Relient K at The Nile

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Relient K at The Nile Theater 11/16

by Blake Benard

 

Ten years ago, the punk/pop group Relient K released Mmhmm, and it turned into one of the best-selling albums of the band’s career. The record put the band into the broader national spotlight, and they morphed into one of the most popular punk/pop bands of the early 2000’s. Ten years later, the band embarked upon an anniversary tour celebrating the album that so many of its fans love and cherish.

The World Famous Nile Theater in Mesa, Arizona proved to be the perfect venue, and Sunday night’s show didn’t disappoint. From several crowd surfing moments to stories of their calisthenics in the park that morning, Relient K gave a performance that left everybody hoarse by the night’s end.

Relienk K kept it simple. They started with the first song on the album and just went down the list. Opening with head-nodding “The One I’m Waiting For,” the band immediately brought forth their exciting stage presence. During the course of this song, my friend Ryan and I were pushed forward roughly 30 feet by the crown moshing and ended up a mere body distance from lead singer, Matt Thiessen, and his long, wacky purple hair.

Thiessen, lead guitarist Matthew Hoopes, and drummer David Douglas fluidly moved into other fan favorites such as “Be My Escape” and “High of ’75.” They continued down the album effortlessly, highlighted by “I So Hate Consequences” and some of their more meaningful songs on the record, “More Than Useless” and “Let It All Out.”

Then they played “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” and The Nile Theater just went insane. It’s one of the band’s most recognizable songs, and the entire audience was jumping and yelling at the top of their lungs. Thiessen didn’t need to sing half the song because the crowd was doing it for him. The incredible atmosphere continued with “This Week The Trend” and “Life After Death and Taxes (Failure II).”

Last on the album was the emotional “When I Go Down,” a song talking about the lead singer’s internal struggle with sin and his reconciliation with God. The low-key song ended, and the band thanked the audience and left the stage, but you knew they weren’t done. Accompanied by chants of “one more song” from the crowd, they ran back on stage saying they could play one more and started the chorus of “Sadie Hawkins Dance” a cappella. During the song, third guitarist Jonathan Schneck ran out in a multicolored unitard with a yellow cape and proceeded to jump out into the crowd. They did much more than one track, going on to play some of their “oldies but goodies:” “Mood Rings,” “Come Right Out And Say It,” and “Devastation and Reform.”

This is where the concert should have ended. But they went on with their newer, less-known tracks “Look On Up,” “Don’t Blink,” and “Sahara.” Not as many people knew them and the intense, energetic, and exciting concert atmosphere that they had been building all night fizzled at the end. They closed the show with one of their last greatest hits, “Forget And Not Slow Down.” It pulled the crowd back into the concert, and the show ended with a bang.

Relient K was the band of my childhood. My parents hated them, so obviously I listened to them more. Road trips in the car meant Relient K on repeat. Their lyrics are meaningful and always related to different parts of my life. I know that they truly have affected many people’s lives, and simply because of that, they will always hold a special place in my musical heart. Fifty years from now, I’m still going to remember every song word for word. Listening to them live brought me back to one of the greatest periods of my young life. Thanks for the memories, Relient K.

 

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