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Commit This to Memory: Celebrating Motion City Soundtrack

Modern Baseball, The Wonder Years, and others reflect on one of pop punk's biggest bands

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    Motion City Soundtrack were a staple for kids who forged their first musical tastes through Warped Tour. In the decade-plus since the Minneapolis rockers emerged with I Am the Movie, the roaming summer festival has featured the band 10 times.

    Right from the band’s start in 1997, vocalist Justin Pierre won crowds over with his distinct, high-pitched croon and ear for catchy, self-deprecating pop-punk hooks. Throughout the years, he’s also proved to be an engaging songwriter, inhabiting the perspectives of exasperated lovers (“Hold Me Down”) and concerned parents (“Time Turned Fragile”). From rollicking sing-alongs like “The Future Freaks Me Out” and “Everything Is Alright” to introspective cuts like “Antonia” and “Skin and Bones”, the band’s songs gave thoughtful perspectives on mental health and self-doubt. And his deeply personal style of lyricism resonated with many bands who either toured with Motion City Soundtrack or who have emerged since.

    Throughout the years, they’ve shared the stage with pop-punk titans like Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy, but perhaps even more importantly, they’ve helped foster the resurgence of emo/pop-punk as a genre that draws critical interest. With the emergence of contemporaries like Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, and The Front Bottoms (the latter two of whom have toured with Motion City Soundtrack), the future of this style of music is bright, even as Motion City Soundtrack are finally calling it quits.

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    In honor of the influential pop-punk band kicking off their “So Long, Farewell” tour, Sorority Noise, Modern Baseball, The Matches, The Wonder Years, and P.O.S. all share memories of their experiences with Motion City Soundtrack to bid them a proper farewell.

    Killian Young
    Staff Writer

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    Sorority Noise

    Cameron Boucher, Guitarist/Singer

    Sorority Noise

    In middle school, Cameron Boucher’s musical taste revolved around classic rock, specifically Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Then one fateful day, the Sorority Noise singer/guitarist saw a friend wearing a Motion City Soundtrack t-shirt. Soon after, he listened to “Everything Is Alright” and “The Future Freaks Me Out”.

    “It was an initial change in my fuckin’ life,” Boucher says. “It just started opening me up to an entire world of music I never heard before.”

    The vocalist kept up with Motion City Soundtrack afterward, from Even If It Kills Me to My Dinosaur Life. (“‘Broken Heart’ was a single, and my brother and I watched that music video like a million times on Comcast on Demand,” Boucher remembers with a laugh.) Then last year, the vocalist’s music career came full circle when Motion City Soundtrack asked Sorority Noise to open for their 10th anniversary tour of Commit This to Memory. When Boucher read the email, he chucked his phone across the room and jumped on his bandmate Adam Ackerman’s bed. For Boucher, moments both small and big resonated with him while hanging out with musicians whom he grew up admiring. He remembers the two bands rolling through the Limelight Eventplex in Peoria on a penny skateboard before a show just as readily as the tour finale itself.

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    The last gig proved to be a special show for Sorority Noise when Motion City Soundtrack wrapped that leg of their tour at Deluxe in Indianapolis. Much to Motion City Soundtrack’s horror, Sorority Noise appeared onstage during “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” to perform the synchronized dance they taught themselves from the music video. Then for the second encore, Boucher took the lead as the two bands shared the stage to cover Nirvana’s “Breed”. The Sorority Noise singer also cites “Hold Me Down” as one of the tracks that impacted his lyricism most. But he could never quite bring himself to tell Justin Pierre just how influential he was.

    “I wanted to tell [Justin] that whole tour how every night being able to see them play ‘Hold Me Down’ and how much of a vast impact that song had in my life,” Boucher says. “I’ve listened to it. I’ve cried to it. That song has meant so much to me.”
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