Honor Society hit Paradise for Saturday matinee

A review of the Honor Society at the Paradise Rock Club on July 18, 2009

, Staff Writer

Their was an elephant in the room Saturday afternoon at the Paradise for the Honor Society show, and if nobody else is going to say anything I feel like I should. The music is a fairly decent amalgam of Fall Out Boy pop and Justin Timberlake hip-hop, the guys are in their late 20’s / early 30’s, and all but nine people were females under the age of fourteen. I know the band says that a fan is a fan, but they really should just be saying a dollar is a dollar.

It’s not a prerequisite that a band has to have fans in their own personal demographic, but the bigger the gap the more the situation looks like exploitation. And it’s even more surprising when the band, who are currently on tour opening for the Jonas Brothers, seem like they could actually play to crowds closer to their age range.

Putting aside the fact that none of the band members have been in high school in years and that the Paradise bar was being used as a bench for nine year olds, the first song was a solid pop-rock combination in the vein of Maroon 5 or Cobra Starship. "Two Rebels" was poppier and fairly standard, but it was impressive how into it the audience got despite the band’s lack of an album (thanks, MySpace).

Speaking of an album, it was pretty heavy-handed marketing when the band led the crowd in a chant of "September 15th!", the day the album drops. It was also a little too much to watch the young girls in the front row grabbing and holding on to the skinny jeans of lead singer Michael Bruno, sort of the opposite of seeing an old guy at a Miley Cyrus show.

But again, the music did occasionally demand to be paid attention to. "Full Moon Crazy", though it sounded like "This Love: Part 2", kinda rocked pretty hard. "Over You" was slick and hard hitting, with the band showing off the amount of practice that they certainly had in preparation for their big arena tour.

Things continued to be up and down as "Where Are You Now", a song with lyrics about fifth grade teachers and crushes, was musically innocuous while "Don’t Close the Book" contained a legitimately funny and creative Rihanna reference. "Here Comes Trouble" was the best song of the afternoon, beginning with a sparse drum beat and a heavy guitar intro and absolutely playing above the heads of the crowd. More their speed was set closer "See U in the Dark", a song that should not be sung by a 28 year old to an 11 year old.

So is it Honor Society’s fault that their fans are young girls? You can’t fault a band for taking the opening slot on an arena tour for the band that signed them, that’s just a smart business move. But it would be a shame to see the band become satisfied with what their current base just because they pay, because playing for the lowest common denominator goes a long way to stifling creativity. Honor Society gets a free pass this time, but they need to show some improvement to make the grade.

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