The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, The Sundance Kids @ The Palais, Melbourne (22/08/2009)

The Palais Theatre in St. Kilda is definitely the least expected place for US rocker’s The All-American Rejects to play their headline tour of Australia. But even with a fully seated venue, hundreds and hundreds of lucky fans and two support acts comprising of US band Hoobastank, and the young up and comers The Sundance Kids joined forces and rocked the Palais to its foundations during The All-American Rejects Melbourne stop on their –  “I Wanna Rock!’ Tour.

The Sundance Kid’s singer Ash Gale has a phenomenal voice and the band they ended their set on such a high with the crowd at their feet, wanting more. They are most definitely making a positive name for themselves. Expect them to be added to festival line ups and more support act slots in the near future, The Sundance Kid’s are easily one band to keep your eyes on. Unfortunately, Hoobastank were on next.

Now then, if you love Hoobastank and don’t ever want to hear anything bad about them, feel free to skip to the next section of the review. Otherwise, you have been warned. I’m not one to badmouth a band or look at the negatives in a performance, but Hoobastank were an incredibly poor choice for a second support slot. Not only were they completely in love with themselves, but lead singer Doug Robb is easily the most self-indulgent human being I have ever seen play in a band. Ever.

Strutting his stuff on stage like he is God’s gift to rock music, Robb lead his band with an introduction of Out of Control, a bland and generic rock song, followed by Inside of You. The crowd were not really enjoying it, so Robb thought it would be funny to point out that a member of the crowd with what he so affectionately referred to as –  “man boobs’ stating that they are the biggest he has ever seen. Unneeded sympathy laughs were given to Robb, but honestly, it’s a rock concert, not high school. Robb is just one massive fool with a massive ego.

It wasn’t until they reached the end of the set that things got interesting. Telling the crowd that they have only come to Australia four times, and that they need to sing along more, Hoobastank launched into the highlight of the set, a cover of the Ghostbusters theme song. Following on with the crowd knowing lyrics to at least one song, Hoobastank performed the most successful song from their musical catalogue, The Reason. The crowd sung along, and it was probably the saving grace of one of the most irritating support acts that I have ever seen. Hoobastank finished the set with Crawling in the Dark, which despite really disliking the band’s set, was actually a pretty cool song.

When the stars of the night, The All-American Rejects finally graced the stage, the screams of their fans boomed throughout The Palais and guaranteed that the next 80 minutes or so would be the most unbelievably loud many would experience for a very long time. Being somewhat of an incredibly theatrical performer, singer Tyson Ritter graced the stage and welcomed the applause from his dedicated fans, before leading The All-American Rejects into their opening song for the night, Move Along, a great choice to open the set. With the crowd at their feet, Fallin’ Apart was the next song to be performed, with the enthusiastic crowd trying their very best to rock out and mosh in a seated venue. Many fans actually left their seats to stand in the aisles down the front of the stalls, much to the disgruntlement of the security. But it’s a rock concert, who expects an audience to actually sit during it?

The All-American Rejects then performed the catchy and fan favourite Dirty Little Secret, an early highlight of the night when the opening riff began and with Tyson joking by making a few –  “subtle’ lyric changes, about the girls who chose to wear minimal clothing in the first few rows. Following up this, Stab My Back was next on the setlist, which was received with screams from the female fans in the venue. No doubt Tyson would have loved all the attention.

Going back to the days of their debut self-titled album, the guys from Oklahoma performed the opening track of their first release, the very popular My Paper Heart, which was followed by I’m Waiting, a tune from theri second album, Move Along. At the halfway through point of the set, there was time for a special birthday celebration song and the a brief hiatus where Tyson declared Mike Kennerty the greatest rocker he has ever known, having Kennerty try and make the loudest possible strum he could with his –  “rod’, aka his guitar. No denying that Kennerty made the ground shake a little with every strum of his guitar. Quickly exiting the stage for a one minute hiatus, Tyson returned shirtless, and covered in glitter, yet another example of his theatrical side.

Moving onto play songs from their 2008 release When The World Comes Down, The All-American Rejects performed their smash hit song I Wanna, which quite easily became one of the highlights of the night. Pulling out an acoustic guitar, Tyson called out to the crowd to hold that special somebody that they hold close to their heart, stating that although The All-American Rejects are known for writing some romantic songs, Tyson himself is a bit unlucky in love and that those with somebody should treasure them every chance that they get. It was a pretty sweet moment, and so the band began to play Mona Lisa, with guitarist Nick Wheeler opting for a double neck guitar, and Tyson even entering the stalls to sing.

Following the trend of songs from When The World Comes Down, The All-American Rejects began the fist pumping, mosh worthy song, Real World. Even though The Palais is a seated venue, it was great to see the crowd find a way to jump around a bit. The beginning of the song It Ends Tonight began to hint that the show was coming to an end, and it was definitely a sad feeling that such an amazing night was coming to a conclusion.

With two songs left for the night, The All-American Rejects jumped right into Damn Girl, before ending their phenomenal set with the suitably titled, The Last Song. As the band departed the stage, cheers of –  “All American Rejects!’ and –  “One More Song!’ filled the Palais, and without hesitation, the band were back on stage for two encore songs, beginning with The Wind Blows which had the crowd waving their arms in a synchronised left to right motion. But this was very quickly changed to a fist pumping motion, as The All-American Rejects finished their incredible set with Gives You Hell, concluding with drummer Chris Gaylor ending the show with an epic finale.

Those who didn’t leave the show right away had the lucky chance of being treated to signed set lists and exclusive All-American Rejects guitar picks, given out by the band members themselves. It must be hard to perform an entirely rock concert in a seated venue, where all you want is to give it your all and have the crowd go crazy, but The All-American Rejects pulled it off performing one of the most energetic and spectacular rock concerts Melbourne has seen in recent times.