The New Amsterdams-Live at the Echo Lounge

Music Reviews The New Amsterdams

Matt Pryor’s Get Up Kids spin-off, The New Amsterdams, is certainly more laid back and contemplative than the band that spawned it. Perhaps this explains the pleasantly subdued nature of the crowd last night at Atlanta’s Echo Lounge. Mirroring the audience’s mood, Pryor closed the show with a mini solo acoustic set during which he played the tune “Idaho,” belting out heart-on-sleeve lyrics like, “Cry me a river / you’re misunderstood if you’re misunderstood.”

Pryor also debuted the ballad, “Too Many of a Good Thing” during this portion of the show. The Get Up Kids die-hards were digging it, though thoughtfully taking it in instead of rocking out. This is, after all, a completely different band.

But before the understated ending, The New Amsterdams showcased their ability to recreate the ultra-tight harmonies and Mid-Western pop-rock precision of their new release, Worse for the Wear. In doing so, the band members became multi-instrumentalists under the blue and red lights of a stage strewn with vintage gear. They rotated between Gretsches and Gibsons, acoustics and electrics, bass, keyboard, Fender Rhodes—you name it—the band not only changed instrumentation between songs, but often during songs, adding texture to the performance.

Towards the end of the electrified segment of the show, Pryor let the bass and drums break things down for a minute, rummaged around the back of the stage and came up with what looked like a coffee can with a cord hanging from it. He returned to center stage and, as the whole band faded back in, he shook the can in a circular motion, which proceeded to emit a spacey swoosh that led to the song’s climactic ending. After the show, Pryor informed Paste he’d bought the can at a “hippie shop next door” (East Atlanta’s Earth Shaking Music). A spring inside the can was responsible for the bizarre noise it produced.

The New Amsterdams—whose current month-long tour supporting the new album wraps up in September—will head on to Nashville next, then Kentucky and St. Louis. Though the band’s approach has more of a heartland feel than the Get Up Kids, the pop-punk tendencies filter through in subtle ways—mainly in the emo-inspired vocals and lyrics. Besides, like any good punks, The New Amsterdams weren’t the least bit hesitant to bum smokes from their fans between songs.

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