by Robert Bell
ME TALK PRETTY, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS
9 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
A few years ago, this British inventor named Howard Stapleton created a device to help shopkeepers ward off packs of unruly teens. The Mosquito Teen Deterrent is essentially a box that emits a high-frequency tone that most adults can't hear — owing to the gradual hearing loss inherent in aging — but which is extremely unpleasant to young people. Apparently it works pretty well, though there is some degree of controversy about whether it violates the rights of the young.
I'd like to posit that there is some sort of reverse Mosquito effect whereby sounds that are enjoyable to the fresh, un-jaded ears of the young are nonetheless intolerable to the older and crankier among us. Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, and I'm not saying Hawthorne Heights is a bad band. They've been around for more than a decade, they're one of the most popular acts in the emo/pop-punk genre and this show will probably be packed with attractive young folk.
But I've listened to a good deal of the group's
2011 2008 album "Fragile Future," and I literally cannot take it. Most of the songs are made up of your basic distorted guitar crunch and catchy leads and palm-muting and whatnot, but the singer seems to always hit this baying, adenoidal tenor in the chorus that just makes me want to have my ears ripped off and fed to starving wolves.
Me Talk Pretty is a New York quartet that plays bombastic alt-rock with all the sheen and gloss and loudness of contemporary Top 40. Call it make-out music for the Warped Tour crowd. Although the powerful voice of singer Uliana Preotu is easier on these cobwebby old ears than that of Hawthorne Heights singer J.T. Woodruff, the overall effect is much the same.
Again, I'm not saying these bands are bad; just that their music will make me leave wherever it is being played. So teen-agers take note: if you want to disperse a crowd of shiftless, out-of-touch old-timers from your immediate vicinity, well, you know what to do. The opening band is Madina Lake.