Judging from the response at Avalon on Friday, the moniker for the band All-American Rejects couldn't be more disconnected from reality. With an audience that had committed the band's lyrics to memory and jammed the venue before the first of two opening acts even took the stage, the Rejects were welcomed like conquering heroes.
If they reveled in the power granted to them by their fans, the band never took it for granted. Despite the rock-star affectations that seemed to afflict frontman Tyson Ritter, the group was never anything but inclusive. They seemed to be having a blast throwing themselves into their slick but sharp pop-emo anthems.
That sense of fun was enough to counteract some of the sameness of material and the prerecorded percussion triggered by a well-hidden keyboardist. Both suggested a disinclination to toy with a successful formula, even at the risk of sacrificing spontaneity. Recasting ''Night Drive" as an acoustic front-porch hoedown seemed less like adventurousness born of the band's self-proclaimed ''Oklahoma pride" than it did a token change-up.
If ''Top of the World" sounded like Green Day lite and ''I'm Waiting" and ''Move Along" were beaten to the punch by Fall Out Boy, the Rejects still accomplished what they set out to do. And while Ritter, an indelicate bass player, committed the unpardonable sin of letting a roadie finish playing ''The Last Song," the swap ended the show with such a burst of energy that it didn't seem to matter.
Opening act The Academy Is covered similar territory and seemed primarily a vehicle for frontman William Beckett. Rooney followed and seemed more like a band and less like test-marketing. With a sound ranging from Weezerly alt-rock to Paul Collins's Beat, the group took advantage of power-pop's teen appeal without relying on it.