All-American Rejects welcomed in Toronto 0
Chris Gaylor, Nick Wheeler, Tyson Ritter and Mike Kennerty The All American Rejects hold a record release party for their new album 'Kids In The Street' Los Angeles, California, March 26, 2012. (FayesVision/WENN.COM)
Power pop outfit All-American Rejects were welcomed with open arms Tuesday night, even if there may have been fewer arms there than expected.
The Oklahoma quartet (now a sextet with two touring musicians) played before a decent but far from sold-out crowd at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre. However it didn't stop the group led by the lanky Tyson Ritter from churning out a bevy of tight, sweet radio-friendly numbers over roughly 90 minutes.
Opening with Dirty Little Secret from 2005's Move Album album, the band rarely slowed down for small talk. When they did however, Ritter was rather amusing in a role resembling a crass Southern preacher. The singer said he “sucked a lot of congressional ding dongs” to get over the border before kicking into the punk-ish flavored My Paper Heart, bringing to mind Green Day or My Chemical Romance.
Touring behind the recently released Kids In The Street, All-American Rejects had the youthful, under-19 throng in front bouncing eagerly to I Wanna while Fast & Slow with its '80s synth pop traces didn't fare as well. Meanwhile the simpler Fallin' Apart had some Beatles traces before veering into a rowdy foot-stomper.
With a few cameramen around and a main camera set up on a riser at the back of the venue, Ritter said they were filming as they were “being inducted into the honorary Canadian band club” along with Fleetwood Mac. Thankfully unlike the openers who failed miserably attempting Tom Petty's Free Fallin', All-American Rejects opted not to try their hand at The Chain or Second Hand News.
Fortunately, there were some new nuggets which were solid, particularly the slow-building but steadily rousing Gonzo despite starting with dueling basses. And yes, it is worse than dueling banjos. Early on the somewhat lighter Beekeeper's Daughter had the crowd singing along as Ritter stood atop a stage monitor.
Another surprise highlight musically was the beefy, glam rock fueling Walk Over Me although it didn't seem to connect to the crowd. Even Ritter's repeating “Hey Toronto how you feeling?” during the song didn't get the loud reaction. However Swing, Swing and the main-set closer Move Along had everyone providing hearty harmonies to Ritter with fists pumping.
The encore began with Ritter strumming an acoustic guitar for Bleed Into Your Mind before core band members in drummer Chris Gaylor, guitarist Mike Kennedy and guitarist Nick Wheeler returned for the quirky, island-sounding ditty. After the title track, All-American Rejects wrapped up the evening with Gives You Hell as Ritter eased into the song with a give-and-take with the crowd.
Although the show wasn't exactly one for the ages, and no photographer was accidentally hit by the group unlike a recent U.S. gig, overall Toronto fans grew to enjoy these rejects.