"Bury me in St. Louis. Actually no, i want to be shot in space in a fucking rocket, but this place holds a very special place in my heart. My family lives here. I lived here for six months."
Veteran emo-rocker James Dewees has nothing to prove. A member of seminal groups the Get Up Kids and Coalesce, Dewees started his own one-man band, Reggie and the Full Effect, in 1998. On record he plays the part of both "Reggie" and "The Full Effect," performing all the instruments and vocals with guest spots from a host of people including "Fluxuation," a new-wave dance artist, and "Common Denominator," a Finnish metal band fronted by Dewees as "Klaus." Reggie concerts usually give a little time to all three, including props, costume changes and plenty of fake blood. The spectacle has even toured and recorded with My Chemical Romance and New Found Glory.
The last time Reggie and the Full Effect played in town was a March 2006 show at Pop's, in support of Songs Not To Get Married To, a darker album chronicling his divorce. He later released Last Stop: Crappy Town, an album about the trials and tribulations of riding the New York subway to rehab, but due to a lack of faith from Vagrant Records the album was shelved for over a year. The most recent tour was impossibly short, even omitting Dewees' hometown of Kansas City. It was good to have the group back, to be sure.
Openers Pentimento and Dads would have felt right at home opening for Reggie at any point in his career. Pentimento mixed the emo sounds of bands such as Hey Mercedes and Taking Back Sunday while the impossibly small two-piece rock outfit Dads swelled and shrank its Minus the Bear meets Japandroids inspired sound through every song. Fubar was the perfect venue for this show; I even overheard it compared to the old Creepy Crawl (Hallowed Be Thy Name).
As Dewees and the band took the stage in comedically over-sized cowboy hats, he mused on the cough drop he was sucking and smacking into the mic. "This is a Riccola cough drop. Have you ever had one of these? The Scandinavian vapors going into your nose are better than cocaine. Okay, I'm gonna chew this up now so we can start the show." His self aware, self deprecating persona is just as prevalent in the songs as it is in his banter, and equally funny. For a guy who used to have elaborate costumes (bunnysuits, fireman outfits) and gags (reenacting R. Kelly's Trapped in The Closet in full mime gear, riding a Power Wheels jeep onto the stage of the Pageant) it is interesting to note that he doesn't seem to need any of that now. Based on the way Dewees handled himself and the material he performed, it feels like he's never been more comfortable. Constant pot-shots about Vagrant, his former record label and his age made up a majority of his banter, but his honesty and levity on the subjects meant every joke and barb resounded as truth with the audience.
Continue to page two for more of our review.