The Arbiter reviews the Epitaph Tour 2005 show in Boise.

Here lies the Epitaph Tour:
Thanks for the music memories, boys

An epitaph is the last thing written about something that no longer exists. It is designed to be a short literary marker that sums up the subject and graces the headstone as an everlasting reminder of what once was. It's a mini obituary etched in stone.

With that said, this is the Epitaph Tour's epitaph (until it returns next year). This is the final reminder of the Epitaph Tour, which ended its set in Boise Wednesday night at 10 p.m., Feb. 9, 2005 to over 500 hundred bodies.

The show will best be remembered as the underground event that united indy favorites Motion City Soundtrack, The Matches, From First To Last and Matchbook Romance. With the end of any good thing, there is always a beginning, and going from first to last the band that played first was...From First to Last.

Led by front teen Sonny Moore, FFTL (as fans know them) started the evening with an energetic vibe that lasted the extent of the event. A cross of high distortion and higher screaming landed the group in the hearts and minds of the adoring crowd. Hailing from Florida, the band migrated to Los Angeles after signing to the Epitaph label. It was a dream come true for guitarist Matt Good who grew up listening to Epitaph compilations. "It's kind of weird being on the label. In high school all I did was skate and listen to the 'Punk O-Rama' comps," Good said. The influence paid off as the troupe's 'screamo' reputation shined during the performance. A fusion of punk energy and death metal overtones and the mental stability of a high school girl, the set was entertaining and interesting. High ambitions and lowered inhibitions made them sound better than their most recent album.

Flowers should be sent to The Matches for their overwhelmingly raw set. As predicted, the Bay Area dance-punk thrashers also proved they sound better live than their professionally recorded album. Influenced by Operation Ivy, Rancid and Green Day, The Matches claim not to be punk per se, but the tempo was right on the mark. Throw in the rhythm of horn-less ska and the end result was a concert merger well worth the sweat. The band who pinky swears they're "motherless test tube babies" joined the label last spring. Touring in support of their first album, "E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals," lead singer Shawn Harris said, "It was a relief to not be on a major label tour where you have to pay a band like 311 to take you around the country. It's nice to have brothers as cool as our brothers at Epitaph."

In relation to the odd title of their album, it was named in the true punk fashion. Said Harris: "It's in regards to this bitch that had a band called 'Locals.' Our band used to be called 'The Locals' back when we sucked. Their lawyers contacted us for infringement as we were recording the album. So, it was a shot to her." The Matches are survived by a tour date in Boise next April.

Sweet and sincere, the mark Motion City Soundtrack left will not be forgotten. The Midwest quartet rolled through the Big Easy with no regrets. In their wake they left a melodic and poppy sound unlike anything out there. Headed by Justin Pierre's catchy guitar and eccentric voice, the group dominated the evening. Thoroughly backed by keyboardist Matthew Taylor, the band should have come across as awkward. Because of a line up of solid musicians like Josh Cain, Motion City Soundtrack sounded like the peak of early alternative garage music with the esoteric of a Seattle grunge band. An unconventional style well done, MCS was one with the audience and all with quality: very effective, very original. Leaving a lasting impression, Pierre said, "Our name came from Josh Cain's brother. Props to him for naming us because we were called Yukon Cornelius." They will be missed.

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