Kris Roe of The Ataris – MilkBoy – Philadelphia, PA – 8/15/14

A couple of weekends ago, Philadelphia music venue, Milkboy, celebrated their third anniversary.  To celebrate, they had three days of free concerts from Thursday to Saturday.  The second night featured headliner Kris Roe of The Ataris.  Kris was in the beginning of his acoustic tour when he stopped in Philadelphia to play some songs and take requests.

For anyone that knows me, they know I am a huge fan of The Ataris.  I posted my experience and photos at the So Long, Astoria show in Philadephia here, .  Without The Ataris, I have no idea what my musical tastes would be like now if I didn’t listen to them.  Since middle school, I learned all I could about life, girls, and relationships from Kris Roe’s lyrics and music.  It was nice to finally meet him and tell him the joy that his band has brought me.  I’ve seen Kris do at least two acoustic shows prior to this and knew that the show would be just as good as if he had a whole band.

Kris opened the show with playing some of The Ataris’ known songs like “In This Diary” and “San Dimas High School Football Rules”, Kris played every song with perfection.  He then proceed to take requests from the crowd and then went back to his regular set list.  The highlight for me was when he played “New Years Day” from the album Welcome the Night.  It is very rare that you will hear Kris or The Ataris play a song from that album, but I was overjoyed because it is my favorite album in their catalog.  The crowd went silent for this song though, but the emotion Kris sang on that song, I hope made people go revisit that album and give it another chance.  Jumping back into requests, Kris played another old gem, “Boxcar”.  Even though this is a cover song by the band Jawbreaker, the Philadelphia crowd got to witness some songs being played that haven’t been played in a long time.

Towards the end of the set, Kris played a newer Ataris song, “12/15/10”, a song about the passing of his grandmother.  If you recall, in the album So Long, Astoria, the song “The Hero Dies In This One” is about Kris leaving his grandmother’s apartment thinking this could be the last time he sees her.  Family is a big part in Kris’ life since I’ve been analyzing The Ataris’ lyrics.  I came to that conclusion because, one, Kris writes about it all the time, and two, during “12/15/10”, Kris’ voice got higher and a lot more emotional.  The ending line to that song is probably the most powerful ending The Ataris ever wrote.

Closing the night, Kris asked the crowd to sing along to “The Saddest Song” as loud as they could.  By far the loudest I’ve heard a crowd during an acoustic show.  With smiles through the whole show from Kris and the crowd, it obvious that The Ataris means a lot to a lot people including Kris.  The new album can’t come soon enough.

“God, are you really listening?
If this is only a test,
If this is only a test,
I feel like I’m failing,
Failing you.”

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