July 21, 2005

The Starting Line Revs Up Vans Warped Tour

By Randy J. Klodz

It may sound odd that a young band named the Starting Line already has released two popular albums and has progressed beyond a beginning point, but the Pennsylvania-native outfit has found its mark within the pop-punk community. The Starting Line comes through the Chicago area when the Vans Warped Tour invades Tweeter Center on July 23.

The Starting Line--which includes Kenny Vasoli (vocal, bass), Matt Watts (guitar), Mike Golla (guitar, percussion) and Tom Grykiewcz (drums)--has amassed a following just short of the rabid crowds attracted by several similar bands like My Chemical Romance and Simple Plan.

Though the Starting Line may carry similar fans, the band’s members have been touring just as hard as many bands of the genre, yet remain one of the youngest. The Starting Line frontman Kenny Vasoli is 21, for instance, with the band now participating in its third year of Warped Tour festivities, which always strolls through the Chicago area.

And although the Starting Line frequently plays Chicagoland shows, the fan frenzy keeps coming back for more. “Chicago is usually a really good city for us,” Vasoli said, “it seems to be one of those cities where we seem to come back to pretty often yet people still show up the shows and give as much enthusiasm as they did the last time.”

With a packed touring regimen, it’s no wonder the kids from Pennsylvania, have matured musically since their previous album “Say It Like You Mean It” hit stores in 2002. Now out with “Based on a True Story,” which released nationwide this May, the Starting Line may have not completely abandoned their high-energy pop-punk, but the band’s sound has turned toward a more polished, complete sound, something that Vasoli admitted might rub some fans the wrong way.

“It seems like people are starting to catch on to it.“ said Vasoli. “When it first came out I kind of got the vibe that people were uneasy about it because it wasn’t what they were expecting because it doesn’t sound like the old record very much, so I think it may have made some fans a little uncomfortable at first.

“But I hope it’s one of those records where you listen to it a couple of times and then start to love it.”

Die-hard fans of the Starting Line will enjoy “Based on a True Story” tracks such as the bouncy “Bedroom Talk” and “The World,” as well as the rocking “Inspired By the $” and the mellow and beautifully arranged “Photography.”

Tweeter Center is at 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave. in south-suburban Tinley Park. Tickets for this outdoor, all ages, all-day festival are listed for $29.75 each, with a start time of 12 p.m. For more info on the Starting Line www.startinglinerock.com.
The Starting Line Photo: Josh V. Rothstein