Last Night: The Format at Culture Room

The Format

July 24, 2007

Culture Room

Better Than: Watching a clip of The Format on My Super Sweet Sixteen.

After arriving at the show moments before the door opened, I surveyed my surroundings to see if it met my expectations. Pimped out tour bus, a symbol of budding rock stars: check. A line of eager teenagers sprawled around the corner: check. It was blatantly obvious headliners The Format had finally made it.

The show opened with an act unknown to me prior to the show, Ollie Jason. Having been too preoccupied with checking out the band merch, I arrived late in front of the stage expecting to hear an unfamiliar band when, instead, I was met with um … something else. To my surprise, there stood a teenager in a batman mask, white shirt, yellow basket ball shorts, and matching cape. To say I was confused would be putting it mildly. A few seconds passed before I realized I had stumbled upon a magic show at a concert.

Following Batman's performance, a member of Limbeck laid his head comfortably between the blade of a guillotine and a block of wood. Would Limbeck become one member short? Some of my fear subsided as I saw movement after the blade was dropped. Too bad I had to watch the rest of the magic show. Ladies and Gentlemen, the utterly un-amazing, Ollie Jason!

The magic show was not a hard act to follow. Steel Train, the first band of the night, opened with intense energy that would be exhibited by all the bands throughout the night. An overzealous lead singer/guitar player outshone fellow band members with his showmanship.

As the night progressed, the fact that most of the audience had come solely for The Format became more apparent. When indie rock group, Limbeck, took the stage, I was severely let down, not by the band but the audience. Limbeck composes infectious, perennial music, yet the youthful onlookers had the attention span of 5-year olds. The songs “Sin City” and “Honk and Wave” proved to be the exception; a flighty audience seemed to be briefly enraptured by the music.

Having been a fan of The Honorary Title for quite a few years without having ever seen them perform live, I had created impossible standards for them to live up to. Although the band delivered a solid performance, I was still a bit disappointed. Lead singer Jarrod Gorbel sings with such sincerity and compelling emotion it is hard not to personally feel the heartache of his failed relationships. Wearing white skinny jeans and a Poison t-shirt, Jarrod looked like the newest addition to an '80s revival hair metal band.

The Format proves that a five second appearance on the show My Super Sweet Sixteen can triple the size of your crowd. A packed audience clung to every word as if it were singer Nate Reuss's last. Beginning with “She Doesn't Get It,” the band gave an arresting performance that included a fair share of both new and old songs. After playing for more than an hour, the band closed the set with Van Morrison's “Caravan” and was accompanied by members of Limbeck and Steel Train. -- Ashley Rousseau

Critic's Notebook:

Random Detail: Jarrod Gorbel's mother was in the crowd.

By the way: Gorbel sites Beaker of The Muppets as well as Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue as his idols.

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Tovin Lapan