Taking Back Sunday gets aid from a friend on fall tour


Say what you want about the post-punk scene over the course of the last decade and how the music has changed, the fans have become self-entitled and the scene itself has fallen victim to a plague of self-indulgent and falsely conceited “rock stars.” It often seems easier to point out the flaws while ignoring the successes and forgetting the point of why we love this music in the first place. At its core, a large part of the music experience is about community – and that’s something that this scene has always triumphed in.

A perfect example of this is the recent addition of former Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain to Taking Back Sunday’s lineup in light of the early an unexpected birth of Adam Lazzara’s son. Faced with a family emergency and the real possibility of cancelling the majority of their fall tour, Lazzara instead reached out to Chamberlain, a contemporary and close friend, to fill his role.

This act itself, accompanied with the welcoming response from the band’s fans, speaks volumes about the community and friendship that this scene thrives on. Case in point, the tour’s recent stop in Louisville, Ky., was a raucous and lively affair and featured a crowd well equipped to back up the band and Chamberlain at every turn.

The tour’s openers include Boston rockers Transit and post-hardcore up-and-comers Polar Bear Club. If you have yet to experience a Polar Bear Club set in person, you’re truly missing out on one of the most enjoyable live performances around. Vocalist Jimmy Stadt has the unique and valuable ability to transform a group of bystanders into a lively rock-show crowd with his on-stage antics and passionate delivery.

This warm-up was appropriate in setting the stage for Taking Back Sunday, a band who has a long history of putting on memorable performances. There doesn’t seem to be many one-time-only attendees to a Taking Back Sunday show. Fans of this band come back again and again to relive these songs. There’s something both nostalgic and relevant about this band’s music that allows it to live on as meaningful today as it did when they first released Tell All Your Friends over a decade ago.

Any hesitancy about Chamberlain’s ability to convey these songs vanishes upon the opening notes to “You Know How I Do”. In fact, throughout the night, the crowd seems even louder than you might expect – both in excitement of the uniqueness of the event and, when necessary, in an effort to aid Chamberlain. It’s no small feat to perfect vocals to 13 songs on such short notice, even though you can tell he’s sung along to many of them on long car rides, just like the rest of us.

Hearing Chamberlain belt out fan favorites like “Set Phasers to Stun”, “MakeDamnSure” and “Cute without the ‘E’” with a roaring crowd behind him is just as special as seeing John Nolan sing lead on an old Straylight Run song (“Existentialism on Prom Night”) and a recent TBS track (“Best Places to Be a Mom”). Throughout the performance, it’s clear that the band is grateful to a willing Chamberlain, that he is honored to be a part of the event and that the crowd is accepting and supportive of the situation. In short, the spirit of the night is just good.

It’s in moments like these that we remember why this music is so important to us to begin with. Not only does it speak to us privately and personally, but it connects us with those around us and perpetuates a shared experience that keeps us coming back. The bond created by music is one that is both unique and timeless. It’s because of this that we’re able to enjoy the experience, no matter who is behind the mic.



Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear Club

Spencer Chamberlain

Spencer Chamberlain

John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday)

John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday)

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his imaginary pet, Hand Dog.  You can follow him on Twitter.


  1. So does it stop them being “self-indulgent and falsely conceited “rock stars.” because like everyone else they have human relations and friends as well. Nope they have friends too they are just douches to everyone else.

    I’d be more concerned about the petty band vs band fighting, the hipsters self importance and moral high stance they try and take (every single one claiming to be straight edge once and looking down on everyone else only to crack a few months or year later).

    Goths died, emo’s cried, but this new wave seems to lavish in thinking they are better than everyone else because they dont drink alcohol.

  2. What in the fuck is that comment even supposed to mean. Its literally one of the most incoherent things I have ever read.

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