I spent my Saturday night in a mosh pit. I didn’t plan on doing that, but there I was, getting pushed around by sweaty strangers, ducking my head as yet another body was hoisted in the air, held up by clammy palms, only to be dragged back down to earth by a combination of gravity and unenthused security that stood in between the raucous crowd and the stage.
I planned on spending my Saturday night seeing Modern Baseball. Praised for being a part of the “emo revival” scene, the four-piece group is just released a slew of EPs in the past month, most notably The Perfect Cast. I’ve been a casual listener since I heard a few songs from 2014’s You’re Gonna Miss It All when it first came out, but I hadn’t started seriously listening to the music until this summer. I was pretty excited to see this show, but I had no idea that it would literally physically move me.
The Philadelphia based band is known for their candid lyrics about mental illness. Lead singer Brendan Lukens openly discusses his mental health, even canceling a short tour earlier this year because he wasn’t in the right mental state to perform. The band’s music tells a story in each song, with rich lyrics providing a setting that most people can connect to in one way or another.
This was especially evident at the concert. During songs like “Tears over Beers” and “Fine, Great” the audience collectively lost it. The crowd thrust forward, testing the limits of the metal barrier separating us from the stage full of guys that were so effectively conveying our shared anxieties about relationships, feelings that we are somehow not good enough, or that people just suck.
At the same time, Modern Baseball isn’t whiney. The band was genuinely having fun on stage, their energy fueled the crowd and vice-versa. And, despite the apparent frequent lyrical nods to bands like Dashboard Confessional, Modern Baseball has a sense of hopefulness that adds another dimension to their music. The crowd was not sad, they were not angry. To the audience, the energy of the show was a sort of release, a “safe space” for people that are a little bit different, are worried, don’t know how to text the person they like first. Still, there was a sense of hopefulness that the future will be better.
Sure, my back is pretty sore right now after spending a good hour and a half being shoved around last night, but at the same time, it’s a pretty good trade-off for being able to sing-scream the lyrics to “The Thrash Particle” like a 13-year-old at a One Direction concert three years ago.