Story of the Year

Friday, January 9; Pageant

These local emo-rockers, recently signed to Maverick, don't look like teenagers, but their music is as adolescent as stiff sheets and braces. This doesn't mean that Story of the Year is juvenile or unskilled -- the band's stuttering, shiny sound is as polished as fine silver. It's the mindset, so gloriously melodramatic and self-focused, that recalls those oily days of solipsistic youth. Everything lasts forever when you're a teenager, until that shattering moment when you realize that nothing lasts at all. When you're going to live forever, it's easy to make promises that last "Until the Day I Die," the name of Story of the Year's top single.

Couldn't you use a trip back to those dazed and confused days? Squeeze into that one outfit from high school still hiding in the back of your closet, be it an oversize-flannel-and-Doc-Martens combo or a skinny-tie ensemble, and head down to the Pageant to see what the kids are up to. Sure, you won't fit in with the hyper-thin kids flopping around like salmon in heat, but you're there to observe. Watch the fumbling hand-holding, the fluttering, manic conversations, the self-conscious and clumsy smoking. Then wait for the music to start.

Yeah, it's too loud, you old fogy. Go buy some earplugs at the bar. Then watch: The teens know all the words, the teens scream all the words, the kids care in that totally committed way that you've lost. Then go home, put on your own teenage anthems from those days of yore, and remember how depressed and lonely you were back then, and think about how it's a damn shame that you'll never feel that exquisite pain again.

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