There have been plenty of studies and theses on our senses and how they correlate with our memories. The power of music is one of the strongest lures to provoke specific memories, pulling us back into a moment or time in our lives.
It had been more than three years since their last show and 16 years since the release of I Am The Movie. But it felt like yesterday for the audience, as I overhead many people talking about when they first saw them, how many times they saw them, and even stories of knowing singer Justin Courtney Pierre back in high school.
A wave of nostalgia washed over the crowd with the opening four songs. “Attractive Today,” “Everything is Alright,” “Broken Heart,” and “Disappear” were a jukebox of singing and jumping around. This energy continued through the set, with keyboardist Jesse Johnson adding fuel to the fire with headstands and intense cowbell for “Her Words Destroyed My Planet.”
Halfway through the set Justin shared a touching tribute to longtime friend and producer Ed Ackerson. He thanked First Avenue for hosting a night of music in his honor, as well as sending condolences to his family. Justin shared how discovering Ed’s band Polera in high school changed his life and how getting to know Ed and work with him was a dream. They then played “True Romance” from the GO release that Ed produced. It was a touching tribute and warmly received by the audience.
Although almost every song had the crowd singing along, “Better Open The Door” and “Red Dress” were two of the louder songs. Watching the crowd from the balcony know each and every moment to raise their fists, and jumping together at each of the same spots in the song, was pleasantly eerie. It just reinforces how music digs so deep in our memory.
Motion City Soundtrack do not have easy lyrics either. Take my personal favorite track “Hold Me Down”:
You’re the reason why I burst and why I bloomed
You’re the leaky sink of sentiment
You’re the failed attempts I never could forget
You’re the metaphors I can’t create
To comprehend this curse that I call love
Every line and lyric bubbled up to my mouth as they ripped into the song. An hour before the concert I wouldn’t have been able to recite any of the words. Now, like a light-bulb turning on, it was all clear and illuminated in my mind. Music is a powerful thing, especially when it ties into your youth. No amount of studies that can prove how impactful hearing is for music.
Ending the evening was two of their biggest songs, “Let’s Get Fucked Up and Die” and “The Future Freaks Me Out.” This sparked a nonstop carriage of crowd surfers and a feverish circle pit, all participants having smiles on their face.
Motion City Soundtrack captured our youth at The Fillmore for three shows this week. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another three years to rekindle our memories once again with them.