In 2001, the modern wave of pop punk was in its heyday (and I, as an impressionable teen, couldn’t get enough of it). Blink-182 were multi-platinum artists. Jimmy Eat World, Sum 41, and New Found Glory were all over MTV (and wow, MTV still kind of played some videos). Carryovers from ’90s success like Green Day and The Offspring were still going strong. Slightly more under the radar bands like Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids were giving the genre more artistic validation, and carrying on on the spirit of ’90s emo. Then there were bands like Relient K. Popular, sure, even gold record status, but not Blink popular. But whereas pop punk was mostly diverging in a fairly lighthearted direction (perhaps the reason it was never given much critical validation), Relient K always maintained some sort of message- whether it be social, emotional, or political. It’s that message, that personal connection the band so passionately pursued, that made them so special to their rabidly loyal fanbase. The band largely exploded onto the scene due to the strength of their classic sophomore album The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek and never looked back.
After snagging a Grammy nomination and touring relentlessly, Relient K proved they could adapt and maintain relevance in the ever-changing climate of mainstream pop punk (which, by the mid-2000s, was becoming notably less punk in aesthetics) with the release of 2004’s Mmhmm, their most commercially successful release to date. Though they’ve gone through a couple of lineup changes and fallen off the mainstream radar to an extent (but that’s largely the case for pop punk as a whole these days), the band has continued to release fantastic albums over the past several years and maintains a fanbase as loyal as ever. Singer Matt Thiessen has proven time and time again that his songwriting chops are as sharp than ever, penning hits for heavyweights like Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Switchfoot, along with a few solo releases of his own. If recent tours with the likes of Paramore and Owl City, as well as plans for a new record in 2013, are any indication, Relient K won’t be slowing down anytime soon. With over a decade of touring and refining their songwriting under their belts, there’s no better time to catch the band live.
Relient K are performing tonight at Rocketown with support from House of Heroes and Farewell Flight. The show starts at 6:30PM (door at 6:00) and tickets are still available here. The band relocated to Nashville several years ago, so for all intents and purposes it’s a hometown show, and it’s sure to be a blast!