When I was in my late teens few things made as much sense as a Taking Back Sunday song. The lyrics paralleled my life so accurately that it felt like singer Adam Lazzara had telekinetic powers. As I got older I realized I was just a cliche. But that’s the most important part of the emo cliche: the belief that no one could possibly understand what you’re feeling because you’re so unique and deep.

Then you hear a record that articulates your feelings better than you ever could. As a result Adam Lazzara became a cult figure to me. He had a reverse mullet, I had a reverse mullet. He had lyrics from his favorite band tattooed around his elbow, I had lyrics from my favorite band tattooed around my elbow. I would scour the internet for anything Taking Back Sunday and stay up late at night re-watching their legendary set at the Tulagi in Boulder wishing I could be front row screaming back into Lazzara’s face.

I kept up with their rivalry with Brand New and their partial break-up that spawned Straylight Run like it was Brangelina. When I finally saw Taking Back Sunday at Warped Tour ‘04 I felt an adrenaline rush that made my head spin. Towards the end of “Bike Scene” a girl passed out in the pit. The band stopped and everyone helped carry the girl out. Lazzara turned to the crowd and said, “What happens when someone falls down?” And in unison the crowd yelled, “Pick ‘em up!” Without missing a beat they went right back into the last part of the song with, “You got me right! Where you want me!” It was awesome. I grew to cherish that moment with each passing album and show of diminishing returns. By the time I was out of college I had a normal haircut and would only listen to TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS when I was alone.

As I walked into the Summit Music Hall on Wednesday night one thing was clear; even though I had moved on, Taking Back Sunday had gotten bigger. The stage was adorned with three giant LED screens that seemed more appropriate for a Kanye West show and an almost comically tall drum riser. The band took the stage and opened with the ballady “Flicker, Fade”. An odd, but not totally annoying choice.

It was their second song, “What’s it Feels Like to Be a Ghost?” and its opening riff that ignited the audience. During the song the screens played a black and white loop of a cartoon ghost dancing in sync with the song and it was obvious where Lazzara had been picking up his dance moves. The screens really began to enhance the show until they played “Stood a Chance”. The screens flashed rainbow colors like a low rent Katy Perry show. The song itself isn’t terrible, but it was a clear reminder that it’s an Imagine Dragons world they’re just living in it. Any moment of realization that my favorite band had become an emo Kings of Leon was quickly brushed aside when they played “Timberwolves at New Jersey.” I was transported right back to 2004, but this time it was the original TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS line-up, something I thought I would never see. Later in the show, Lazzara gave a special shout-out to original guitarist John Nolan and it seemed that Nolan finally forgave Lazzara for nailing and bailing his sister.

Taking Back Sunday devoted about half of their set playing songs of their last two albums. It was the first time I heard a number of them and was interesting to see them switch gears. The music, while maintaining an emo base, has drifted closer to radio rock. Lazzara’s signature mic spinning was still there, but more controlled and less elaborate than in the past. Instead of diving into the crowd with the mic around his neck he preferred to groove around like a laid back Mick Jagger.

For the encore, they started with one of their worst songs, “Call Me in the Morning”. It shamelessly panders to the radio ballad form without any of heart or self-awareness that made TAKING BACK SUNDAY so great. This song is worse than teenage poetry. Most of the crowd under 25 years-old really seemed to love it, which made me depressed and feel old. Thankfully, they hooked me back in with “Cute Without the E”. The generational divide in the crowd was summed up during the song when a teenager with black swoopy hair tried to climb up the back of a 30-something bald guy with glasses to crowd surf. The guy shrugged him off and pushed him back hard. The kid looked like he’d never been yelled at in his life. I hope he never forgets that moment, especially when he becomes the bald guy.

“MakeDamnSure” was the last song of the evening, and one of the last songs they released to which I felt any connection. It was a nice way to appease both the swoopy haired kids and the 30-somethings. That deft ability is probably why Taking Back Sunday has been able to continue selling out tours and release new records. Unlike a lot of nostalgia acts, Taking Back Sunday didn’t exclusively play their landmark album. They didn’t need to. They have spent the past ten years making new records for each new batch of angsty teens. Those newer records aren’t TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS, but they might be for the kid who doesn’t know any better. They’ve adapted and remained relevant. Much like Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday has neither burned out nor faded away.


These Things Matter Podcast - Stevie Wonder
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Stevie Wonder
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Stevie Wonder

Our guest Josh Kantor has lead a crazy life. Not only does he moonlight in two indie rock supergroups: Split Squad and Baseball Project, with members of Fleshtones, Plimsouls, Blondie, Dream Syndicate, R.E.M., Fauntleroys, and Young Fresh Fellows, he is also the organist for the Boston Red Sox! Good lord!

