Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Dino Trail Hits Boston

The clock on the Park Street Church had just struck 9 p.m. as I stood patiently waiting alongside the crowd. The bitter cold was ripping through everyone with no regard for fingertips or faces - the only bits of skin exposed by most of the 50 or so scenesters gathered. We all stood in a virtual silence just waiting... watching...  and waiting.

At about quarter past 9 our reason for being showed up in the form of one overly eccentric man carrying a guitar. It was Justin Pierre, lead singer of the pop-punk act Motion City Soundtrack. Screams erupted from the crowd as they rushed to form a tight circle around the medium built performer. His only reaction - "Holy shit! This is too many people."

Pierre is out promoting MCS' upcoming record, My Dinosaur Life, in a way that is entirely new. The "Dino Trail" as its called is just the singer, an acoustic guitar and a list of cities across the country. There are no venues on this tour, just impromptu performances at locations disclosed on Pierre's Twitter account. And thankfully last weekend, we in Boston were lucky enough to witness this bit of music history.

"Attractive Today", the first track from MCS' 2005 release, Commit This To Memory, opened the performance. The crowd seemed awkwardly nervous. Most lipped the words, leaving the singing to the professional at first. But as the half-hour set wore on, the crowd grew louder essentially turning the performance into a 50-person singalong. 

Pierre later took time to plug his new record by playing a stripped down version of his band's infectious new single "Disappear" - a three minute track reminiscent of MCS' earliest work. 

But all was not over for Boston. As promised, we had yet another surprise coming. For what Pierre said would be the last two songs, ex-Matches lead singer Shawn Harris showed up, dressed as the Mad Hatter nonetheless, to help out. With Harris on harmonica, they led the crowd in comically flawed renditions of "Everything Is Alright" and "The Future Freaks Me Out". 

As the set came to its close the crowd called for "Cambridge" to fill the cold November air before Pierre departed. The singer obliged and payed homage to that little slice of Boston that sits just over the river. A fitting way to end any show in this town.

Soon after, the happy crowd dissipated knowing that they had just witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event. While it was a bitter cold wait, the end result was well worth the near frostbite. I know I'll never look at the Park Street T stop the same way again.

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