Music » Livewire

The Starting Line

With Copeland, Gatsby's American Dream, and Cartel. Sunday, February 19, at House of Blues.

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The tour title "Screaming Is for Babies" pokes fun at the Starting Line's contemporaries, who unleash temper-tantrum shrieks when they're not crooning like lounge singers. It could be argued that whining, an essential element in vocalist Ken Vasoli's arsenal, is also for infants, but at least the Starting Line is making an honest effort to dispense with its childish ways.

The maturation process started in 2004, when Vasoli, a close-cropped bottle blond when his group debuted the previous year, let his hair grow out and revert to its natural color. The teenybopper throngs rejected the new style, provoking Vasoli's indignant retort at the band's website about "furious little girls that care more about my hair style than my music." In the same post, Vasoli defended the PG-13 single "Bedroom Talk," with its provocative refrain "I'm gonna tear your ass up like we just got married": "I'm 20, and I'm not going to write nursery rhymes."

Growing up isn't all flowing locks and sexual slang. The Starting Line's Based on a True Story includes brooding ballads, and the group now employs a piano player. The Screaming Is for Babies bill offers tough love for modern-rock melancholics.

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