The Get Up Kids perform Friday at Blue Moose


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The Get Up Kids has dealt with the label “emo band” since Day 1.

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” said Matt Pryor, vocalist and guitar player.

Now, 16 years later, the band members don’t care about their genre-defined past.

“You can call us whatever you want,” Pryor said. “But we’re not going to try to fit into some sort of mold.”

The Get Up Kids will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave. Admission is $17 in advance, $20 Friday.

Pryor said he believes all music is emotional.

“If the music didn’t conjure up any emotion, it probably wouldn’t be very good,” he said.

A second wave of “emo” music evolved in the mid-90s, right around the time the Get Up Kids was born. The revival started underground and became popular after record companies started signing alternative bands.

And this second wave has, in part, been attributed to the Get Up Kids.

The designation has both helped and hindered the musicians, Pryor said. Some take an interest based on the genre, yet he said for some listeners it “paints [the band members] into a corner creatively.”

But their influence continues after the emo fervor died down.

Blue Moose general manager Josh Ivey said he is “very excited” to see the group on Friday.

“They’re pretty much my favorite band,” said the fan of eight years.

Sam Summers, a booking agent from First Fleet Concerts in Des Moines, hired the band for this weekend.

“[Summers] knew that I really enjoy them, and I think that had a little something to do with him booking it,” Ivey said.

The alternative band has performed in Iowa City once before at what used to be known as the Picador — now Gabe’s. Pryor said he is looking forward to playing here again.

“Iowa City feels a lot like home,” he said.

Formed more than a decade ago, the Get Up Kids members hail from Kansas City, Mo. After completing five studio albums and one live album, the five-man group enjoyed tremendous success across the world.

But the band hit a low point in 2005, when the group broke up.

“I was in a really dark, unhappy place,” Pryor said.

However, the band returned in 2008, starting out with shows and festivals. It slowly made its way back toward new albums.

“It came about very naturally,” Pryor said.

The most recent, 2011’s There Are Rules, was received relatively well — Alternative Press said “[the album] truly stands out.”

Kent Williams, the arts editor of Little Village, said the album was the reason he started liking the band.

“They seem to be kind of able to sound current at this point without trying to be trendy,” he said.

Pryor said he believes the songwriting has evolved and improved throughout the years — he first began writing at a mere 16 years old.

“I would hope that the more you do something the better you get at it,” he said.

Much of his inspiration comes from conflict, he said.

“If you’re pissed off about something or you’re upset about it, it just kind of comes out of you,” he said.

As there have been trials and tribulations for the band, Pryor said, he would do things differently if he could start over again. Yet he has no regrets about dedicating his life to music.

“I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing,” he said.

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