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Tuesday
Jul232013

Review: Texas Is The Reason @ Maxwell's 7.22.13

Texas Is The Reason Maxwell's

The first season of Major League Soccer. The final Ramones show. Dolly the Sheep. Many events happened in 1996 that shaped some part of the world one way or another. Texas Is The Reason's only full length album Do You Know Who You Are? was released that year and received big praise from MTV. The following year, however, the band shockingly disbanded while on tour in Europe with major label Capitol Records looking to sign them when they returned. The band's only full-length album became a blueprint for emo music and has influenced major acts (Jimmy Eat World, Brand New, The Get Up Kids) and current rising emo bands (Dads, Balance and Composure, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die). To celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the album in 2006, the band reunited at Irving Plaza with two sold out performances. 


The outfit would eventually reunite again last year for Revelation Records 25th anniversary event before announcing their first tour in 15 years. Along with the release of Do You Know Who You Are? The Complete Collection, the band toured the U.S to simply say "Thank you" to their loyal fans who kept the group's music alive for all these years. Their March 30th show at The Music Box at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood was supposed to have been their last U.S performance but certain situations arose since then. Acclaimed rock club Maxwell's is set to shut its doors and asked the band to play one more gig before heading out for their European tour. Maxwell's meant a lot for Texas Is The Reason because it was a place where they matured as an act. It was also a place where all of the photographs in the Do You Know Who You Are? CD booklet were shot. Tickets for this last minute show sold out in a matter of minutes.

Comedians don't necessarily open for bands in 2013 (unless we're talking about Jim Breuer opening for Metallica). NYC comedian/musician Dave Hill was the right man for the gig and delivered some laughs for the sold out crowd. With an electric guitar in hand, Dave glared at the crowd and asked "Are you ready to get your asses handed to you?" The rowdy response was more than enough to get him rocking out to Danzig and Led Zeppelin covers. His set was full of outrageous guitar solos mixed with jokes ("'Imagine' from John Lennon is almost impossible to masturbate to...almost.") his experiences with Japanese toilets and some erotic short stories.

At 10:05pm, the lights dimmed down and the stage lights came on causing mass excitement from the crowd. As the title-track from Do You Know Who You Are? played on the PA, it really hit home for a lot of people that this was the last time they would ever witness Texas Is The Reason on-stage again. To make it even harder, this was probably the last time they would ever step foot in Maxwell's again before the venue closes for good at the end of the month. A conglomeration of emotions is obviously no stranger to emo music but that night it was almost surreal as the crowd silently gazed at the stage with those bittersweet guitars flowing through the air. 

Towards the end of the track, band members worked their way through the crowd and onto the stage to open with the track "There's No Way I Can Talk Myself Out of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song)". Unfortunately, the microphone cut out halfway through the following song "Something to Forget (Version II)". Vocalist Garrett Klahn saw no use for the mic with the crowd aiding him by blissfully singing the line "This is only fun for me." While most bands would normally perform an acclaimed album front to back, Texas Is The Reason have always done things off-kilter by playing the album in a different sequence each time.

There was a plethora of pushing and shoving during "Back and To The Left", a song that was very popular with local college radio stations like WSOU years after the band's split. "Just out of curiosity, who was here the last time Texas Is The Reason played Maxwell's?", asked Garrett with a few hands raised in response. Most of the crowd attending that night were in their mid to late twenties with a few reaching their forties. The only thing that mattered to the vocalist was the presence of their fans, both young and old, for their final performance in the U.S.

Garrett Klahn & Co. went into the slow rocker "Every Little Girl's Dream" which allowed the already sweaty sold out room to chill out for a moment before picking things back up with "Johnny On The Spot". "I'd like to think we were a Jersey band, said the vocalist in regards to their early upbringing practicing in a Long Valley basement before going into "If It's Here When We Get Back It's Ours" with the crowd bopping and crowdsurfing copiously. Just like "Every Girl's Little Dream", the track "When Rock N Roll Was Just A Baby" was another song that was finally recorded last year for their anthology release.

The band ended their set with "A Jack With One Eye" letting the sweaty crowd have their final chance to passionately scream "Your place is still at the heart of my everything", one of emo rock's most cherished lyrics. As band members hugged onstage, the crowd knew they just witnessed (and were fortunately a part of) a historic show.

 

Setlist

Do You Know Who You Are? (Intro)
There's No Way I Can Talk Myself Out of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song)
Something to Forget (Version II)
Back and to the Left
The Magic Bullet Theory
Nickel Wound
Every Little Girl's Dream
Johnny On The Spot
If It's Here When We Get Back It's Ours
Dressing Cold
When Rock 'N' Roll Was Just A Baby
Antique
Blue Boy
The Day's Refrain
A Jack With One Eye