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Idol Chatter

One of this summer’s great pleasures has been watching the progress of Underoath, the Christian “screamo” band whose third album, “Define the Great Line,” debuted at #2 on Billboard’s 200 chart. That feat earned them a spot on the main stage of the Van’s Warped tour, the 12-year-old traveling festival dedicated to the rock genre known as emo (think heavy-metal with a suggestion of melody).

Not that it has been all roses for Underoath. “Bands that haven’t met us before are kind of sometimes skeptical,” Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain told a fan magazine recently. “Like, ‘Oh man, these kids are not going to be any fun.’ They judge us for something that Americanized Christianity has turned into which is everything that we kind of stand against.”

Chamberlain would be referring to people like “Fat Mike” Burkett, of tourmates NOFX. “I like to point out to the crowd when we’re on stage that Underoath doesn’t believe that dinosaurs existed,” Burkett related in an interview.

Rank-and-file headbangers, however, show signs of accepting Underoath, dinosaurs or no. During the Warped stop in Los Angels, the L.A. Times’ reviewer, after making pro-forma cracks about Chamberlain’s “Christ-like locks” and Underoath’s “youth-group-revival feel,” praised the group’s “lush keys and daunting complexity,” noting that the group’s performance of their song “‘I’m Drowning in My Sleep’ isn’t exactly ‘Kum Ba Yah’ by the campfire.” High praise indeed.

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