Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Concert Review: The Ataris Live in Eastwood City

Concert Review: The Ataris Live in Eastwood City 
Written by Bianchi Mendoza || Photos by Kris Rocha(

            Fifteen years since they released their first LP “Anywhere But Here”, alternative rock band The Ataris have finally made their way onto our shores. It was a windy Saturday afternoon last January 19 as fans, mostly 20 or 30-somethings who have no doubt grown up listening to their music, gathered at the Eastwood Central Plaza. The breeze couldn’t cool the burning anticipation in the air.An awesome local band, the LowTechs took the stage to warm the crowd up though it didn’t feel like it was necessary.

            After what seemed like only a few seconds, The Ataris took the stage and broke into tracks from their 2003 album “So Long, Astoria”: “In This Diary,” “Unopened Letter to the World,” and “The Hero Dies in This One”.The unbelievable “So Long Astoria”-heavy set list also included: “Take-offs and Landings”, “So Long, Astoria” and their cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” (which they released as a single and became one of their biggest hits).

            Midway through the show, Kris Roe introduced their new drummer Eric Perkins saying, “This is only the fifth show that he’s played with us.” But the way Eric was hitting all the beats so spot on, you would think he’s been playing with The Ataris since day one. Only Kris Roe has survived the many lineup changes over the years. (Their current lineup includes guitarist, Thomas Holst and bassist, Brian Nelson.) 

            Kris Roe, now in his mid-30s, didn’t disappoint. His voice seems like it has become more solid, weathered with just the right amount of angst and hope. It was awesome to see himrocking outwith his left-handed guitar, with the occasional smile and expression of gratitude. I can only imagine what was going through his mind but I’m certain it included the joy of being able to play halfway around the world for fans who have grown up with them and who have remained by their side through the many challenges the band has overcome over the years. 

            The Ataris took the audience on a nostalgic tripwhen they threw songs from“Blue Skies, Broken Hearts…Next 12 Exits” in the mix: “Broken Promise Ring” and “1*15*96”.They also played a cover of the 80s song “Can’t Hardly Wait” by The Replacements-- a song that feels like it could be released in any decade and still be a hit.

            I wish I had known they were taking requests. A lucky fan, (who didn’t respond when Kris was searching for him in the crowd maybe because he was stunned that Kris was evenindulging him), got his wish when they played his request, “Your Boyfriend Sucks”. When they closed the show with
"San Dimas High School Football Rules”, I forgot what decade I was in and it was epic. In the fading afternoon light, it was plain to see that The Ataris will always remind their devoted fans of summer and the awesome bittersweet truth that “being grown up is not half as fun as growing up”.

            Their tour of Asia includes China, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. On their facebook page it says that Kris Roe will be playing a solo show in Bangkok. They played two shows in Manila last January 19, one in Eastwood and the other one took place in the evening at Venice Piazza in Mckinley Hill.

See more photos from The Ataris Live in Manila concert here:

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