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Arts and Entertainment

The Format, Limbeck @ The Avalon, 08/01/07

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I called my friend today to tell him that I attended The Format's show last night at the Avalon and he promptly responded with, "Wow, so you went to a real pop-punk show last night?"

Yes, I did and I survived.

Although I wouldn't place The Format and Limbeck in the pop-punk genre, their fan base and roots are set firmly in those pre-pubescent yesteryears. Both of these bands have been sitting on a pile of stale material and thus they have been forced to revitalize older songs for perpetual touring, which explains why I haven't seen either of them in years.

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I was not overcome with acute nostalgia for my days spent listening to them. However, I experienced an enormous sense of pride. I've watched both acts develop their youthful pop sound into a much more mature monster. They're both set to devour the teen demographic everywhere.

Limbeck, a group of Tustin natives, opened the show with a Springsteen-infused set of pop-rock tunes. I've been a fan ever since they played emo in little houses all over the OC. The musical growth thereafter genuinely astounds me. They ran through songs from two of their most recent efforts "Hi, Everything's Great" and "Let Me Come Home". Limbeck performed with ease and grace. It's clear they've been together and touring for almost 8 years now.

The completely redone "In Ohio On Some Steps" stood out in my mind. The toned-down acoustic song was transformed into a thumping excursion through various folk and country elements. Other highlights included: "Albatross + Ivy"', "Silver Things", "Julia", "Sin City" and "Everyone's In The Parking Lot".

With the tremendous backing of a 10 piece "mini" big-band, horns and orchestra included, The Format rocked through an extensive production comprised of songs from their entire catalogue.

The overwhelmingly youthful demographic made me feel a bit out of my element. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable, but there's something to be said about a 22 year old feeling out of place at any concert. Perhaps it was the hundreds and hundreds of screaming, diminutive girls making it impossible to get close to the stage or maybe it was the melodramatic performance, which transpired as though it was a musical.

They opened their seamless set with the orchestral 'Dog Problems', inflated by harmonies, horns, and violins. Dropping the orchestration momentarily, The Format proceeded to their appropriately titled hit single 'The First Single'. Lead singer Nate Ruess was simply drowned out by the immense crowd sing-along. The massive synchronization prompted Ruess to sporadically skip out on singing a few verses. The ardor with which the crowd responded was terrifying. I haven't experienced anything like it since the whole Yellowcard frenzy. The Format is destined for larger things and playing to a sold out crowd at the Avalon is just the tip of the iceberg. Other highlights included redone versions of 'I'm Ready, I Am' and 'Give It Up' from their 2003 release Interventions & Lullabies.

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