Where’s the synth?

The Minneapolis native synth-rock group comes home.

How long does Justin Pierre have to tease that hair every day?

Courtesy Columbia Records

How long does Justin Pierre have to tease that hair every day?

by Conrad Schoenleber

WHAT: Motion City Soundtrack, Saves the Day, Saves the Day, Valencia

WHEN: Thurs. Oct 28, 4:30 pm

WHERE: First Ave., 701 First Ave. N

COST: $25-28


                Justin Pierre is required to puff his hair up like he did in the early 2000s. Whether itâÄôs a necessary part of maintaining band recognition or a strange attempt at staying relevant is an open debate. Either way, their label, Columbia Records, requires it.

                Motion City Soundtrack is one of those bands that causes instant polarization. On one hand, they provide the soundtrack to so many angsty yet hopeful teenage years, inspiring love with catchy pop-punk hooks and soaring synths. On the other, theyâÄôre an aged and fading band, plodding slowly toward an inevitable breakup, losing relevance with each new album.

Their most recent LP, âÄúMy Dinosaur LifeâÄù (released in early 2010), takes their already successful formula of PierreâÄôs airy vocals over distorted power chords and adds a more forced pop element. It feels like an attempt to move onto the FM waves, but like so many other similar attempts, it also alienates an aging fan base.

What really set Motion City apart from other similar bands was their astute use of synths. On earlier albums, the synth counterpointed PierreâÄôs vocals and the overdriven guitar in a bright, poppy manner. Put in their 2003 album âÄúI Am the MovieâÄù and you are instantly assaulted with a towering synth riff that would make Emerson, Lake & Palmer jealous. The same is true of every one of their studio albums until âÄúMy Dinosaur Life.âÄù What gives, Motion City?

While this may have pushed some fans away, their latest tour is a sincere attempt at reconciliation. Arguably the strongest pop-punk bill seen in years, bright-eyed fans are bound to make their way to First Avenue to mosh and be seen.

âÄúWeâÄôre doing a long-awaited tour with Say Anything and Saves the Day. WeâÄôve been wanting to do it since 2003,âÄù Pierre said. âÄúThis is the first time that the stars aligned and everything worked in a way that could be done.âÄù

ItâÄôs a family reunion of pop punk, bringing many of the heavyweights together in what feels like either a farewell tour or a reaffirmation of the success they have gained.

âÄúAll three of us [bands on tour] have common fans, but we also have fans not in common, so I think this is a good thing for everyone.âÄù Pierre said. âÄúWe have a more hands-on approach to the human element.âÄù

Motion City Soundtrack will always be one of the quintessential pop-punk bands of the 2000s, simply because of the fans. They were the pop-punk darlings of a generation of high schoolers. Many of us did stupid things with our hair back then but grew out of it. The irony is Justin Pierre hasnâÄôt.