Motion City Soundtrack @ Mr.Smalls November 11, 2012

Written by Big Smile Staff

Featured Artists: I Was Totally Destroying It; Jukebox the Ghost; Motion City Soundtrack; Now Now; Genre: Electronica; Pop; Punk;

Motion City Soundtrack
Pittsburgh, PA
Mr Smalls
November 11, 2012

What better place to be than at a church on Sunday? How about at Mr. Smalls Funhouse on the Sunday of a super awesome concert!

Mr. Smalls Funhouse is always a great trip. It’s a very quirky place and the staff is always incredibly nice. But tonight isn’t about the staff, the handlebar moustache of the hot dog vendor, or the outrageous outfits and fake glasses the bartender girls wear; tonight is about fast paced music, exciting sing-alongs, briefly electronic piano solos, and giant wispy hair. Motion City Soundtrack stopped by Pittsburgh with some awesome bands and put the whole city in motion!

The first act of the night was a band from North Carolina called I Was Totally Destroying It. Unfortunately, since the line was so long we got in just in time for their last song of the night, which was shame because they are an awesome band with a strong female lead. I am really enjoying that females are becoming more common as leads to bands and everyone is giving them the proper credit (without adding the “for a girl” at the end of the compliments). Their style is electronic with the strong and crunchy guitar riffs I’m a fan of. They are getting to play shows with a lot of big names, like tonight, and currently on a small tour with Passion Pit. I hope to be seeing more of them soon!

Next was another strong female oriented band, Now Now. You might recognize them from their Windows 8 commercial (seen here: Everyone was dancing along to the music which was pop-punk with an inde feel with just a sprinkle or two of trance vibes through the electronic piano. I was really big fan of the lead's voice and lyric quality and I was very impressed with how well the audience responded. I like that female bands are being repsected and taken seriously with little to no effort. Something else note-worthy is thier perfomance style and how it shifts from being relaxed to very jumpy in little to no notice. Now Now had a really awesome set and they were great performers that engaged the audience with little to no effort – just through their music alone. I would go to great lengths to see these kids again and you should really give them a listen!

I overheard a lot of kids excited for Motion City Soundtrack, but I heard the same amount excited for the third band of the night, Jukebox the Ghost!

Jukebox the Ghost is a 3 piece band from Philly/Brooklyn who remind me a lot of the headliner, Motion City Soundtrack, and Modest Mouse with a lot of inde based influence as well as a pop vibe. Right away the crowd was engaged and sang along. I didn’t know my very own city had such a love for these three dapper gentleman. I was impressed by each of their instrument playing as well as how the lead vocals were split between the pianist and the guitarist for separate songs. Their ability to talk to the audience and get them to sing, clap, and dance along was impressive almost as much as the fans willingness to listen and give these guys a chance. I had the privilege before the show to talk to Tommy Siegel (pictured above; interview up here:) and found out a lot of interesting things like thier writing style, "Somebody" video facts, and album interpretation. I have only been a short time fan of Jukebox the Ghost but they’ve got me right where they should have everyone – by the headphones!

The final and most energetic act of the night was Motion City Soundtrack. Not only is the lead, Justin Pierre, a very energetic and emotional performer and singer I was also entertained by the synth player, Jesse Johnson. Jesse spent most of the night head-banging dangerously close to his keyboard, singing loudly without a mic, making loud screeches when the music was silent, and encouraging the audience to jump and clap and get down and dirty.

I loved the fact Motion City Soundtrack did not stick to a solid set list this whole tour. The songs were the same throughout but the order was different at each city they visited. To me, this gives the crowd an entirely different show each night and also allows the band to not get bored of the same routine over and over. I especially liked the cover song they chose for their encore. They invited Ben Thornewell from Jukebox the Ghost up to do an awesome cover of “Army” by Ben Folds Five. Ben did an amazing job on piano for the song, but he always does an awesome job on piano, and Motion City Soundtrack did a fantastic rendition of the already incredible song.

Hands down Motion City Soundtrack puts on an awesome show – all the time, every time – but it’s probably due to the fact they’ve been together as a band for so long. Their debut album, I Am The Movie, was released 10 years ago. To this day when they played songs off that album the fans went absolutely ape-sh!t, lost their cool, jumped their hearts out, and sang along. I’ve been a long time fan of Motion City Soundtrack but only attended a few of their concerts; I’ve never been let down at a show but I have gone home with my brain melted and craving more of their albums. Let’s hope these guys are a career band and are around to stay for 2022 for their 20th anniversary of I Am The Movie!

I love when bands are very organic in their performances – they don’t need fancy gimmicks or promises to entice their audience to come and cheer them on through their whole set. I hope Motion City Soundtrack, Jukebox the Ghost, Now Now, and I Was Totally Destroying It know they are totally welcome to Pittsburgh as they have adoring fans who greatly appreciated and enjoyed all of their performances individually and together. Keep on being completely awesome!

For more photos please visit (and like!)

-Alyssa Hawley
(All Photos taken by Josh Snider)





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