Returning from hiatus, Spraynard act as main support for Modern Baseball this evening. It’s far more pop-punk in the traditional sense than the headliners. The three-piece from West Chester, Pennsylvania are all about the Mom jokes, song dedications, anti-homework messages and “start your own band” #stayposivibes. They are a little less posi however when the stage dives and crowd surfing get a little out of hand. Musically, they are most interesting when broadening the scope of the genre. “Damn You, A Box” is the stand-out as a sing-along, but still heavy enough to get a reaction. It’s a ‘quick pizza break’ short of a set that Sunrise Skater Kids would be proud of.

Modern Baseball begin proceedings with the same two tracks as sophomore LP “You’re Gonna Miss it All”. “Fine, Great” includes the first of many safety warnings about stage diving, seriously affecting the fun being had by those in the front row. It’s a tight-rope between acting like a major Buzz Killington and trying to get the same three dudes taking seven stage dives per song to take it easy and stop kicking the same girl at front of stage in the face. It would be easy to put it down to a cultural difference and a lack of familiarity with the notoriously enthusiastic “Glasgow crowds” or young boys trying to have a good time, but it doesn’t seem to be the case and the boys look uncomfortable. Many bands and artists have taken the tight-rope harder in the past including Fugazi, At The Drive-In, even more locally Dananananaykroyd. The main concern of Modern Baseball however seems to just be everyone being able to have a good time.

A cultural difference does show in dialogue between band and crowd when “Get your tits out!” is misheard as “Get my dick back?” by guitarist/singer Jake Ewald. “Pothole” gives both band and crowd some respite and the contrary scene unfolds of girls on shoulders echoing every word back. They come across well, if only a little awkward, bassist/band figurehead Ian Farmer gets the customary love and attention as his name is chanted between songs to bashful reaction. Some of the love is passed on to Spraynard by the band. Musically the pop-punk/emo scene is generally where Modern Baseball fall, but there’s a little more depth than most, the bluegrass nod of “Going To Bed Now” and the preference to steer well clear of lazy half-time or even double-time sections gives it more substance than some contemporaries.

This penchant for variation continues as “The Weekend” with Sean Huber’s drummer-led verse providing a shift from the usually softer Moldy Peaches tones. A goofy outro rendition of The Killers’ “When You Were Young” raises smiles. The aforementioned Mr. Huber was even kind enough to allow a drunken fan in Nice N Sleazy’s to chew his ear off about drumsticks and other such nonsense for far longer than most would. Where the next LP takes them is anyone’s guess, but we definitely won’t miss it all.

Related posts: