Taking Back Sunday puts on a theatrical show in Indianapolis

Author Ashlyn Siples - 22.6.2024

Early 2000s American rock band Taking Back Sunday brought their tour to the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday, June 19th. Midwest rock band Citizen came along with them to help bring out an exciting night of music and energy for all of the fans.

Citizen’s set was nothing short of energetic, with vocalist Mat Kerekes exciting the crowd right off the bat as he bounced around the stage. The crowd mirrored the energy on stage, with fans clapping along and a pushpit forming immediately at Kerekes’ request. The crowd surfing began soon after, with some surfers going twice and a child being lifted in the air and handed to security by his parents for a brief moment of fun.

The band’s music was a special kind of interesting, something between rock that you are used to hearing on the radio and a groovy callback to the 70s. One song on the setlist featured a strong, rather impressive bass feature that set the retro-esque mood even more. The stage set itself just added to the move, with LED panels behind the band switching from pulsating lights to twinkling bars.

Citizen also took a moment towards the end of their set to have the crowd make some noise for Taking Back Sunday. Kerekes reflected on the fact that their band had always been fans of Taking Back Sunday for seemingly all their lives and that they were all extremely stoked to have the chance to take this tour with them.

Before Taking Back Sunday even took the stage, we heard from vocalist Adam Lazzara via a pre-recorded message announcing to the room that if they followed a certain link, they could be entered into a giveaway. Prizes for the giveaway included a video message from the band, a gift card, or even a copy of a test pressing of their latest album “152.” Following this message, there was a soundtrack of an older movie-esque ending that played just as the band walked onto the stage.

The stage setup followed along with the theatrical theme that this introduction track built up, with risers on the back of the stage leading up to a large glowing sign of the “152” symbol. Alongside the risers were large cool-toned LEDs backlighting the stage and screens that projected abstract pictorial imagery that helped set the tone of the music even more. Lazzara himself played into the theatrics by jazzily dancing along the risers as he sang, with bassist Shaun Cooper joining him atop them at other points.

Before getting too far into the set, Lazzara stopped to talk about the last time the band had played in the Egyptian Room – via a live stream the day after Riot Fest over in Chicago. Lazzara noted that they had gone a bit too hard the day before and the livestream did not go well at all. The band had been anticipating playing this venue again, and this time they were going to burn it to the ground with how good they were.

There was also a myriad of other banter on stage that night, which I enjoyed as it made the band feel more like a group of people you could enjoy for who they were and the art they made rather than just a group of people here to play music at you for several hours. Some of this banter included Lazzara thanking a specific family he had noticed when peeking out to check on the crowd earlier in the night, as well as guitarist John Nolan talking about how all of the band had matching moccasin boots that were quite difficult to tie while on stage.

One of the most special moments on stage that night was getting to witness the way that “Amphetamine Smiles” transitioned from acoustic to a full band accompanying moment in person rather than just hearing it as a recording. For those who may not have heard the song before, the piece with just Lazzara on an acoustic guitar and some quiet back accompaniment from the drums. At a nearly halfway point in the song, the band begins slowly phasing in the other instrumentals halfway through the song and ends as a loud and cohesive moment from them all. I particularly loved this moment as I thought it was a great way to show the separate strengths of the vocalist versus the instrumentalists, while also reminding everyone that they work great as a cohesive unit.

Check out Taking Back Sunday’s album “152” here: