I'm sure there were nerves, butterflies, what have you; considering this is their first show, American Television has every right to feel some trepidation even if they are playing to a sparsely attended DC9 tonight. However, their age and professionalism leads me to believe this isn't their first rodeo. The crowd work and asides are casual and self effacing, something that usually comes with years of practice. They start off quick with Better Living Through Chemistry, a solid pop punk piece that has all the traits of a well written genre song; thumping bass, emphasized vocals (not quite screaming but certainly not singing) and an old fashioned break down. The set feels like a throwback of sorts. Even though the style is quite different, I would compare tonight with The Ocean Blue show from last year; steeped in the past. There is definitely an early to mid-nineties skate video vibe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when American Television does it so well. I wonder if the Fat Records compilation LPs are still around. Many car rides were spent scanning through volume 4, Fat Music for Fat People, (No Use For A Name, Lagwagon, Mellincolin) and American Television would fit nicely among those artists.
That said, this music is definitely, rather feels as if it is for a younger crowd, however, to be honest I am not quite sure what younger folks listen to now, so who knows. Decades ago, American Television would have been in resting in my 3-disc Aiwa CD player decade always at ready; in case I needed to amp myself up before some nefarious teenager activities. There are definitely hints of nostalgia here and I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of this sparse crowd isn't feeling something quite similar. The only thing missing from tonight's performance are the pandering sing-a-longs, the soaring choruses that always have a healthy dose of ooh; though there may have been a little of that at the end there, alright there was definitely a lot of that going on at the end. Though it's not my thing, I can see some young, enthusiastic, suburban teenagers getting into it. I think tonight's audience may be a little to jaded for that.
If anything, American Television can rest easy that their brand of throwback punk sent me home early. Not because the music was awful far from it. As I said earlier, while it may not be groundbreaking, American Television can write a catchy, loud, piece. On my way to the show last evening, I neglected to prepare accordingly. After thirty minutes of pounding, my headache got the best of me and decided to skate on the remainder of the show. American Television sent this old guy retreating home to a bottle of ibuprofen.