Music » Critics' Picks

The Starting Line

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. Pop's, 1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois.

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The Starting Line recently announced that it's going to take a break to focus on other projects, meaning that there's more of an incentive to see 'em live. After a tumultuous few years of major-label ups and downs, the Philadelphia band released its strongest album (Direction) last year, a release that finally reconciles its pop-punk roots with its penchant for pop hooks. And even though the Starting Line will certainly perform its 2002 mega-smash "Best Of Me" next week, the performance's real highlight will be how it seamlessly integrates mature acoustic songs such as "Something Left To Give" into the set — without making it seem forced or contrived.

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