The stage was lit with flashing blue, red and yellow strobe lights. The crowd, which consisted of teens and 20-somethings (and a scarce scattering of parents), packed the room from wall to wall, holding their drinks in one hand and waving their other hand in the air. Move over, Justin Timberlake; the alternative rock/emo group The Spill Canvas is the new favorite in New York City for girls and guys alike.

The group stopped at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza on June 11, 2008, as they are currently headlining their first nationwide tour to endorse their fourth album, No Really, I’m Fine, which was released by Sire Records on October 2, 2007.

While The Spill Canvas first began promoting the album while opening for Yellowcard earlier this year and playing at last summer’s Warped Tour, the group’s performance at the Fillmore reinforced the fact that they deserved the upgrade from opening act to headliner.

Lead singer and guitarist Nick Thomas pleased the crowd by providing anecdotes about the group between songs. While playing the songs, all of the members, including drummer Joe Beck, guitarist Dan Ludeman, and bassist Landon Heil, threw themselves into, and connect with, the semi-autobiographical lyrics that Thomas sang and wrote.

During an interview with Beck before the show, he said that not only does the group relate to their music, so do the fans. “We’ve always built our music around honesty and being completely real and upfront with everything…we’re on the same level as our fans…We feel that our music connects, and we can connect to people, too.”

The audience did indeed seem to connect with the lyrics, as well as the members, as many of the fans sang many of the songs word-for-word. Coming from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the group members struggled to see their dreams of becoming musicians come true. Being in their early twenties, and being the same age as many of their fans, the members prove that anyone can accomplish what they want if they put their minds to it. “We just left from our town and started touring. We got picked up by a record label,” Beck said. “We’ve just been working hard and touring the past five years.”

The Spill Canvas members also proved that they care about their music by sounding the same live as they do on the radio, which not all artists can do, while keeping up their stamina. If the audience closed their eyes during the show, they would most likely imagine that they were hearing such songs as All Over You, the album’s first single, which has been featured on MTV’s Total Request Live, on the radio.

While the group sounded incredible during their set, the only problem was that they made their fans wait three-and-a-half hours after the doors opened to start playing, and only ended up playing for an hour. There were three opening acts before The Spill Canvas came on, including Sing It Loud, Ludo and Steel Train, who all played for about half-an-hour to promote their new albums.

After waiting for an hour after the doors opened, the first opening act, the pop-rock influenced Sing It Loud, hit the stage, as the crowd screamed in excitement to finally be hearing live music. The members tried to connect to their audience by talking about themselves in between such songs as I’ve Got a Feeling, which made up for their obvious lack of experience on-stage, which included not standing close enough to the microphone while they were singing.

Pop-punk band Ludo hit the stage next, but failed to hold the crowd’s attention. With their hard to understand lyrics, aura that they were the best thing to hit the New York music scene and failure to interact with the crowd, many fans used their performance time as an intermission to use the bathroom and talk to their friends.

Steel Train was the last opening act, and they were able to grab the fans’ attention back with their impressive mix of classic rock with pop-punk. Singer Jack Antonoff’s voice was clearly understandable, and with songs such as I Feel Weird and Black Eye, off of the album Trampoline, which was released in September, the fans were able to get back into the spirit of why they were at the Fillmore in the first place-to see a great live show.

By Karen Benardello

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