The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, The Sundance Kids @ The Tivoli, Brisbane (19/08/2009)

It is an early start on a school night as The Tivoli hosts a sold out crowd on this unseasonably warm winter evening, and the young crowd line up around the corner eager to get the best viewing spot for tonight’s pop pleasures.

The Sundance Kids are a young band from Adelaide and seem to be well known amongst the crowd here tonight, receiving a rousing cheer as they take the stage. They kick off the night with some melodic-pop-indie tunes, and each one is catchy and well performed. The band are thoroughly entertaining as they dance about and lead vocalist Ash Gale encourages the crowd to join in if they know the words and to clap along. The standout song of the set is Drive Away and also a brilliant acoustic number called Small Moments. Expect big things from this South Australian quintet.

The next band may be a little old for the majority of this crowd, but nevertheless there are some dedicated Hoobastank fans in the building. Front man Doug Robb bounces on and off the metal stands at the front of the stage as he propels his vocals out and over the crowd. Robb leads the band through an energetic set, with Outta Control and Born To Lead and the crowd on the floor start to really get into the rock beats.

Robb converses with the audience and they scream back at him. I have to laugh at the puzzled looks from some of the younger audience members as Robb starts a singalong with the Ghostbusters theme, especially the teen in front of me who asks his friend, –  “What are they singing?!’

The Letter, the latest song from the Californian lads provides more of a chance for everyone to join in but it is the band’s biggest hit to date, The Reason that really has everyone warming up the vocal chords. Hoobastank encounter a slight guitar problem but Dan Estrin gets it sorted quickly and they belt out a polished performance of Crawling In The Dark to finish their set.

The audience is eager for the headlining band and as the stage is prepared for the onslaught of Tyson Ritter and his Rejects, the excitement pulses through The Tivoli like a live thing. Suddenly the lights go out, the screaming is deafening and we are all blinded by the huge lights at the back of the stage as they illuminate the outline of The All-American Rejects. The opening chords to Dirty Little Secret blast through the speakers and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. Ritter shines, quite literally, as he dances around in skinny jeans and his upper body bare except for the fabulous purple and gold glitter body paint that sparkles in the glaring spotlights. He is easily one of the most endearing and dramatic front men of any band this reviewer has seen and tonight’s no exception as he rolls about the floor, flinging himself into every part of the stage and playing for every single female heart in the crowded room. The pace of the main set is hectic as they belt out tracks from their latest album When The World Comes Down.

A stand out song is the slower, Mona Lisa (When the World Comes Down) but then they rip into Real World before slowing right back down with the older tune It Ends Tonight. The band play so well, especially guitarist Mike Kennerty, who easily keeps up with Ritter’s antics. They are fine-tuned and entertaining, and there are few in the crowd that would disagree. The main set draws to a close with the ever-contagious Move Along, the lights dim and the screams for the Rejects to return to the stage are piercing. They begin their first encore, and blast into The Last Song, drawing it out as much as possible before leaving the stage again. The crowd is still not satisfied and scream even louder for the boys as they anxiously wait to see if that really was the last song.

It obviously isn’t, as the foursome launches into their most successful single yet and the one that most of the crowd was hanging for – Gives You Hell. Playing with as much energy as the first song, they tear up the stage and the screams reach an ear-splitting high as every person sings along. The All-American Rejects raise the roof of The Tivoli as they end the night, leaving everyone completely satisfied with what they have just witnessed.