‘Cute Without the ‘E’’ is a massively appropriate opener for tonight’s Camden Roundhouse show. This particular song represents a time in Taking Back Sunday’s career when they were largely unknown. A time before this song would hurl them into the bedrooms of millions of teenagers worldwide becoming the soundtrack to their collective heartbreak.
The significance of this period is more relevant now than ever, as it’s the first time in eight years that the band has performed with its original line up. John Nolan, arguably responsible for the angsty sound of Taking Back Sunday has resumed his place as songwriter/guitarist.
Taking Back Sunday have gone through many progressions in the years since Nolan’s departure, yet three albums later it’s like he’s never been away. The band are visibly excited by tonight’s London show and as they bounce through a set of songs representative of their entire career, they do not brush over their messy history.
‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One)’, ‘Bike Scene’, and ‘180 By Summer’ are contextually worlds apart yet they’re played tonight with such vigour that even someone ignorant of the band’s history would assume they were all personal to each and every band member.
It’s this embracing of past hardships that makes tonight’s show so special. Singer Adam Lazzara even jokes, “Just don’t leave again…” before being handed an acoustic guitar to accompany Nolan in a rendition of Straylight Run’s ‘Existentialism on Prom Night’. And in the same way, Nolan’s contribution to songs written without him (particularly ‘A Decade Under the Influence‘ and ‘MakeDamnSure‘) shows nothing but passion.
It’s fair to say that without the coming and going of members such as Fred Mascherino, Taking Back Sunday wouldn’t be the band they are today. But what’s obvious to everyone tonight is that they are now truly back to their best. Despite a set heavily focused on debut, Tell All Your Friends, new songs promise to show a more mature and progressive Taking Back Sunday.