Live Review: The Ataris at The Soda Bar, September 7, 2012

Photo credit: Alexandre Chang

It’s hard to turn down a visit from the musical DeLorean — especially when it brings the band that everyone loved to blast in high school, as they sped out of the parking lot. That’s what landed in audience’s ears when the Ataris came to the Soda Bar on September 7.

Despite having not released a new album since 2007’s Through the Night, and years having passed since they had a viable hit, The Ataris continue to spend a lot of time on the road. This has allowed them to maintain their dedicated fan base, even though they’ve fallen off the mainstream radar since their Don Henley-covering, “Boys of Summer” heyday.

The Ataris, fronted by Chris Roe, opened their Soda Bar show with “In This Diary,” a classic from their So Long, Astoria album. The song immediately warmed up the crowd for the rest of the night. Roe’s voice has matured in the decade since the release of Astoria, adding a barrel-aged perspective to the once youthful sound. Looking past that, The Ataris’ live shows are everything one searches for in an alt-punk show. Scathing guitars, pounding bass, and bursting angsty vocals? Check, check, and check.

The set list comprised a good mix of deep cuts and more popular tracks — with an large number from So Long, Astoria. It wasn’t all old stuff, however: surprisingly, the band also threw a couple of unnamed new tracks into the cauldron.

Overall, the night was not focused on what the future holds for the band, but rather where the past has taken them. The set closed out with the classic “San Dimas High School Football Rules,” which gave a cathartic, aggressive end to the night. The show was a treat for all fans, young and old alike.

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