These days, nostalgia has become a business, and if Monday's The Get Up Kids and Braid show at the Orpheum is any indication, business is booming.
Last weekend, Atlanta hosted Wrecking Ball, a festival celebrating the 25th anniversary of the venue The Masquerade with acts like Descendents and Conor Oberst's punk band Desaparecidos. Numerous acts who played the festival also stopped through Tampa Bay, including The Appleseed Cast at Crowbar, and Pianos Become the Teeth and The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die at Epic Problem.
But the biggest names from Wrecking Ball to visit here are the formidable '90s emo duo of The Get Up Kids and Braid. And with a packed crowd comprising both newfound fans and those clearly around for each group's first go-around, Monday offered a night of nostalgia with setlists heavy on each group's most beloved albums — 1999's Something to Write Home About and 1998's Frame and Canvas, respectively.
At this point, people who grew up listening to this era of music are forming their own bands, like opening act The Weaks. The Philadelphia group's album Bad Year features two songs with Nirvana-referencing titles and Weezer-indebted hooks on tracks like I Don't Want To Be An Anarchist (Anymore).
Following them was Braid, who may not have found the mainstream success of their contemporaries The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World, but certainly not for lack of talent. The several tracks from Frame and Canvas they played, such as the energetic Killing a Camera and the moody, slow-winding A Dozen Roses, served as a reminder that it's one of the best second-wave emo albums.
Braid also played a couple of songs off last year's solid reunion record No Coast, including East End Hollows and the title track, but largely looked to their past. The band even gave a shoutout to Keith and Susie Ulrey, formerly of Tampa band Pohgoh, and played What a Wonderful Puddle from their recently rereleased 1996 split with them.
Meanwhile, The Get Up Kids opened with Holiday and Action & Action, the first two tracks off Something to Write Home About. There's not a much more assured crowd-pleasing opener for that group than those two blasts of '90s emo pop-punk, which was indicative of their show overall.
Though they also released a new album four years ago, it didn't make a presence on their setlist. It also didn't make much room for 2002's more subdued departure album On A Wire, save for acoustic renditions of Campfire Kansas and Overdue, which singer Matt Pryor deprecatingly described as depressing in his introduction.
Instead, they went for earlier, more crowd-rousing material like Something to Write Home About and Four-Minute Mile as they celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, going all the way back to the first song they ever wrote in Woodson. Even their cover of The Replacements' Beer for Breakfast came from their 2001 compilation Eudora.
If nothing else, Monday's show showed why pretty much every '90s band short of Fugazi and Jawbreaker has reunited at this point. If time has healed whatever problems caused a group to break up, and they can play their music again to now-multiple generations of fans, why not do it?
-- Jimmy Geurts