Wednesday 18th April 2012 – Motion City Soundtrack at XOYO, London

At beginning of the album campaign for their fifth record Go, Motion City Soundtrack played each of their previous four albums across two nights at XOYO in London. The lead single True Romance had been released shortly before these dates and they played it live for the first time at this gig. It was an instant classic for me and still one of my favourite ‘singles’ of theirs.

I would have liked to have done both nights of this rare opportunity to see my favourite band play, near enough, their entire back catalogue. Unfortunately I had a stag do in North Wales to attend the following day, so I was reduced to only getting to see the first two albums. That is a minor complaint, it was still incredible to get to see both I Am The Movie and Commit This To Memory (I think I’ve written before that this is my favourite album of all time) in full.

The jury is still out on whether album shows actually work all that well. When Less Than Jake did their 6 albums in 6 nights residency back in 2007 it was still a relatively unheard of concept. Now it provides a good angle to market a tour when an artist has a record that is celebrating an anniversary that ends in a 5 or a 0.

The problem is that the album listening and gig attending are two vastly different things and a dynamic that works for the sequencing of tracks on a record doesn’t automatically translate to a live set list. That said, if the band choose to re-order the tracks, is it really an album show or just a show of songs from a select album? Ultimately, I prefer to see it done in tracklisting order, this feels like more of a unique experience, even if it does often seem to make for some restless moments in the crowd. For these shows MCS played it as per the record, with a break after completing the first then straight into the next (with True Romance‘s debut saved for a brief encore).

This was my first and only time at the XOYO venue. It’s not one that I see appear on tour routings all that often and like other obscure choices for London shows I do think it may be better geared for club nights rather that live music. The room and stage were very wide with two big pillars either side in the crowd that obscured the view whether you were watching diagonally or face on.

The ticket says ‘plus special guests’. I really don’t remember there being a support and can’t find any record of this online anywhere. Perhaps MCS were simply their own special guests? It doesn’t get much more special than getting to see the band you went to see, twice.

After the show Justin Pierre stood in the crowd to greet everyone and take photos, but for fear of losing his voice he didn’t say a single word. It was an odd thing to witness but also so Justin. When I did finally get the chance to speak to him a few years back at Slam Dunk 2019 he said he was sure he recognised me and I’ve been wondering where that might have been from since then. Maybe this unusual meeting in silence seven years earlier?

In 2015 the band played a UK tour of Commit This To Memory 10th anniversary album shows. It didn’t come that close to home and as I’d seen it at this gig I didn’t make the effort to travel up to London again. In hindsight I regret this, despite my uncertainty on album shows, this really is my favourite record of all-time and I definitely should have gone a second time.

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