Selling out a show at the Exit/In: now that’s the way to leave an impression on Nashville. Before the band was first seen on stage, a mysterious, masked DJ took us through time with music starting from the year 1980 and ending in the present. After the thirty minutes it took to get to 2012, along with some technical difficulties, it was time for The All-American Rejects to take the stage. With what sounded like a 1970’s funk song, the band made their way onto the stage, kicking off their set with the high-energy “One More Sad Song” off of their self-titled debut album. They instantly drew the crowd in with an oldie, along with their abundance of movement. There wasn’t a place on stage you could look without feeling their liveliness. For anyone who became a fan during the reign of their second album, Move Along, the band gripped them with their popular hit “Dirty Little Secret.” These guys certainly know how to appeal to a crowd, especially their lead singer, Tyson Ritter. Discovering that using the words “Nashville” or “Tennessee” to replace other lyrics got the crowd excited caused them to use that tactic for almost every song. If the crowd enjoys it, then why not use it as much as possible, right?
The next few songs were a blend of their three albums, leading up to their newest single “Beekeeper’s Daughter.” Tyson described this song as a sort of good riddance song to his bad treatment of women. He dedicated it to all the people who aren’t being treated right in a relationship having the strength to find someone better. Throughout the whole set you can see the transformation in their style as a band as they bounce between albums. As the public’s taste for music shifts, they shift their style to match. They continue with their first hit “Swing, Swing,” and move to others like “It Ends Tonight,” and “Move Along,” attempting to convince the crowd that would be their last song for the night. The crowd was very obviously onto them since, the moment the band stepped off stage, the crowd began to chant “AAR” repeatedly, since the full band name is a little too long for chanting.
Their encore began with a moving tribute to one of their friends who was injured at the Exit/In a couple years ago and ended up passing away. They dedicated “I For You,” a song off of their upcoming album that Tyson described as “the only soft song we have,” to their late friend. This was done acoustically and was a very touching tribute. Also off their new album, they played the never-before-heard “Kids in the Street,” which Tyson dedicated to “all those kids who grew up on dirt roads.” Then, for what seemed like their final song, they played “Gives You Hell,” after informing the crowd of an experience they had with a woman who told them all about how this song was her anthem when it first came out. Judging by the volume of the crowd singing and their extensive cheering, it may have been an anthem for some of them too. To our surprise, they had one more song left in them, finishing with their aptly titled song “The Last Song.” After the hour and a half set, the band finally took their bows and left the stage.
I’d say this was an incredibly successful show. Though it may not be the same size crowd as they’re used to, I have a feeling these guys will be making a strong comeback. Their current fans are dedicated, knowing everything about them and all the words to their songs, and their new music will undoubtedly draw in new fans. When you don’t know what to expect from The All-American Rejects, know you should just expect the best and they will surely deliver.