Get Up Kids grow up

It must be somewhat frustrating for a band who formed as teens eight years ago to realize they're not kids anymore - especially when The Get Up Kids' own name reminds them of this every day. (Think about poor Sonic Youth.) Luckily, the group has welcomed this situation rather than fought against it, as its solid set demonstrated at Kansas City's Uptown Theatre on Tuesday.

The Kids' material has steadily matured from no-frills emo-rock, imbued with distorted guitars and driving beats, to a more melodic songwriter approach. The Lawrence/KC quintet now writes real "adult" songs, and still manages to pack a 1,000-plus venue with underage fans in the process.

Bathed in blue light, the band members hit the stage with na-na harmonies and jangly chords characteristic of their latest record, "On a Wire," before eventually launching into more punk-themed numbers from their earlier albums.

"This is a song that was written about a block and a half from here called 'Holiday,'" singer Matt Pryor told the crowd. It was one of numerous times the musicians explained the origins of songs and their relationship to the Uptown stage.

Pryor's thin yet gruff voice always cut above the occasionally boomy mix. However, his melodies took on a substantial similarity after a half-dozen tunes.

The crowd cheered when the Kids announced they'd be performing the track "Stay Gone" on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" this Friday � a surprising selection, considering it proved to be one of the least distinguished endeavors of the evening.

The Kids closed their pre-encore set with "Walking on a Wire," a moody piece with a mesmerizing guitar riff. It built to a fabulous crescendo before the members walked off-stage, leaving just keyboardist James Dewees to provide a sonic epilogue.

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