Let's just call it emo

Scary Kids Scaring Kids + Dear Hunter, Axis, August 30, 2007
By MATT ASHARE  |  September 4, 2007
Scary Kids Scaring Kids

The scariest thing about Scary Kids Scaring Kids is keyboardist Pouyan Afkary —specifically the spastic dance moves he engages in when he’s not playing his Yamaha. Careering about the stage, arms flailing, feet kicking, he nearly took out a roadie last Thursday at Axis, where the band shared a bill with the Dear Hunter. Simply grabbing a bottled water from the drum riser occasioned a karate chop followed by some slapdash shadowboxing. All of which kept the energy level high as stationary singer Tyson Stevens stood, right leg up on a vocal monitor, slowly wearing a hole in the knee of his black jeans.

In another day and age, Scary Kids would have been a metal band (they’re signed to Immortal, the label that launched Korn): guitarists DJ Wilson and Chad Crawford have the chops for it, and so does drummer Justin Salter, who pulled double-kick fills with just one bass drum. Instead, the metal is tempered by a sensitive Stevens singing, as he intimated in “My Darkest Hour,” with heart in hand — a manchild “tired and broken,” imploring, “My only hope is to take back what you’ve stolen.” The riffs are there, but only to support earnest soul searching punctuated by the occasional bloodcurdling scream at the end of a particularly painful song. Most of the Kids set was given over to “new” songs, from a homonymous album that had come out just two days earlier. But there were no apologies: Afkary reassured the crowd that they could stream the album for free on MySpace. And most, it seemed, already had.

A keyboard player and a penchant for heroic introspection at anthemic levels — let’s just call it “emo” — is all that linked Scary Kids to the Dear Hunter, a band led by former Receiving End of Sirens member Casey Crescenzo. The Dear Hunter are more indie than metal (shorter hair, scruffier beards) and more prog than either, with Crescenzo’s complex arrangements driving the guilt-ridden “Red Hands” from a piano-laced whisper to a guitar-driven scream. “Even if you never strayed from me/I’d question your fidelity,” he raged. For a moment, young couples stared at each other with new understanding. Then they resumed their fist pumping.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , The Receiving End of Sirens, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Casey Crescenzo
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