The Beat peeped the Motion City Soundtrack/Maw/Anberlin show last night at the Newport Music Hall. We think there were some other people there our age. All three bands fall under the broadening "emo" banner, although we have to admit we're still not sure, even after reading the wiki-link, that we know exactly what that means. Anyway, Mae is The Beat's favorite young band, and we really dig Anberlin's new record, "Cities." (Yes, we lean toward the earnest.) We actually liked MCS more than we expected - their tunes deal more obviously with the "problems of youth," and we've left that far behind and are hopefully a few years away from having to deal with them as a parent.

So here's what stood out to us: Anberlin might have been good, but their sound mix and balance was bad, as is often the case with openers for openers. Mae has two new members. Keyboardist Rob Sweitzer, who The Beat interviewed last summer, is no longer with the band. Motion City Soundtrack, as we said, impressed us more than expected. The tunes could stand a little more variation in style, and we were disturbed that singer Justin Pierre felt it necessary to almost apologize for doing a song with piano and voice only. Nevertheless, we will continue to keep an eye on these guys, 'cause they write really catchy tunes. And Pierre, who was engaging and kooky (maybe a bit too much so at times) reminds us of this guy.