man
Better Off
Not Meant To Be
Got It Made
All Or Nothing
Make Up Your Mind
Santa Monica
No Surprise
Hate My Life
Hating Hollywood
Bad Girlfriend

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