Taking Back Sunday live in Boston

WHEN: November 17

WHERE: House of Blues, Boston

There is no record that best captures complete, unadulterated and unapologetic angst like Taking Back Sunday’s very first album, 2002’s Tell All Your Friends. Although it’s only ten tracks long and songs barely clock in over the three-minute mark, frontman Adam Lazarra pushes his vocal boundaries at every turn. Whether he is shooting poisoned punk arrows at his exes (“Cute Without the E”)  or narrating sobering, cautionary tales of fallen friendships (“There’s No I in Team”), Lazarra makes sure to take brash and masterful aim at anything he sets his eyes on.

At times, his impressively needy and insistent voice is just the right balance on the band’s shambolic, charming debut. During others, his snarling makes it clear that listeners must bear the weight as Lazarra shamelessly unburdens himself throughout. Because of the way that record defined the genre of “emo” through intense lyrics and beguiling riffs, it is their most well-received album to date. And after some notable lineup changes, it was nice to have all five original members back to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tell All Your Friends by playing the record in its entirety.

When the five guys from Long Island took the stage, they were greeted by emphatic cheers from a sold out audience. Instead of jumping right into their planned discography, they decided to play some hits off of different records. Tracks like “What’s It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?,” “A Decade Under The Influence,” and “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)” were met with intense energy from the crowd as practically every member in it knew all the words to every song.

The evolution of the members of TBS seemed pretty obvious—they were more focused, better crafted, very gracious. The biggest change was seen in Lazarra, who has gone from clean-cut frontman to burly and bonafide performer. Although he’s kept some of his signature stage moves (his infamous mic swing, venturing out into the fans), his confidence was wholly demanding. After completing TAYF, TBS ventured into two other tunes from earlier in their career: “Your Own Disaster” and “The Ballad of Sal Villanueva.” And as they did, the crowd—fully aware that these were going to be their last songs of the evening—turned friendlier. From patting each other on the back to giving each other hugs, TBS proved that they have the ability to not only rile up large groups of people, they have the ability to bring them together as well.

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