I’ve never been partial to people trying to force me to have a good time, but the Automatic Music Explosion (A.M.E.) wanted so badly for everyone to enjoy the show at the Key Club that I couldn’t help but put my fist halfway in the air and mouth, “Yeah … Yeah … Yeah.” From the moment they went on stage, it was clear that the A.M.E. was there to really perform.

“We’re the Automatic Music Explosion,” lead singer Matt Starr informed us. “There’s only one way to do this! One person claps, everybody claps. One person sings, everybody sings. Are you ready?”

Whether the crowd was ready or not the A.M.E. launched headfirst into their set. Before I knew it, female vocalist Jodie had whipped out a giant sign with “Yeah!” written on it.

“Do you want it?” Matt asked. The “Yeah!” sign went up. “Do you need it?” The sign went up again.

The band played every song like a well-oiled party machine. Their performance, however, was almost too seamless and theatrical at times to inspire the pure-hearted emotions they were trying to get us so hyped up about.

They looked and felt like a sort of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cover band exploding with tunes and images broad enough to appeal to everyone in the crowd, whether their favorite band might have been the Ramones, AC/DC, No Doubt or the Partridge Family. But despite this and their attempt to buy our love with free flying candy and balloons, I had to admit that even an over-polished gem is still a gem.

And if you’re looking for a good time it’s clear that the A.M.E. will do everything in their power to make it happen. You just have to answer the question, “Do you want it?” —Bourbon With Brendan