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MUSIC REVIEW

Rejects flash their smiles, play to crowd

The All-American Rejects played a sold-out show at the Paradise. The All-American Rejects played a sold-out show at the Paradise. (Evan Richman/Globe Staff)
By Jonathan Perry
Globe Correspondent / November 22, 2008
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Fame can be fleeting - especially when one's popularity is built on the sound of a moment. The All-American Rejects, a foursome of photogenically poppy punks from Oklahoma who hit it big in 2005 with their multiplatinum album, "Move Along," appear to be acutely aware of this truism.

The Rejects' sold-out show at the Paradise Thursday night attracted a wide demographic ranging from the young (preteens) to the less young (their parents), with a good chunk of the just-over 21 crowd in between. The latter, especially, seemed to hearten the band. "I like the kiddies," claimed singer-bassist Tyson Ritter. "But it's nice to have some adults here too."

The band's new album, "When the World Comes Down," is due out next month, and the frontman, perhaps feeling the love in the room, was in a confiding mood. "I don't know if we can do this a whole bunch more times," Ritter said right after blasting through "Stab My Back," one of a half-dozen selections from "Move Along" that made up the bulk of Thursday's hourlong set. "But we've got one more record in us, and this is the new single!"

Like a pro, Ritter flipped his matted hair, flashed his chiseled cheekbones, and dived into "Gives You Hell," a diabolically effective slice of sing-along pop that's been a ubiquitous presence on the band's website. Whether Ritter's uncertainty about the band's future was a calculated tease, false humility, or genuine ambivalence, that tune and other bratty buzz-bombs - "Dirty Little Secret," "Top of the World," the new acoustic ballad "Mona Lisa" - suggested the Rejects weren't about to cede the spotlight anytime soon.

And why should they? Knotty little numbers like "Swing, Swing," which opened the show, and "I'm Waiting," which got the shrillest shriek, were spring-loaded with guitarist Nick Wheeler's bold, primary-color riffs and the band's boundless, welterweight energy. Besides, the smart money was on them. The Rejects have already outlasted a bunch of their flavor-of-the-month peers, having issued their debut five years ago - practically an eternity in the ephemeral world of pop.

Given all this chatter about the past and the future, the band's encore dash through "The Last Song," was a consummate choice to end the evening. "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone," Ritter warned in a familiar sneer cultivated from Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. The mini-melodrama sounded perfect for a break-up or a prom: self-pity filtered through fast guitars and who-cares-tough-guy posturing. When the crowd sang the words back to Ritter, the tune's sentiment cut both ways.

THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS At: the Paradise Rock Club, Thursday

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