KJEE’s Summer RoundUp, featuring Hard-Fi, She Wants Revenge, Panic! At the Disco, Franz Ferdinand, Yellowcard, and the Strokes
At the Santa Barbara Bowl, Sunday, June 11.
Reviewed by Levi Michaels
The cowboys and cowgirls over at KJEE have done it again, burning the midnight oil to orchestrate episode two of the Summer RoundUp. Promoters have been working interminably for nearly two months, with commercials and advertisements around every corner of Santa Barbara, and, fortunately, their work paid off last Sunday at the Bowl.
The day began with a hasty but kinetic performance by rising Brit-rockers Hard-Fi. With only one album to their name, the band’s stay of about 20 minutes seemed to be rather short-lived, almost as if they were buying time for the next act.
The time was at least well spent, as She Wants Revenge followed with a terrific set. The gothically garnished quintet offered a clean set list that borrowed astutely from their eponymous album. Though the group is relatively new to the scene, they seemed to play off each other with the grace of veterans.
Perhaps the crowd was waiting for Panic! At the Disco, who skillfully held the audience’s attention: The band wore ornate harlequin costumes while half-naked servants brought them tea. A well-placed cover of “Tonight Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins did well to complement the selections from their album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The boys certainly put on a good show, though it came dangerously close to the point of distraction from the sound.
But where the boys in Panic! succeeded in entertaining, the following act failed. Yellowcard made smart selections from their new album Lights and Sounds, as well as the older Ocean Avenue, but the crowd responded with wan interest at best. The group was so excited to be there they were literally doing back-flips, as violinist Sean Mackin displayed, but the energy was far from reciprocated. Formed in 1997, Yellowcard was the most seasoned band there, but a heavy presence of bored Franz Ferdinand fans seemed to make up most of the crowd.
And the Scots did not disappoint. The momentum really picked up when Franz Ferdinand sounded off with well-translated singles like “Do You Want To” and “Take Me Out,” before leaving with an explosive performance of “This Fire.” The stage was set for the Strokes.
With only a handful of U.S. performances on their itinerary, the crowd seemed to welcome the Strokes with open arms. The alt-rockers greeted their sold-out crowd with “You Only Live Once,” a single from their newest album, First Impressions of Earth. The Strokes followed through with a well-crafted set list that sent the entire crowd home grinning after the band trashed the stage in true rock ’n’ roll spirit.