During pop-punk's heyday (late '90s/early '00s), part of the fun of being a fan was hearing tour announcements. You'd hope the stars might align to get, say, Hot Rod Circuit, Alkaline Trio and Dashboard Confessional on the same bill (Vagrant Across America Tour 2001). Almost a decade has passed and many of those bands are either dead, forgotten or stagnant — but not all! This year's installment of "Where's the Band?" Tour — which stops by the Ottobar on Sunday and gets its name from the lead singers touring sans bandmates — shows pop-punk's forefathers are still working, writing and attempting to push the genre forward.
The bill consists of singer-songwriters whose bands made decent-sized splashes not long ago. Ace Enders (The Early November) and Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) are south Jersey stalwarts. Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids) and Chris Conley (Saves the Day) are legends in the scene, responsible for some of the era's timeless records (GUK's "Something to Write Home About" and Saves the Day's "Through Being Cool"). Thrice's Dustin Kensrue, also playing, has evolved his band from harder-edged emo to a sprawling take on prog-rock. And, finally, Anthony Raneri (from cult-favorite Bayside) rounds out the bill.
For full disclosure, I grew up in the same small town as Enders, whom I'd consider an old friend. Same goes for Weiss, a guy I played plenty of shows with around Jersey. Both are considerably talented and still hard-working members of a community that's seen better days recently. Whether I knew them or not, I'd be co-signing the "Where's the Band" tour because it's a stacked bill of old heroes still tackling the road.