Picture it: Scoot Inn on Thursday night. It’s getting cold. The lights dim. On the stage, a fog machine spits out a wispy white cloud. A speaker is wrapped in a Kansas state flag (which, while quaint and colorful, clearly does not meet Roman Mars standards for good flag design). The Get Up Kids — far from kids at this point, but also clearly far from done — take the stage to applause. They dedicate their set to frozen margaritas.
“Last time we came down to South by Southwest it was 1998,” lead singer Matt Pryor said, sparking a round of self-deprecating jabs about the age of the band.
Opening with single “Satellite” from their upcoming album due in May, "Problems," the band ripped through a tour of their entire catalog, going from their oldest song to their newest. It all fit together surprisingly well given the 20-plus year span of the material.
What could have just served as a trip down memory lane proved instead to be a showcase of a band that still has something say. The Kansas City rockers were hugely influential in opening the floodgates for the wave of late ’90s and early ’00s pop-punk and emo — blame them or thank them, for better or worse.
But the band was never as overly serious as many of their Vagrant Records counterparts in its emo heyday. And even after all these years, The Get Up Kids seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, smiling and cracking jokes between themselves. The atmosphere is similarly jovial in the crowd. Grins all around. People dance arms over shoulders with friends. Others pogo. Hands are in the air.
“That was another new one. Pretty good, right?” lead guitarist Jim Suptic said with a massive grin. (It was pretty good.) Then an older one: “I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel.” (Very good.)
As the night came to a close, the band ended their set with a pair of massive sing-alongs: “Don’t Hate Me” and “10 Minutes.”
“Still got it!” Suptic said. “You're singing along. You still give a [expletive]. It means the absolute world to us.”