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Gym Class Heroes, Rx Bandits, P.O.S., Last Act of Defiance

Rialto Theatre, March 31

During a recent MySpace exchange (under the guise of "new musical research") with someone who looked like a member of the local chapter of the Suicide Girls, we began trading YouTube links. This "friend" of mine was very excited about hip-hop artist Gym Class Heroes' song "Cupid's Chokehold."

The tune is built heavily around Supertramp's 1979 hit "Breakfast in America." "Did you know they took that from an old song?" she asked. I then thought to myself: 1) OK, don't sound condescending; 2) These KGUN-9 Online Predator entrapment profiles are very convincing (and aggressive!); 3) As bad as the Top Ten charts look, kids are still music-savvy. The Gym Class Heroes show at Rialto Theatre last Saturday reaffirmed this point.

Saturday's lineup brought two polar opposite blocks of teens: those who shop at American Apparel, and the studded Hot Topic crowd. Opener Last Act of Defiance, a local punk band, appealed to the latter. P.O.S. followed with some old-school hip-hop, coming across like a rough, angry KRS-1, rhyming over early Def Jam rap/rock beats as well as more thoughtful songs that featured looping Blue Note flutes.

Next up, the RX Bandits proved that thrashing punk-ska has come a long way. Apparently, these days your lead singer can wear ratty jeans, and have a mop of unkempt hair with a matching beard. Honestly, when I saw him walking around earlier I thought the Spin Doctors had been added to the tour.

Gym Class Heroes finally hit the stage (after three hours), which was done up like a bizarre election rally, reflecting the "Daryl Hall for President" tour theme. Now, this band was a real band; a triggered sample could not be heard. Lead man Travis "Schleprok" McCoy managed to come off as charismatic and entertaining without hamming it up too much, without becoming a distraction (i.e. Flava Flav). He riffed on sexy teachers, emo careers based on one breakup and how, when he gets off stage, he just wants to chill out to Grey's Anatomy--no backstage freestyling! We got hits like "Taxi Driver," a cover of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," and McCoy ended the night in the balcony, singing "We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time," with a bunch of little kids who couldn't see from the floor.

Did you guys know they took that from an old song?

More by James Hudson

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