Once there was this little group from suburban Illinois that somehow hit upon a brave new sound. It was an amalgam of the edgy, aggressive rock that came before and the vulnerable, melodic pop that had grown up alongside it. In accordance with this dichotomy, the four bandmembers were a mismatched bunch of guys, but they soon coalesced into an integrated whole; meanwhile, their music quickly developed a deceptive depth and harmonic sophistication that was rockin' enough for the dumbasses yet smart enough for the dorks. After years of hectic yet successful hard work and touring, the band broke up over ego clashes and creative differences. But these four men have set aside their grudges to reunite and perform for an entire generation of fans who, though too young to see them the first time around, have nonetheless been touched, inspired and forever changed by their music. That band was Cheap Trick. Oddly enough, Braid's biography is almost identical; just substitute "hardcore" for "rock" and "emo" for "pop," and you've pretty much got it. That said, Braid was one of the most intense and compelling outfits of the '90s underground emo boom, a movement that birthed such legends as Cap'n Jazz and Sunny Day Real Estate. Don't let the fact that three-fourths of the group now plays in the lukewarm, kiddie-core act Hey Mercedes fool you: Braid was, and likely still is, the shit. Since you probably can't catch them at Budokan, head down to the Gothic tonight and surrender.
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