Emo/Pop Punk Heroes The Get Up Kids Play Northern Kentucky This Week

The band plays Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Southgate House Revival in support of 'Problems,' their first album in eight years

Dec 9, 2019 at 10:39 am
click to enlarge The Get Up Kids - Shawn Brackbill
Shawn Brackbill
The Get Up Kids

Problems, The Get Up Kids’ first full-length album in eight years, opens with lightly strummed acoustic guitar as frontman Matt Pryor’s pensive, high-whine voice relays the following: “By myself/I don’t think anybody else even cares if all is well/You’re only thinking of yourself/It’s a long way down for me.”

It’s a stark contrast from “Holiday,” the opening track of 1999’s Something to Write Home About, which bursts forth with slashing guitars, bombastic drumming and Pryor’s keening vocals: “What became of everyone I used to know?/Where did all respectable convictions go?”

Yet the juxtaposition between the two table-setters makes sense: The Kansas City, Missouri-spawned band is 20 years on from Something to Write Home About, a well-established landmark that helped define the then-burgeoning Emo/Pop Punk genre. The follow-up, 2002’s On a Wire, was a significant shift in direction — less driving and more acoustic-based, it featured lush production from Peter Katis, who would go on to make his name working with the likes of Interpol and The National. Pryor is well aware of On a Wire’s contentious place in the band’s trajectory, but that didn’t stop him from reuniting with Katis for Problems, 12 songs that reflect the maturity of five guys who are now in their 40s. Pryor also admits to looking outward more often for inspiration these days.

“On the one hand, my own catharsis in songwriting is only going to fill up so much space, so I need to draw from other people’s issues to have things to write songs about,” Pryor said in a recent interview with Billboard. “As I’m always saying, ‘I love my kids, I love my wife, life is good’ is not really good fodder for Rock music. Ironically, (it works) really well in Bro Country. Have you ever noticed that all the Bro Country songs just talk about how good life is?”

Speaking of irony, album closer “Your Ghost Is Gone” is one of the saddest songs The Get Up Kids have yet put forth, a piano-backed lament about fading memories and the perils of moving forward.

The Get Up Kids play The Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Hembree and Sontalk open the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets/more show info: southgatehouse.com.