New York-based recording act Bomb the Music Industry!, which is commonly abbreviated as BTMI!, performed at Transitions Art Gallery in Tampa on March 26. Considering the bands popularity in the punk and DIY music scene, it wasnt surprising that the small building was still swarming with excited fans.
The members of BTMI! have worked for a long time to turn the profit-over-enjoyment mentality around. All of their albums are available for free, they spray-paint their band name onto peoples shirts for free and they refuse to play any shows that charge more than $10.
The bands current lineup includes lead vocalist and guitarist Jeff Rosenstock; guitar, keyboard player and trombonist Matt Keegan; drummer Mike Costa; guitarist Tom Malinowski; and bassist John DeDomenici. The band members interacted with the audience throughout the entire show. While setting up their instruments, they told jokes and talked about the different things they had seen in Tampa.
Rosenstock explained that his right clavicle had recently been broken in a biking accident, and he asked that no one bump into it. Yet in less than a minute, he was playing his guitar as if he was healed. The excitement overflowed from the crowd and fans were smashing into each other to the beat of the music. Everyone smiled as they helped crowd surfers get across the room without crashing into the concrete floor.
Costa put his feet up on the drum set during the first minute of the song Campaign for a Better Next Weekend, which was relatively slow. People sang, but didnt move until around three minutes in, when the speed picked up. The atmosphere of the show was relaxed. Rosenstock cut everyone off in the middle of the popular Saddr Weirdr and told a joke using the wrong punchline. The audience swallowed this laid-back mood and fans asked to dance on stage. Rosenstock didnt miss a beat and called for a dance competition. By the end of the set, it was known that everyone had won.
Half of the set list consisted of songs from BTMIs newest album Vacation, a summer 2011 release that is a mixture of surreal lyrics, surf pop and synth punk with upbeat trombone moments thrown in. The song Cant Complain was recently played in the television show The Office, but the band refrained from playing it at Transitions.
Instead they charged straight into the energetic Everybody That You Love, causing the audience to surge forward, screaming the lyrics Theyre looking at me with their glassy eyes, theyre gonna bury me.
The rest of the set offered a mixture of older songs. They played Sweet Home Cananada, which is the first BTMI! song ever written, but the one that received the biggest response was 25! Fans jumped onto the stage in an attempt to sing into the microphone with Rosenstock.
Most of the songs on Vacation deal with unavoidable hardships and bleak moments, but the bands optimism usually comes through in the end. In the last song of the set, Felt Just Like Vacation,
Rosenstock sings, December destroyed me, January crushed me. By February I was not myself, and the fans raised their fists and sang along. By the end of the song he exclaims, Winter wont kill me, giving a bit of hope to all those in attendance.
As the audience screamed for more, Rosenstock yelled, See you in hell! as the venue lights came on. He must have meant the parking lot, because the band went outside to spray-paint their logo onto fans shirts for free.
1. Campaign for a Better Next Weekend
2. Everybody That Loves You
3. The First Time I Met Sanawon
4. 493 Ruth
5. Sweet Home Cananada
6. Side Projects Are Never Successful
7. Everybody That You Love
8. The S— That You Hate
9. Hurricane Waves
10. Saddr Weirdr
12. Gold Soundz (Pavement Cover)
13. Future 86
14. Felt Just Like Vacation