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Not only do these bands -- particularly headliners the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus -- make listener-friendly power pop (a.k.a. emo), but they're also exactly the type of young men American parents would be proud to call their own. On top of that, lead singer Ronnie Winter's prayer request for soldiers in Iraq was honorable, and the group was performing as part of the "Take Action!" tour to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention.
These guys are, well, perfect. And that's the problem.
For all the good things about the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and there are many, the band's hour-long 12-song set was as efficient as it was personality-free.
The twin Gibson SG guitars of Elias Reidy and Duke Kitchens were processed with precise digital distortion, and their sound screamed, "We're a highly trained guitar army, not some ragtag group of recruits."
Winter's voice was helped with some effects, too, so his passionate yelp was always strong and clear -- except when he turned the mike toward the audience, as he did several times during such singalong hits as "Face Down," "False Pretense" and "Cat and Mouse."
Behind the scenes, things were run ultra-professionally, too, with the attentive stage crew dashing out to adjust microphones if they slipped even a millimeter, or kicking away a potentially dangerous item tossed onstage, such as a soft-foam-and-mesh trucker's cap.
Because it would have been a tragedy if the charismatic Winter, while singing uplifting words to his young flock, had turned around and slipped on a hat.
-- Christopher Porter