Josh is also absolutely, unabashedly fanatical about Stevie Wonder. As a kid in the 70s, he loved the sounds of Stevie’s various harmonicas, organs and synthesizers, and as a dude in college he became a full-blown obsessive. Listen in as we discuss the great man and his incredible music.

  • These Things Matter Podcast - Amy Miller
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has many spectacular quotes (“It cost a lot of money to look this cheap.”) and an incredible number of spectacular songs (“I Will Always Love You”, “Coat of many Colors”, “Jolene’, just for starters…), but more than that she has a magical spark that our guest comedian Amy Miller cannot get enough of. Let’s hitch a ride to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and hang out with some distant cousins, touring the grounds of Dollywood and singing a few honky tonk songs.

If you’d like to hear and see more of Amy, (and who wouldn’t?) hop on over to amymillercomedy.com! Also, be sure to listen to her podcast, SORRY ABOUT YOUR DAD.

These Things Matter Podcast - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Justin Couch
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Elvis Costello

Justin Couch describes his band QUANTUM CREEP as the album THIS YEAR’S MODEL as a band. He proved it by covering both TYM and MY AIM IS TRUE in the first 6 months of the band’s existence! Quite a feat considering the musical virtuosity of Elvis Costello and The Attractions, the subject of today’s show!

Join us as we discuss Elvis, his music, his glasses, his knocked knees, and his intellectual punk attitude. He’s a sound salvation, guys. Get into it.

These Things Matter Podcast - Mark Mothersbaugh
  • These Things Matter - Paper Bird
  • These Things Matter Podcast - DEVO

It was such a treat talking to musician Genevieve Patterson about Devo. As a member of Paper Bird and Harpoontang, Genny is an integral part of the Denver music scene. She chats with us about lots of big, artistic ideas inspired by her visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s MYOPIA exhibition of Mark Mothersbaugh’s art. She goes so far as to say that Miley Cyrus is the manifestation of Devo’s artistic ambitions. Yeah, you gotta hear this.

Be sure to catch Genny with Paper Bird all over the place! A great place to start to get to know the band is with friend of the show Kiernan Maletsky’s recent Westword cover article!

These Things Matter Podcast - Phillumeny
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Troy Baxley
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Matchbooks

Lots of people know Troy Baxley as THE OG Denver stand-up comedian. If you ask about Denver comedians to Gen-X stand-ups, they will immediately think of Troy.

What people may not know about Troy is that he is an avid phillumenist. No, he’s not a mega-fan of the 2013 Steve Coogan and Judi Dench film, PHILOMENA. Phillumeny is the art of matchbook and matchbox collecting, and Troy has been doing it since he was 10 years-old.

Join us as we talk to this comedy legend about his collection, his art, and how to avoid hanging out with octogenarians at Denny’s restaurants.

These Things Matter Podcast - Les Mis
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Jessica Austgen
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Les Miserables

What a treat it was to have actress and improvisor Jessica Austgen on our fair podcast. We built a barricade, raised some red flags, and sat down to talk about Les Misérables: the book, the musical, the phenomenon. Jessica has been a fan of the Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil musical since she was 10 years-old. Listen in as we chat about why the ultimate musical is so great, and about class warfare, grace, forgiveness… you know, all the light-hearted stuff.

Be sure to catch Jessica performing with her amazing group, Jane’s Addiction, the all lady Jane Austen improv comedy troupe!

These Things Matter Podcast - El Topo
  • These things matter podcast - Chris McGarry
  • These Things Matter Podcast - El Topo

Musician Chris McGarry cannot explain what it is about surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky that he loves so much. That doesn’t stop us from trying for an hour and a bit. We talk THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, DUNE, THE DANCE OF REALITY, but most especially the one that started it all, EL TOPO. The first midnight movie, an original cult classic, El Topo set the tone for a whole generation of filmmakers to come. If you wanted to be weird, you had to be weirder than this.

Keep up with everything Chris is doing via his Facebook page for his honkey tonk band, Chris McGarry and the Insomniacs!

These Things Matter Podcast - Tron
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Tyler Jacobson
  • These Things Matter Podcast - Tron

As one of the founders of both Lipgloss (Denver’s premiere indie rock dance night) and the Mile High Soul Club, Tyler Jacobson has been making Denverites shake their booties for years. Long before those endeavors, young Tyler’s bootie was sitting in a movie theater seat enthralled at the sight of Tron starring Jeff Bridges. Join us as we discuss the cult classic, plot holes and all, and why sometimes two Jeff Bridges are not better than one. And come check out MHSC the first Saturday of every month now at Syntax Physic Opera on South Broadway in Denver!