theAudition feel surprisingly OK with being fairly unremarkable.
Their pop-punk-meets-melodic-rock songs are lifted straight from the FCC-sanctioned teen angst playlist. Choppy guitars and frenetic drumming storm ahead, creating infectious songs tailor-made for the Hot Topic crowd. In fact, one might argue that the most interesting thing about theAudition might be their blatant disregard for punctuation and capitalization.
The Chicago-based quintet may not bring anything brand new to the table, but that isn't to say that they don't perform well. In fact, a lot of swooning fan sites claim otherwise, waxing poetic about their music and lyrics (as well as their tousled hair and penchant for polo shirts).
But when I ask drummer Ryan O'Connor about critics' claims that they're riding on the coattails of fellow Windy City scenesters Fall Out Boy, he's rather blas.
"Yeah, we get that a lot. But we're trying to do our own thing," he says. "Just because we're from Chicago, that doesn't mean we sound the same, you know."
But where does the difference lie?
"Um, the vocals are different. The style is different, I guess."
theAudition have been around since 2003, when O'Connor started the band with bassist Joe Lussa and guitarist Seth Johnson. Their 2005 debut, Controversy Loves Company, was produced by John Naclerio, known for his past work with bands like fellow pop-punksters My Chemical Romance and Senses Fail.
The album is catchy and hook-heavy, and indicative of a band and a generation raised on the Vans Warped Tour, which theAudition actually just completed. But toss accusations of unoriginality at barely 20-year-old boys, and you'll most likely be met with a shrug.
"We're not copying anyone, though I don't really read our reviews. We try not to let it bother us," says O'Connor. "We're not trying to be Radiohead and change the world around us. We're just out to make music and have a good time with it."
theAudition with Just Surrender and Ivory
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Monday, Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8-$10, all ages; visit sodajerkpresents.com.